UNL fraternity breaks record for St. Jude’s

Tau Kappa Epsilon builds giant Nebraska 'N' from legos to claim world record and donations.

Chrystal Sauls and Elizabeth Draper work among other volunteers to help create the world’s largest logo composed of lego bricks. Draper was leaving her shift in the Selleck Dining Center when she saw the effort, and Sauls is connected to the TKE fraternity.

The rain cancelled the first Husker football game, but it didn’t cancel a world record.

On Aug. 31, the day before Scott Frost’s since-cancelled season opener and the beginning of national childhood cancer awareness month, Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity brothers and other members of the Lincoln community laid lego after lego to break the record for world’s largest logo—a Nebraska “N.”

Tanner Vaneck, a TKE member, said the team hoped their project would raise $100,000—approximately $1 for every seat in Memorial Stadium—for St. Jude’s Children Hospital. TKE always partners to raise money for St. Jude’s as a part of their philanthropy component, which he said is an important part of Greek culture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Summer Clausen and Hunter Downey, respectively studying biology and motion design at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, work on their portion of the giant Nebraska “N.” Clausen was recruited by her friends in TKE to volunteer, and Downey was attracted to help by the concept of the unusual fundraiser.

St. Jude’s is special to TKE because of their devotion to children, Vaneck said.

“I think it’s just how they don’t charge the patients a dime and just give treatment,” he said. “Those kids and their families didn’t do anything to be in that situation and if we can help them, that means a lot to us.”

The fraternity will usually do typical fundraisers—its members will sell tickets for all-you-can-eat tacos or to have the chance to throw a pie in a member’s  face. This fundraising idea came from John Lang, who wanted to break his second Guiness World Record in two years.

Last year, Lang and his family and a team of more than 200 volunteers built the world’s largest image of interlocking plastic bricks when they built an 1,800-square-foot American flag over Memorial Day weekend.

Storm clouds loom over workers outside the Nebraska Union in Lincoln, Neb. on Aug. 31, 2018. In spite of rain and wind, they attach more than 200,000 lego bricks to 30 wooden palettes to form a Nebraska “N” and break the world record.

When Lang wanted to go for the world’s largest logo, Bobbi Lang—his mother—sighed. But, with her other son in TKE and the fraternity’s dedication to St. Jude’s, she knew the project was a perfect opportunity.

So Lang approached his brother’s fraternity and set the plan. The Lang family dragged the legos left over from the American flag out of storage, and salvaged the red and white bricks. They drew the “N” on more than 30 wooden palettes, and volunteers got to work laying nearly 200,000 legos.

The team broke the record by 100,000 bricks and Vaneck said he hoped people would donate toward the effort, either with their money or time. After all, he said, you’re not just donating to a good cause, you’d be breaking a world record.

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