When the temperature drops every winter, many people cringe at the thought of even stepping foot outside the house. But when it comes to a great cause, some of them are more than happy to jump in ice cold water. And they did just that.
Conestoga Students Inc. hosted its annual Polar Plunge on Feb. 28. Many participants formed teams and raised money to jump in the pool despite the freezing temperature. Radio personalities from Conestoga’s station CJIQ were there to MC the event and provide music for everyone in attendance.
The plungers normally jump into the pond behind the college but it was a safety hazard this year due to thin ice. Instead, an above ground pool was brought in for the event. Lake or not, it’s safe to say the water was nice and cold.
CSI program/communications co-ordinator Becky Saba said this year’s location was great because it allowed
students to watch the plunge from inside the cafeteria and library. However, she is hoping the weather will permit people to jump into the pond next year.
Saba has been running the plunge for two years and loves it. She said it is a lot of fun to plan the annual event.
Each year, the CSI board of directors decides on a charity to donate the proceeds to. Since they run a Movember campaign for prostate cancer in November, they voted to fundraise for the Breast Cancer Society for the second time in a row. The reason is that they feel it’s important to support both male and female causes and many students who took the plunge last year were affected by breast cancer.
Over $6,000 was raised in pledges and online donations this year.
“It is a great cause. The Breast Cancer Society has been so appreciative of our campaign,” Saba said.
The Polar Plunge is a tradition in Canada that dates back to 1920 in Vancouver, B.C. It is now embraced worldwide. In Canada, it’s normally held on New Year’s Day. It is held at Conestoga College later in the new year because students are still on Christmas break on Jan. 1.
The plunge has been a tradition at the college for over 20 years. CSI operations manager Sheena Sonser has been involved with the plunge for over seven years. In her first year of the marketing program at the college, she was one of the plungers. Sonser is hoping to see more people participate next year but is still thrilled with the support received.
“It was nice to see so many people wearing pink to support the cause instead of just doing something wild and crazy in the winter months,” she said.
Over 30 students took the plunge in front of people who came to witness their bravery and what some may say is insanity. Some plungers went all out, designing elaborate costumes.