Special Olympics fundraiser encourages students to jump into freezing water

Find out more about the Polar Bear Plunge.

Ever needed a reason to jump into a lake during winter? On Feb. 3 the Special Olympics of Wisconsin will provide that opportunity at its third annual Polar Bear Plunge.

The event, which will take place at Half Moon Beach in Carson Park, is designed to raise money and to have a good time.

As the director of development and volunteers, Andrea Sullivan is in charge of the event and said that it is the most fun thing she does to raise money.

Sullivan, an experienced plunger, said that each person has their own methods to stay warm but she wears everything she can.

There will be paramedics on the scene should a problem arise, but Sullivan said there have not been any problems in the past.

The first second in the water, Sullivan said you lose your breath but then everything starts up again.

“You’ll know what an olive feels like when it gets put into an old fashioned,” she said.

There will be heated tents and hot tubs available to participants after they take the plunge.

To add to the fun, plungers are encouraged to dress up in costumes and prizes will be awarded for the best. Groups are also encouraged to dress in a theme. Area celebrities will be the judges.

There will also be incentive gifts given to participants that raise more than $60 in donations and pledges. Some of the prizes and gifts include sweatshirts, beach towels, a blanket and several more.

Students, university organizations, community members and businesses are all invited to participate Also, everyone is encouraged to come and watch.

Sullivan said a lot of people from the community come just to watch and this year there will be T-shirts available to them. The shirts will contain the saying, “To Chicken to Plunge.”

Information will be available in Davies Center this week at a booth sponsored by the American Marketing Association.

The director of community service for AMA, senior Abbey Becker, said that the booth is just to help promote the plunge on campus. She said there will be information available on registering and donations.

The actual registration will not begin until Feb. 2 at area Hardee’s. Registration can also be done online, or at Carson Park the day of the plunge.

The money raised at the Polar Bear Plunge will help with training costs, travel expenses and other costs to support the athletes in the Special Olympics.

Other plunges will take place in seven other cities around the state throughout February and one in March.