University of Illinois students will be asked to set two world records in separate events this weekend, and the subjects couldn't be more different — corn-husking and organ donation.
On Friday, thousands of freshmen and new transfer students will attempt to break the world record for the greatest number of people simultaneously husking corn.
The event, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on the west side of Memorial Stadium, will immediately follow the annual New Student Convocation at 11:30 a.m. at the Assembly Hall.
It won't be the UI's first attempt to make the Guinness Book of World Records. Last year, UI Dining Services succeeded in creating the World's Largest Smoothie, at 330 gallons, besting the record set the previous year by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario (264 gallons).
The UI's version was made with 600 pounds of strawberries, 960 pounds of yogurt and 105 gallons of pineapple juice (in case you wanted the recipe). Every student received a free 4-ounce serving.
They enjoyed being part of the attempt, but "this year we're looking to actually involve the students in trying to break the record," said Kirsten Ruby, assistant director of housing.
The goal is to get 7,000 students husking corn — 4.18 tons of it, provided by Borzynski Farms in Easton, south of Pekin. Supersweet corn was invented by UI Professor John Laughnan in the 1960s.
"It's a natural fit," Ruby said. "It's something that draws on our agricultural heritage."
It's also a quick record to attempt, lasting approximately 15 seconds, she said.
If they're successful, UI students will smash the old record of 351 participants, set on July 14, 2011, by Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif.
A representative from Guinness World Records will be on hand to certify the results.
Volunteer stewards and turnstiles will track how many students make the attempt, but no one will be barred from the "Sights and Sounds" event at the stadium if they choose not to, Ruby said.
"We're asking everybody to participate," Ruby said.
The record-breaking corn won't go to waste. After the certification by Guinness, the corn will be washed, cooked and served for dinner in University Housing's dining halls.
The idea came from the director of dining services, Dawn Aubrey, and the Convocation Committee, Ruby said.
On a more serious note, the Gift of Hope & Tissue Donor Network will partner with the UI to register the most organ donors in a single day during the 2012 Quad Day event Sunday. The current record is 765.
Gift of Hope will set up a booth on the Main Quad from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and at "Taste of Nevada" on West Nevada and South Mathews avenues in Urbana. The tally will be announced about 7:15 p.m.
Gift of Hope is the federally designated, not-for-profit organ procurement organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana.
More than 115,000 people — including 5,000 Illinois residents — are waiting for life-saving transplants, and the gap between the need and the number of organs donated in the United States is growing every year, the organization says.
For more information, visit online GiftofHope.org.