Press Release

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Media Contacts:

Beth Herrell Silverberg

Jean Hayes
University of Washington
206-616-5475 (desk)
206-954-3764 (cell)


University of Washington Sponsors Guinness World Record Attempt on National Have Fun at Work Day

Whole U Event Helps Faculty and Staff to “Shake it Off” in the World’s Largest Umbrella Dance 

January 28, 2015—Seattle, Wash. – As part of the University of Washington’s commitment to its 42,000 faculty and staff, the Whole U employee engagement and wellness program will host the World’s Largest Umbrella Dance. At 12:00 p.m. today, National Have Fun at Work Day, approximately 2,000 UW faculty, staff and student employees will convene inside Husky Stadium in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Umbrella Dance. The choreographed routine will be performed to Taylor Swift’s hit song “Shake it Off.” The goal of this event is to celebrate the UW faculty and staff and kick off a new year of community and wellness.

Event Details

More than 2,000 faculty, staff, and student employees have worked hard to prepare for this event. In order to break the record, the dancers must perform a synchronized routine for five minutes. The Whole U team has held six group rehearsals and dancers have also prepared on their own by watching an instructional video. Additional dancers will take part at campuses in Bothell and Tacoma. The previous record for the world’s largest umbrella dance was set in Japan by 1,688 participants on August 14, 2014.

Photography and video footage of the event will be available for media download at Join the event on Twitter #wholeushake, Facebook and Instagram.

The Whole U

The Whole U is an inclusive employee engagement and wellness program that builds community, encourages healthy lifestyles, and enhances workplace satisfaction by providing opportunities to build connections and pursue wellness goals through benefits and services available to UW faculty and staff.

“The Whole U program was designed to make this large university feel more connected by creating ways for employees to come together based on personal interests, foster work-life balance and provide activities and tools for healthy living,” said Mindy Kornberg, UW vice president, Human Resources. “Rather than a taking a prescriptive approach, we structured the program to be driven by our employees’ interests in community, health and well-being.”

The Whole U program kicked off in January 2014 and during its first year sponsored 82 events and activities including:

  • Exercise and training classes including kettlebells, running, walking and yoga
  • Personal interest events and series including parenting, mindfulness, cooking, photography, singing, swing dance, and volunteerism
  • Campus wide events: Ovations, a faculty and staff talent showcase, a tri-campus scavenger hunt, UW Photo Day

About The University of Washington: The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public research universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world.


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