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Students set record for largest snowball


“I am excited about being in the Guinness Book of World Records,” says Wes Fowlks, current graduate student in the computer science program.

Fowlks and a team of eight other UMass Dartmouth students surpassed the world record for the largest snowball last Tuesday.

The snowball weighs about 6,194.755 pounds, stands at 7’4”, with a width of 6’1”. The total circumference is 23’2”.

“Last year on a snow day, my roommates and I wanted to see how big of a snow man we could build,” explains Fowlks. “However once the base snowball got to about 5 feet tall we decided that there was no way we could lift another snowball on top of the one we had built so that it would be proportional. We decided to just roll the snowball to see how big we could get it.”

Fowlks and his roommates ended up getting the snowball to a height of 6’4” last year.

“Over the summer we looked up the world largest snowball record and saw that we had been really close, and if we tried we could beat it,” adds Fowlks. “So we did.”

The students started rolling on February 1, at 4 p.m. and finished after 6 p.m., when they had it measured. This was Fowlks and his peers second attempt at building the snowball.

“We attempted it the week before during another storm,” says Fowlks. “You can see it in the library field. However because the campus was closed and it was a snow day, people vandalized it. Some peed on it and other took the sides off trying to climb it. It was no longer record size once we were able to get a Professional Engineer to take measurements”

Dr. Nima Rahbar, from the Civil Engineering Department, measured the snowball.

“We worked very hard and it took a lot of effort and dedication to move the mammoth sized snowball,” says Michael Parisi, senior management information systems major. “When Wes approached me with the idea I wanted to help him. Also it is pretty cool to say that I helped break a world record."

Fowlks and the others now will compile all the medial clips and evidence, as well as witness statements to send off to The Guinness Book of World Records in London for verification.

“I used to read the Guinness Book of World Records all the time as a kid, looking at all the obscure records,” adds Fowlks. “But I never thought that I would be in it once.”

Katrin Hess of Germany holds the previous Guinness Book World Record. She rolled a snowball with a circumference of 22 feet, 0.057 inches in Tyrol Austria. Fowlks’ snowball, with a circumference of 23 feet, 2 inches is more than foot larger.

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