Freezing water didn’t stop the Macomb community from taking a dip on Saturday.
The 5th annual Polar Plunge took place outside of Western Hall this weekend where 58 people took the plunge into a pool outside the building. This was only the second year that the Polar Plunge has been held on campus and it was moved in order to get more participating from the Western Illinois community.
In order to participate in the event, each organization had to raise at least $100. In total, over $10,500 was raised for the local branch of the Special Olympics and even though their goal was not reached, Assistant Director for Region F of the Special Olympics, Jennifer Davis, said that every penny counts.
One student organization that Davis wanted to recognize was the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority who are nationally aligned with the Special Olympics.
“They do a phenomenal job year-in and year-out,” Davis said. “We’re extremely thankful for their support and their fundraising and volunteering.”
Zoey Gray, a member of the sorority took part in her fourth Polar Plunge and spoke about why she chooses to participate.
“I do the Polar Plunge because I love to make people happy and seeing people’s excitement about the Polar Plunge and the athletes, how happy they are,” Gray said.
Gray said that this was the warmest it’s been since she’s participated and looked back to last year’s event when it actually snowed.
Aside from the plunge into frigid waters, a costume contest was also held. The costumes ranged from Stormtroopers from the Star Wars franchise, Penguins and the iconic Pink Bunny from the holiday classic, “A Christmas Story.”
After taking a dip, individuals and organizations were awarded trophies in the form of plungers for various things like Most Money Raised by a team, Most Money Raised by an individual, Best Costume, the Donut Award and the Bravery Award. The Macomb Police Department won the Most Money Raised plunger as they brought in $1,580, Annie Sholl won the individual Most Money Raised plunger as she brought in $530, the Pink Bunny won the Best Costume plunger, the Macomb Police Department won the Donut Award and Kaylee McLaughlin won the Bravery Award, which was awarded to the top Special Olympics athlete.
The Special Olympics will be holding another fundraiser in April where they hope to reach their fundraising goal of $22,000.