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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 — Houston, TX

Oh nori they didn’t: Lovetteers try for sushi world record

Ndidi Nwosu / Thresher

By Zoe Katz     1/17/23 11:54pm

It’s a frequent joke that Rice students never travel beyond the hedges of campus. But a group of students at Lovett College are trying to change this stereotype with a single sushi roll.

Lovett’s sushi committee, founded by Resident Associate Naoko Ozaki during the 2021-2022 academic year, has two objectives: break a world record for the longest sushi roll and use the event as a catalyst for local outreach. 

“When I was being interviewed [for the RA position], it was during the major part of the pandemic, and I felt that the students were kinda disconnected from each other,” Ozaki said. “[I wanted] something that we could do as a group.”

In her previous time as an associate for Lovett, Ozaki said she taught classes on sushi-making and wanted to continue that tradition during her time as a RA.

Haydn Howe and Brian Bishara are the unofficial student leaders of the sushi committee. According to Bishara, a Lovett sophomore, the committee has been working on the sushi roll project since it began. 

“From its outset, the goal of the sushi committee has been to unite the Houston community towards bringing awareness to various causes here such as mental health and kidney donation,” said Howe.

The sushi committee plans to roll three miles of rice, nori, cucumber and carrots into one record-breaking roll, Howe said. 

“We have around four students involved in the everyday operations of the sushi committee,” Howe said. “We are hoping to find [an additional] 400 students at Rice who would like to achieve this world record title with us.”

The sushi committee would like to extend the event beyond Lovett, as well as beyond Rice’s campus, said Ozaki. The committee is working with partners in Rice Village, as well as other local businesses, to fund the event. 

“Outreach is a big focus for us at the moment,” Bishara said. “We are planning to publicize the event by word of mouth, on social media platforms and through college secretaries and announcements. We are also looking to have sushi rolling training sessions for all people who want to be a part of the record.”

Finding a place to put multiple miles of sushi is no easy feat, either. According to Ozaki, the committee plans to rent out a large event room for the rolling to take place, with sushi rolled along tables in a circular formation.

“To achieve the three miles, we have decided to roll the sushi in a circle and stack the sushi rolls into a triangle, with four or five rounds of the sushi roll comprising the base and then stacking them up until one round of the sushi roll lays at the top,” Howe said.

Originally planned to be on Jan. 14, the sushi rolling has now been postponed to work through some logistics, according to Howe.

“With an ever-evolving timeline, our plan becomes more unique and fun, but also more difficult to put a deadline on,” Howe said.

Ozaki said she wanted to use the event to show Rice students the importance of giving back to their community. According to her, the committee plans to donate any money they make to four charities: Mental Health America, Ronald McDonald House, National Kidney Foundation of South Texas and cancer research.

“I don’t want it to be a selfish event, where we get the benefit, and I don’t want it to be a selfless event, because it sounds like we are sacrificing ourselves,” Ozaki said. “I want it to be ‘self-ful,’ from everybody, not just us, so people who realize that we care [about our community].”

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