Shot at Sit-Up World Record Brings Together Andrews University

There really is a world record for everything.

Largest biceps? Yep. Some guy from Egypt has 25-inch muscles.

The tallest dog? Everyone knows that’s Zeus, a Great Dane from Otsego, Michigan.

The most people doing sit-ups continuously? Alas, it’s still Hathershaw College in Manchester, England, despite last month’s valiant effort by Andrews University in Michigan.

On a cold January day, 520 hearty souls gathered in the university’s Johnson Gymnasium for their shot at immortality. They needed 504 to correctly do a sit up over the same minute.

That would put them one more than the Brits and enshrine them in the “Guinness Book of World Records.”

The police chief and undersheriff were there to make sure everything was on the up and up. Sanctioned as official witnesses for the famed Irish catalogue of superlatives, they counted heads and made sure everyone had their feet on floor, knees bent, torso and head flat and arms behind their heads or crossed over their chests.

There are protocols, after all. This is serious business.

The first attempt eliminated more than a dozen for bad form. Only 489 lasted 1 minute, 15 seconds.

They tried again. Seven more maintained the pace. That brought them to 496.

It wasn’t enough. They called it a day.

“Everyone tried,” University Health & Wellness Director Dominique Wakefield told the Herald Palladium newspaper.

“The point was to get people out and thinking about fitness.”

It fits right in line with Andrews University’s mission to Live Wholly – a foundational commitment to wellness that nurtures the Body, Mind & Spirit. Simply put, it reflects an understanding that education best succeeds if there is an equal emphasis placed on physical, mental and spiritual development.

Like Kanye West and Kelly Clarkston sang, though, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. So Andrews will try again this spring — when the weather is warmer and the fire still burns.

“I hope people walked away feeling good about taking part in a community event,” Wakefield said.

Is it a little silly? Of course. But it was also great fun, raised awareness of fitness — and helped foster a spirit of cohesion and togetherness on a cold winter day.

That spirit of community is vital to Andrews University and Michigan’s top private colleges and universities.

Intentionally different than big state schools, the colleges take pride in the fact that students forge tight bonds with each other and faculty members.

At huge public schools, it’s easy to be just another face in the crowd. At Andrews and the independents, students are part of something bigger, a unique community that shares traditions and special events they’ll remember for a lifetime.

Professors pride themselves on working closely with students to help them forge their own path, buck conventional wisdom and find a new way.

It’s an experience that simply isn’t available at traditional universities. And despite what you may have heard, independents are often less expensive and boast higher four-year graduation rates than four-year institutions.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.