Polar Plunge is success despite last minute venue change


by Keegan Kearney

The annual Polar Plunge was moved inside this year but still raised well over $250,000 for the Special Olympics of Iowa. 

Keegan Kearney

Members of the sorority and fraternity community came together Friday to participate in the Polar Plunge, a fundraising event in support of the Special Olympics.

Students formed teams with their fellow chapters and took a dip in the State Gym pool, which was chosen as an alternative venue to the original location due to the day’s weather, which they deemed too cold, even for the immersion, at roughly 20 degrees.

Due to the change of venue, the pool used for the plunge was not as cold as most years, as the event usually takes place in an ice filled lake or pool. However, the participants still got a stark chill as they took a dip for the cause.

“I’ve been doing it since high school,” Will Stouffu, a participant, said as he warmed up on the side of the pool after his plunge. “Jumping in the pool’s a little bit different than when they tip the ice out on the lake for it, but it’s still a lot of fun for a good cause.”

Participants were required to raise at least $75 to be able to participate in the event with their teams, and their efforts brought in well over $250,000 from both individuals and businesses around the state.

The event raises both money and awareness for Special Olympics Iowa, and all proceeds go toward the various expenses that the organization incurs at its annual competitions.

Josh Schmitz, who took the plunge with Stouffu and their team, said he’s seen firsthand how the funds raised at these events benefit the athletes of the Special Olympics.

“I participate because in high school I was actually a Special Olympics track and field coach, so I got to see just where the funds and all the money that we raise goes towards, so it’s awesome to be able to be at the front end of it to raise money for all these awesome athletes,” he said.

The students who participated noted that although the important part of the event is the service they have done for the Special Olympics athletes, it also serves as a fun bonding experience between the team members.

“It was a great time,” participant Christian Luecke said as he dried off in the locker room, “This whole Greek Week is about the Special Olympics of Iowa and I think everyone’s come together and done a great job with it, and then they reward us with the Polar Plunge to have fun with your fraternity or sorority. It really is amazing to see everyone come together, no matter what fraternity or sorority you’re from.”