Originally, John Lang’s plan was to beat his own Guinness World Record.
Last year over Memorial Day weekend, John, his family and more than 200 volunteers pieced together the world’s largest image made of interlocking plastic bricks: an 1,800-square foot American flag known as The Great American Flag Project.
Now, John, a sophomore business administration major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is hoping for another record-smashing success.
Officials at Guinness suggested Lang could break a second record by using his plastic bricks to construct the world’s largest logo. (Guinness classified the American flag as an image because it’s easily recognizable worldwide.) So, John and his crew set their sights on piecing together a logo all Nebraskans will recognize — a giant Nebraska ‘N.’
Volunteers for the Big Red Husker Flag Project will meet at 9 a.m. Friday, weather permitting, at Meier Commons on UNL’s campus to build a 1,713.89-square-foot logo.
If all goes as planned, John and his team will use 315,392 bricks to break the record by roughly 850 square feet.
In addition, the group has set an ambitious goal of raising $90,000 — $1 for every seat in Memorial Stadium — for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Volunteers, John said, will be collecting cash donations on Friday and Saturday, and donations can be made online at thegreatamericanflagproject.com.
“I felt it would be a good tie-in for everything: do the ‘N’, have a new coach and raise money for charity,” John said.
The Great American Flag Project raised money for veterans and public service workers, John said. But with his new project, he wanted to serve a younger audience.
The university told Lang he had to partner with a student organization if he wanted to use the official ‘N’ logo. So John enlisted the help of his older brother Tony, a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, which partners with St. Jude’s on philanthropy projects.
Tony, a fifth-year premed and biochemistry major, said members of TKE will help unload supplies when they arrive Thursday and participate in the build itself.
“I’m excited to be a part of this because if we reach our goal, and even if we don’t, it’ll feel good to know that my fraternity brothers and I and everyone else involved were able to raise a lot of money for a very good cause,” Tony said.
For John, the timing couldn’t be better. Yes, the flag will be complete in time for Saturday’s football game and Scott Frost’s first game as head coach. But that day, Sept. 1, also kicks off national childhood cancer awareness month.
“I took it as a sign that it’s supposed to happen,” John said.
Most of the volunteers for last year’s flag came from curious passers-by, so John is hoping that this year’s location, in the heart of campus, will attract even more volunteers, allowing the Nebraska flag to be completed in fewer than six hours.“We’d like if people could reserve a spot, but anyone is welcome any time of day,” John said. “We won’t turn anyone away.”
John said he’s tried to get Frost to see the flag in person, but he understands the new coach may not have time.
It’s a big weekend for everyone, after all.