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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

NIU huskies make a splash for charity

A red tub of water sits with water splashing out as students plunge into the tub. On Saturday, NIU and the Special Olympics Illinois put on the first huskie Polar Plunge. (Courtesy of Special Olympics Illinois)

DeKALB – The Polar Plunge, a fundraising tradition over 20-years-old, started not too far away in the Chicago suburbs where individuals or teams jump into cold water to raise money for the Special Olympics. 

This year’s huskie Polar Plunge saw a turnout of 85 registered plungers. Of the 85 there were seven teams and the rest were individual plungers. 

One of the organizers for the event, Katie Risley, the director of Special Olympics Illinois, thanked the sorority Alpha Sigma Alpha who had a large part in spreading the word about the plunge. 

“When I started planning this event I went to Alpha Sigma Alpha who I had worked with in the past and within a day we had almost three times as many plungers registered,” Risley said.

Over the eight-week planning period, Alpha Sigma Alpha helped get registration numbers up with community outreach and had 13 of its members take the plunge. 

Other notable parties who played a key part in setting up the event were NIU administration, NIU PD and the DeKalb Fire Department who provided the tub of water and were on standby for first aid.

As of the beginning of the event, there was over $16,000 raised, but people are able to continue donating until March via the Special Olympics website. Alpha Sigma Alpha raised over $3,500 for the Special Olympics.

While Alpha Sigma Alpha helped raise a large amount of money, there were several other representatives of Greek life participating. Eight members of Delta Zeta, four members of Sigma Lambda Sigma, as well as 20 Members of Phi Kappa Psi participated in the event. 

“It’s freezing out but I’m looking forward to it since it’s for such a good cause,” said Tate Werner, a sophomore business administration major and plunger for Phi Kappa Psi.

Another Plunger, Anjel Henry, a sophomore early childhood development major and plunger for Delta Zeta, explained they were excited to plunge and raise money for the Special Olympics.

The event had a merch booth and concessions area with pastries for purchase. The entire event was streamed by WDKB broadcasting who also DJ’d at the event, playing music and making announcements. 

Madeleine Little, a junior psychology major  and plunger for Alpha Sigma Alpha, said “I really appreciate the welcoming nature of the event”.

The plungers got creative with several people going as far as group cannonballs which caused quite a splash. 

Once the plungers finished they dried off indoors.

“While the water was freezing cold, I feel great since I helped a good cause,” Werner said.

Through NIU’s Greek life alone over 45 of the 85 plungers were students. 

“It’s great to see how many students showed up to help such a noble cause,” Little said. 

Donations for the Special Olympics will be open until March for people to donate through Polar Plunge on their website. 

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