Polar Bear Plunge raises more than $370,000


Ryan Bretoi/Iowa State Daily

Two fraternity brothers jump into the freezing cold water during the Polar Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics outside of the Memorial Union on April 1. The Greek community together raised nearly $356,000 by the time the plunge started. 

Emily Hammer

What sound does a college student make as they jump into a pool full of frigid, ice-filled water?

Mostly screams, which can barely be heard over the sound of onlookers cheering them on.

Members of the greek community spent their Saturday afternoon outside the Memorial Union plunging into cold water and supporting their brothers and sisters to raise money for Special Olympics.

Duc To, freshman in Kappa Sigma, raised $255 partly because his fraternity’s pairing, Delta Zeta, is very involved and he bounced off its motivation.

Another part of his motivation came from his autistic cousin. Because he knows somebody with autism, he feels he can relate to the cause.

“Special needs people coming in and talking to us and hanging out with them really motivated me to help as much as I can,” To said.

Participants continue to raise the bar high, having raised nearly $356,000 by the time Polar Bear Plunge began at 4 p.m. That is nearly two times what the community raised in 2015: $188,000.

But the donation portal didn’t close at 4 p.m.; the greeks still had until midnight to raise money for Special Olympics.

Brenna Peterson, sophomore in Kappa Alpha Theta, said that this was her first year doing it and she just watched last year.

“I got to see some of the girls who did it last year and I thought that was fun,” Peterson said. “I thought it’d be a good thing to be involved with. It’s a great cause.”

Not only does the money go toward a cause, but points for Greek Week are on the line. 

Each participant had to raise $75 in order to compete. Additionally, at least 35 percent of each team had to plunge in order to earn points.