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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Special Olympics to bring Polar Plunge to NIU

A participant in a Polar Plunge stands soaked in water. At 10 a.m. on Feb 17 at Huskie Stadium, the Special Olympics are hosting a Polar Plunge event where people will dive into a pool of water. (Courtesy of Special Olympics)

DeKALB – Jumping into a cold tub of water in the middle of February sounds like a dare, but the Special Olympics challenges NIU students to participate in a Polar Plunge.

At 10 a.m Saturday, Feb. 17 in the Huskie Stadium, the Special Olympics will host a Polar Plunge event.

During the Polar Plunge event, volunteers will plunge into a tub of cold water either with a team or solo. 

Katie Risley, director of development for Region A of Special Olympics, said the DeKalb Fire Department will provide a 10 by 10 water tank which looks like a pool.

“A lot chose to plunge in teams. They have a team captain and other people join their team so they like to go in together,” Risley said.

In order to partake in the Polar Plunge event, plungers have to raise a minimum of $100 in donations.

Risley said people plunging will have hot chocolate and breakfast pastries available to them before they jump, along with getting an official Polar Plunge hoodie. 

Brynn Pazanin, a junior physics major and Delta Zeta president, said the Delta Zeta girls participating are very excited to plunge. 

“We are very excited to both participate in the Polar Plunge and donate to the Special Olympics,” Pazanin said. 

The money raised at the Polar Plunge goes toward the Special Olympic events in Region A, which includes DeKalb. 

“We have about 1,700 individuals with disabilities who compete in Special Olympics in this region year round,” Risley said. “The money raised at the Huskie Stadium Polar Plunge helps us to do those events and competitions.” 

Risley said the Special Olympics puts a lot into planning their events for their athletes. 

“It helps us with facility fees, lunch, equipment, anything that is necessary that goes into putting on an event, travel expenses at times for the athletes to get there. Our athletes and families don’t pay any money to do Special Olympics,” Risley said.

Risley said the Polar Plunge is something fun that has been going for over 20 years all over Illinois.

“People get really creative with the Polar Plunge, like they dress up in costumes and teams will come out in a group outfit like superheroes,” Risley said.

Melanie Lytell, a first-year double majoring in financial economics and statistics, said she thinks NIU should have more events like this.

“It is great that NIU is having this event. The money that is raised from this event is going to a great cause,” Lytell said. 

The Polar Plunge registration is available on Illinois’ Polar Plunge website. Registration is open to everyone until the day of the event, Feb 17. 

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