The American University of Nigeria is now the official holder of the Guinness World Record for the most people crocheting simultaneously. The GWR Records Management Team announced the feat in a message posted online.
On August 24, 2015, an unprecedented group of 485 people recorded 20 minutes of simultaneous crocheting, a bid to beat a New York City group of 426 who crocheted simultaneously for 15 minutes in 2010.
The group needlework, an effort sponsored by AUN’s Student Government Association, was planned to coincide with Earth Day, to sensitize residents of Yola–the Adamawa State capital and seat of AUN–about the hazards of non-biodegradable litter.
Held inside the University’s Commencement Hall, the largest indoor venue in Nigeria’s northeast, the ecological twist to the event was that the crocheters used “plarn.” Plarn is a yarn that has been developed from used shopping bags which litter the countryside.
Since every nylon bag is reusable and renewable, the event drew attention to how cleaning up the environment can be sustainable and profitable.
Community women members of Yola EcoSentials, a group of social entrepreneurs promoted by AUN, walked the participants through the process before the kickoff of the simultaneous crocheting. The event served to publicize the University’s ‘waste to wealth’ initiative.
“In the light of negative news coming from the northeast, whenever the story of tenacity and togetherness is told, your achievement today will be a reference. This is what your sense of togetherness, teamwork, and can-do-it spirit has made possible,” said the Chief Information Officer, AVP Julius Ayuk Tabe.
As the world comes to recognize the environmental problems everyone is facing, AUN entering the Guinness Book of World Records is an illustration of commitment to environmental sustainability programs and a challenge to the status quo–getting AUN students involved in world events by promoting recycling and sustainability.
In Yola, the lack of a conventional waste collection system and bins/dumpsites is one of the main reasons residents dump their waste (including grocery bags), and then burn it, causing a major health hazard for humans and animals, including respiratory illnesses, gastric problems, and shortened life expectancy. And, of course, it just makes global warming worse.
The University began a program some years ago to address both local unemployment and this environmental hazard. As a result, Yola women, under the auspices of Yola EcoSentials, have made waste plastic (plarn) into colorful, eco-friendly accessories while at the same time adding to their families’ incomes.
“It is our hope,” says Ms. Che, one of the organizers,” that this event will raise awareness on how recycling our products, in this case, plarn, can keep the environment clean and healthy, but as well provide an income for the needy in the community.”
University President, Margee Ensign, said “Congratulations to everyone involved in this splendid world record!”