May the Force be with you

Jessica Piper
November 22, 2017

When I decided to study abroad in Quito, I planned on a lot of experiences. I planned to go hiking, visit the beach and the rainforest, eat empanadas, and learn how to dance. I wasn’t expecting to find myself surrounded by over 5,000 people all dressed in Star Wars costumes—but that’s exactly what happened last Thursday.

The Universidad San Francisco, where I am study, holds an annual celebration of its founding. Classes are cancelled for the afternoon while professors, students, security guards and others affiliated with the university in one way or another gather and enjoy themselves in a way you wouldn’t typically see on campus. In recent years, I have been told, costumes have become integral to the party. They always revolve around some sort of popular culture theme; past years included Game of Thrones and the Hunger Games.

This year, the university chose the theme of Star Wars and—to make things interesting—decided to aim to break the Guinness World Record for the greatest number of people all dressed like Star Wars characters in the same place at the same time.

I myself didn’t dress up. According to at least one of my Ecuadorian friends, it’s because I’m lame; I’ll say in my defense that I didn’t realize how big a deal the event was and I had to attend a journalism conference the same day and wasn’t enthralled about the possibility of going dressed as a Star Wars character from head-to-toe (the costumes had to be complete to count for the Guinness World Record).

Nonetheless, I was in for a shock when I showed up to the university on Thursday morning to see the security guards, who check our ID cards at each entrance, dressed like Jedi. (I think they were Jedi, I haven’t seen Star Wars). An Ecuadorian friend of mine donned a Han Solo costume and called himself Juan Solo; campus was full of women with their hair in buns like Prince Leia, and I even saw the occasional Chewbacca.

Despite my lack of personal participation, the Universidad San Francisco is now the Guinness World Record holder for the most people dressed as Star Wars characters in the same place at the same time. As far as I know, my college back in the United States doesn’t hold any such records. 

Star Wars isn’t typically associated with Ecuador, but from now on, it always will be for me. Like the Force, I think that’s a good thing.

Jessica Piper

<p>I grew up in Colorado, but moved across the country to attend college in Maine. I'm an economics and Hispanic Studies double major with a minor in math, but writing is my real passion. I work for my college newspaper and have done other work for several blogs, magazine, and websites.</p>

Home University:
Bowdoin College
Louisville, CO
Hispanic Studies
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