• Bears set Guinness World Record while serving homeless veterans

    Volunteers with the Guinness World Record sign on the field at McLane Stadium

    A Baylor group, led by students and a professor in the School of Education’s MSEd Sport Management program, set out to help homeless veterans — and in the process, set a Guinness World Record!

    The group raised enough money to purchase more than 1,200 sleeping bags to be distributed to homeless veterans. To raise attention for the effort, the group laid out the bags end to end at McLane Stadium on July 4 — and in the process, set an official Guinness World Record for the “Longest Line of Sleeping Bags” (1,203). The previous record was 550, but the Baylor group was happy to overachieve for the benefit of veterans!

    The sleeping bags will be distributed through statewide veterans’ groups coordinated by the Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network’s Veteran’s One Stop. Dr. Mar Magnusen, associate professor of sport management in the Department of Educational Leadership, said the group hopes the project, which they dubbed “Operation Warmth for Warriors,” will help aid veterans in the short term, and get off the street in the long term.

    “The distribution process can build a relationship between the organizations and the veterans,” Magnusen says. “Those connections can help veterans transition to a new and bright phase of their service.”

    The idea for the philanthropic project was hatched in Magnusen’s spring course, “Athletic Fundraising and Development,” in which students learn fundraising basics of projects as large as capital campaigns for sports arenas. Students plan and execute their own project, but the time restraints of a semester mean those are limited in scope. Still, over the last few years, students in the class have collected more than 1,000 toys for the Toys for Tots Christmas project and conducted a successful coat drive for children served by Child Protective Services.

    When Magnusen told the class his dream of breaking a Guinness record, it turned out that then-student Sam Esparza (MSED ’23) had similar dreams of breaking a world record with an event at McLane Stadium, where he was a graduate assistant. It didn’t take long for the group to research world records and choose a worthy cause.

    “This was an amazing experience,” Magnusen says. “It took a coalition of devoted people — within Baylor and beyond — to make it possible, which is why I am grateful and give thanks to God for the gift of so many incredible people who worked behind the scenes.”

    Now officially recognized by Guinness World Records, the official record holders are Magnusen, Esparza, Kevin Davis (program manager of Baylor VETS), and Meagan Noranbrock (BA’ 22, of Veteran’s One Stop).

    Sic ’em, Bears!