RIVERSIDE (CBS) — UC Riverside’s mascot, “Scotty Highlander,” will have his arms outstretched next week, soliciting a squeeze from anybody who wants one in an attempt to break the world’s record for the most number of hugs in an hour.

“We will need help from students, staff and faculty, and we will make a special invitation to our athletes and to community leaders,” said Tonantzin Oseguera, assistant dean for UCR Student Life.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the current record for the highest number of hugs in an hour is held by Ohio resident Jeffrey Ondash. He set the record on May 16, 2008, when he embraced 1,201 people. Ondash also holds the world’s record for giving the most number of hugs in a 24-hour period — 7,777 — which was set last Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day.

Next Wednesday, UCR’s mascot — an unidentified student — will stand outside the campus Bell Tower from noon to 1 p.m. to give out hugs, according to Kris Lovekin, UCR’s media coordinator.

She said the Guinness guidelines call for the record-seeker to stand in one place the entire time and for the event to be witnessed by two independent observers, as well as videotaped.

Oseguera said she was “confident” the university could muster the bodies necessary to break the record.

Each “hugee” will receive an “I Hugged Scotty!” sticker and will be eligible for prizes.

According to Lovekin, the mascot has been conditioning for the hour-long exercise.

“He’s a tough guy, our Scotty Highlander,” she said.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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