On Sunday morning, May 3, freshmen John-Clark Levin and George Posner will press the fleshfor 10 hoursin an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest handshake.
Beginning at 10 a.m., Levin and Posner will "put er there" and shake hands with one another continuously for the next 10 hours on stage at McKenna Auditorium. The record attempt seeks to raise both awareness and money for New York's Cancer Research Institute (CRI), an innovative foundation developing new methods for fighting cancers.
"Handshaking was a record that was practical to break, safe to attempt, and above all could be broken on campus where it could raise as much awareness as possible for the fight against cancer," says Levin.
"We have been practicing extensively," Levin says. "Practice involves shaking hands for longer and longer periods to build our endurance, and rehearsing special techniques we've devised for preventing an accidental stoppage of the handshake. We'll also have special swabs for drying our hands during the handshakeakin to servicing an automobile engine while barreling down the freewayand hand sanitizer, before and after the attempt, as a flu precaution."
But don't think that shattering a World Record will be a walk in the park or easy on the five digits for either competitor. A Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On
Ten hours of continuous hand-clasping must be daunting, even to a couple of CMCers who specifically chose that category. And that's not even taking into consideration food or bathroom breaks.
"We're allowed to snack, as long as we keep the handshake going," Levin explains. "Water and food will be provided to us in McKenna Auditorium. Last week we practiced eating while shaking hands. We started shaking hands in CMC's South Quad and walked down for a Greek dinner in the Claremont Village, shook hands all through dinner, and didn't stop until we were back in Stark Hall. We sure got our share of strange looks from passers-by! As far as bathroom breaks, we simply won't take any."
Levin encourages people (and students from all five Claremont Colleges) to drop in throughout the day to make pledges and watch videos inside McKenna about the Cancer Research Institute and its immunological research. Also, "to set the mood," says Levin, "we have a 10-hour play list of epic and inspiring music."
At 7 p.m., the pair is expected to advance into the final hour of the handshake, during which they would first break the world record (set last year in San Francisco by Kevin Whittaker and Cory Jens), plus hit the 10-hour mark. Levin hopes for "maximum attendance" by students and supporters at that time. "Our sore arms will need as much cheering on from the community as possible in order to achieve this World Record."
According to Levin, CRI was chosen because it is one of the most efficient and respected cancer charities in the world, with 86 percent of funding going directly to innovative cancer research.
"The Cancer Research Institute focuses on immunological approaches to beating this diseasestrengthening a person's immune system to overcome once-fatal cancers," he says.
The actual fundraising will occur via several channels. Upon arriving at McKenna Auditorium, attendees can pledge a fixed dollar amount or a certain number of dollars per hour of handshaking. Additionally, information will be provided for those who wish to make direct donations to CRI.