Morgan Starbuck Helps Make UCM History

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Photo by Emma Fischer

Morgan Starbuck helps organize files for participants checking in for the world record attempt. “I mean, a world record… it’s pretty stinking cool,” Starbuck said.

Written by Emma Fischer, News Editor

  While the University Farm and Alumni Association put in a lot of work to set the Guinness World Record for the largest number of ridden mules in a parade, much of the behind-the-scenes work was done by students. 

  One student, Morgan Starbuck, was newly employed in the alumni office, and had hardly any experience in the event-planning field when she began organizing mules and their owners to ride in the record-setting parade.

  Having come to UCM to study in the pre-medical track, Starbuck realized the program wasn’t for her. She switched to become a double major in event planning and marketing, and began taking classes for those majors in August 2021, less than a month before she started to help  organize the world record attempt.

  When Starbuck interviewed for the student position at the alumni office, she said she didn’t think she’d get it because she thought other applicants would be more qualified.

  “They’ve probably actually taken some of the classes for event planning  because at the time, I’d taken animal biology, plant biology and chem one … nothing that was towards event planning,” Starbuck said.

  However, Tiffany Cochran, senior director of events and alumni engagement and Starbuck’s interviewer, said she thought that Starbuck was right for the position. 

  “Morgan was the best fit and she did a fantastic job of keeping us organized,” Cochran said. 

 “Sometimes it’s not about what experience you have, but how a student can present themselves. I feel like Morgan has that potential, like she executed exactly the task and then, here we are, continuing on.”

  Starbuck still works as the alumni and event student worker. Her duties during the world record attempt included calling as many mule riders in the midwest as she could. She would make phone calls then talk potential participants through the registration process, and explain when and where the event would take place and about the documentation that they would need in order to participate. 

  When event day came, Starbuck and her coworkers were set up at six in the morning in the old fraternity complex parking lot, with documentation of everything the mule riders would need to participate in the world record attempt — their registration forms, copies of their mules’ Coggins reports, which certify that the animal they were riding was indeed a mule, and consent forms that allowed for participants to have their photos taken. Starbuck was the first person the mule riders spoke to, and she did everything from answering questions about coffee and doughnuts to scanning and uploading digital copies of official documents.

  “I don’t want to have that opportunity for something to go wrong,” Starbuck said. “My goal was to make sure that if something were to go wrong that morning, they’d have no idea … a big part of it is just making sure that everything for the people who are involved go seamlessly and they don’t have to worry about it.”

  Jackie Jackson, associate vice president of university advancement, worked closely with Starbuck on the world record attempt.

  ”There’s no way we could have accomplished this without having a dedicated person on the project,” Jackson said. “Morgan came in as a student worker, and really led the charge to keep us in line with everything Guinness was wanting.”