It’s official — A Baylor group, led by students and a professor in the MSEd Sport Management program, has set an official Guinness World Record. Guinness officially recognized the Baylor group for holding the World Record for the “Longest Line of Sleeping Bags” (1,203) set in Waco, Texas, at Baylor University’s McLane Stadium on July 4. In addition to setting a record, the project was designed to help homeless veterans in Texas.
Official record holders are:
- Dr. Mar Magnusen, associate professor of sport management in the Department of Educational Leadership in the Baylor School of Education
- Sam Esparza, 2023 graduate of the SOE’s MSEd in Sport Management
- Kevin Davis, program manager of Baylor VETS
- Meagan Noranbrock, Veterans One Stop of Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network, 2022 Baylor graduate
The project was dubbed “Operation Warmth for Warriors,” and distribution of the bags will take place this fall through statewide veterans’ groups coordinated by Waco’s One Stop.
“We really want to help veterans get off the streets, especially in winter, and the distribution process can build a relationship between the organizations and the veterans,” Magnusen said. “The connections can help veterans transition to a new and bright phase of their service.”
The idea for setting a world record through a significant philanthropic project was hatched in Dr. Magnusen’s spring course, Athletic Fundraising and Development. Students in the course learn fundraising basics including data collection and management, identifying and asking donors, building coalitions and partnerships, and other aspects 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 recently conducted a successful coat drive for children served by Child Protective Services.
“The veterans project idea grew out of conversations in class,” Magnusen said. When he shared his dream of breaking a Guinness record, it turned out that then-student Esparza 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 they considered attainable and find a worthy cause.
“Sam was willing to step up and get others involved,” Magnusen said. “With a longer time frame, you can build a coalition of interested stakeholders, and something great can happen from that coalition. That is something that’s taught in the course.”
To accomplish the goal, the group needed to raise significant funds, which they did through the Baylor University “Torch” platform, raising a total of $13,796. With those funds, they purchased 1,203 high-quality sleeping bags, which was more than twice the previous Guinness World Record.
The project required volunteer efforts from many at Baylor University, the School of Education, the Department of Educational Leadership, and local groups.
“This was an amazing experience,” Magnusen said. “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.”
For more than 100 years, the School of Education has advanced Baylor’s mission across the globe while preparing students for a range of careers focused on education, leadership, and human development. With more than 60 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation. Likewise, the School of Education’s graduate programs have attained national recognition for their exemplary preparation of research scholars, educational leaders, innovators, and clinicians. Visit www.baylor.edu/SOE to learn more.
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.