Polar Plunge raises more than $250,000 for Special Olympics


Robert Dillon

Hayden Moore, a freshman in finance, and Luke Post, a junior in electrical engineering, belly flopping into the frigid water.

A student eagerly awaits to dive into a small pool of ice-cold water as the warmth of the sun shines down on them.

When it is finally their turn, they hold their breath and jump off what feels like an endless cliff before finally getting the most euphoric shock of their lives. They are submerged for only a few seconds before they finally return to land and dry off.

Iowa State’s greek community participated in their annual Polar Bear Plunge, a fundraiser that raises money to support Special Olympics Iowa by jumping into frigid water. This year’s Polar Plunge took place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday in the Scheman courtyard.

The goal of the Polar Plunge is to raise funding for Special Olympics Iowa to help athletes participate in regional, national and international sporting events. Money raised at the event will directly help impact over 14,800 athletes.

“The polar plunge is one of our signature events,” said Maddie Cory, a coordinator for Special Olympics Iowa who was in charge of the event. “We’ve done this partnership with Iowa State for 15 years for greek Week.”

To participate in the plunge, students needed to raise a minimum of $75 individually. Some ways students were able to gather money included posting on social media that they would post an embarrassing video of themselves or share a personal fun fact in return for a donation.

“Our goal is to raise $250,000 to help other competitions like the winter games,” Cory said. “We do Special Olympics sporting events all year round, and ultimately, all the funding helps to get new uniforms, travel and other necessities for Special Olympics.”

Events such as the Polar Plunge also help create social environments for Iowa State’s greek community and the Special Olympics partners.

“We want to help people make new friends and play a social role in their community,” Cory said. “I think the polar plunge does that great because everyone comes together to support others and talk about how fun it was to take a dive.”

One student who joined the plunge, Max Marshall, a senior studying financial counseling and planning, arrived at the event with two of his friends. They have each attended the plunge in the past and returned for their fourth time before graduation in May.

“I think the best thing about coming here is just getting involved and pledging for the Special Olympics,” Marshall said. “It brings a great community together for the same cause.”

His friends, Lucas Blaha, a senior in undeclared business, and Jack Kruse, a senior in supply chain management, have been looking forward to the polar plunge.

“Having the greek community together is a nice touch to wrapping up the spring semester,” Kruse said. “Everyone is pretty excited to jump in the water and raise awareness.”

The three boys hoped to enjoy the plunge as much as possible and prepared themselves with towels and their best attitudes to brave the cold water.

“Honestly, if we could do it a thousand times, I definitely would,” Blaha said. “Just being outside and getting to know the people who want to help out is a really great time to enjoy the semester.”

The Polar Plunge, while having a few encounters with the sudden storm on Friday and subsequent cold afterwards, were able to reach their fundraising goal of $250,000 dollars.

“I think we owe the students of greek Week an enormous thank you for helping raise the money,” Cory said. “It’s great to see people doing something for the good of others.”

To learn more about the Polar Plunge, visit the Sorority and Fraternity engagement website.