Senior Cheyenne Heath dones a cape promoting the Acorns’ Polar Plunge event to be hosted at MU this year. 
Photo Provided by Manchester University

MU Students Prepare to Take the Plunge for Indiana Special Olympics 

Ryan Daine

The Indiana Special Olympics team is hosting their long-running “Freezin’ for a Reason” Polar Plunge fundraiser on Manchester University’s campus. The organization is hoping to raise $17,000 with the help of residents residing in Wabash and Kosciusko Counties, as well as students on campus who are pledging to take the freezing plunge. Students can expect to find a large pool, filled to the brim with icy-cold water located outside of the PERC, where the event will be occurring on Feb. 22 beginning at 10 a.m. sharp, followed by the plunge itself at 12:30, and lasting until 1:30. A warm (and dry!) celebratory lunch will be held for participants afterwards.

The fundraiser hopes to raise a considerable sum of money to be used for the betterment of Indiana’s Special Olympics Team. The 21-year-old tradition continues to attract more and more participants, with people eager to shake off the boring hum of winter blues and jump into breathtakingly cold water for the benefit of a worthwhile cause. The Indiana Special Olympics organization prides itself on retaining all of the funds it raises, distributing it to help provide funding for their year-round events, training, camps, and other programs for local athletes within the community and across the state.

The 2019 fundraising year was capped off with the setting of an unprecedented record, as the organization was able to raise over $900,000 from more than 3,000 pledges all across Indiana. The organization wishes to repeat last year’s success, but also take it a step further by smashing the money-winning record once more, a goal that the organization seems to be closing in upon.

Though Manchester University participated in the event for the first time during last year’s record-setting tenure, the university will once again be able to establish a first, as the campus will become an official host site for this year’s fundraising festivities, pitting Manchester against six other in-state institutions who will also be hosting the event, albeit on different dates. Other competitors include several Division I institutions such as Ball State University, Indiana University and Purdue University. To add some friendly competition to the mix, the Special Olympics Organization doles out the Travelling Campus Challenge Trophy to the highest earning school; Purdue has yet to be unseated for eight straight years, but perhaps that could all change with the newest addition of Manchester University to the ranks.

A total of 50 individual student plungers, more than 40 other plungers from Wabash and Kosciusko Counties and 13 collective teams have all raised at least $75 each, having committed to taking the icy dip on Saturday. A further pool of over 200 individuals have also contributed to the event in the form of online donations. The total force of this group has raised over $12,000 in a very short amount of time, meaning that the intended goal of raising $17,000 is likely to be surpassed easily.

“This is a great way for individuals and their teams to support our area while having a blast,” said Ali Goetcheus, the director of civic engagement within the Office of Volunteer Services at Manchester University. All who can find some time during the day are encouraged to come out and support the fundraiser and witness the plunging spectacle.

A reminder that it is not too late to donate to the cause, as resources will be open until the closing of the event on Feb. 22. Any individual interested in donating to the fundraiser can do so by registering with the Indiana Special Olympics Organization at firstgiving.com. From there, individuals can become a “virtual plunger,” and choose an amount to donate to the fund.