Dia goal: Biggest Zumba class ever

Business students raise money for Uganda trip

By Molly Packer

On Diadeloso, Baylor students will have the chance to make history by participating in a Zumba class that organizers hope will be the world’s largest. While the event is an attempt at an appearance in the Guinness World Records, it is also a fundraiser for the accounting students’ mission trip to Uganda this summer.

Zumba is a popular Latin-inspired dance-fitness program. The class, which hopes to break the previous record of 1,135 people, will officially start at 9 a.m., but event coordinators ask that participants check in at 8:30 a.m. in order to align with the Guinness World Records’ requirements.

Dr. Kathy Hurtt, an accounting and business law professor, said the idea to break the Zumba world record as a fundraiser was a spontaneous one.

“One of the faculty and his wife were driving down the road trying to come up with a way to raise money for the mission trip,” Hurrt said. “I don’t know if they saw a sign for Zumba, but they said, ‘Let’s see if we can break a record’ and when they got back, they sent students to investigate to see if it was even a category.”

“World’s Largest Zumba Class” is in fact a Guinness World Records category — the record was last broken by participants at the University of South Carolina. According to Palmetto Health Hospital, which partnered with the university to break the record, 1,135 people participated to break the record on Feb. 19 in celebration of the American Heart Association’s Heart Month.

“We’re hoping for 3,000 people, but we need at least 1,136,” Hurtt said. “We think it’ll be a lot of fun and give Baylor a lot of good publicity nationally and internationally.”

Everyone is invited and encouraged to participate even if they have never heard of Zumba.

“We figure we’ll put all the good people on the edge where all the press and cameras will be and all the rest of us can be in the middle,” Hurtt joked.

The main purpose of the world record attempt is not fame but raising money for the accounting mission trip.

“We are trying to raise money to do a variety of different things on our trip,” Dr. Bill Thomas, an accounting and business law professor, said. “We have to really remember that this is a mission trip we’re going on and the primary focus is to glorify God and do his work.”

Accounting students will help students at the Uganda Christian University develop the business skills and job skills they need to succeed in an economically-depressed country. Thomas said unemployment in Uganda is around 70 percent.

“We need to teach students how to interview and even start up their own businesses. You name it, they need it,” Thomas said.

In addition to participating in the Zumba class, students can also donate neckties for Ugandan students who lack the proper attire for job interviews. Students can drop off neckties in a box in the student center of the Hankamer School of Business. The accounting team is also accepting cash or check donations. All checks are to be addressed to Baylor University and given to Hurtt in room 140 of the accounting suite in the Hankamer School of Business.

Students on the mission trip will be conducting an entrepreneurship conference on small business and offering funds to help students with good ideas get their businesses started.

While Uganda Christian University is closed on the weekends, Baylor students will travel to local orphanages and put on carnivals for the kids.

“We’re collecting nail polish, face paint, stickers, sports equipment ­— things you would give out at a kids carnival,” Hurtt said.

The accounting mission team will also be hosting sports camps for the kids on the weekends.

Hurtt and Thomas urge Baylor students to participate in the potentially record-breaking Zumba class.

“My request to all Baylor students is to come and shake what your mama gave you,” Thomas joked. “We need people to come.”