March 27, 2012

Polar Plunge raises $32,000 for Special Olympics

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The water was a bit chilly but the results were heart-warming at the recent Polar Plunge 2012 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. 

There were 178 hearty souls who jumped into campus lake, raising more than $32,000 for the local Southern Illinois Special Olympics program.  The program serves more than 870 athletes in the region, according to Linda Wunder, southern region supervisor for Special Olympics Illinois.  Many of the participants donned creative costumes for this second annual event. 

The plunge had a “Beach Party” theme and each participant brought in at least $75 in donations for Special Olympics.  Some contributed much more, winning a variety of incentives and prizes, including a seven-night trip for two to Riu Negril in Negril, Jamaica. 

Here are the winners for Polar Plunge 2012:

  • Golden Plunger (individual raising the most money) -- Daniel Ershen, a freshman Phi

Sigma Kappa member and aviation flight major from the Chicago area, who raised more than $2,800.

  • Best Costume -- Jody Goetting of Pinckneyville.
  • Best Team Costume -- Angry Plungers from the Elverado School District
  • Golden Team Plunger -- Phi Sigma Kappa
  • Silver Team Plunger -- Alpha Chi Sigma
  • Bronze Team Plunger -- American Marketing Association
  • Top Cop (top law enforcement fundraiser) -- Christine Stearns of Carbondale, from the Carbondale Police Department
  • Golden Law Enforcement Team -- Carbondale Policicles
  • RSO -- Alpha Chi Sigma
  • Greek Life -- Phi Sigma Kappa
  • High School -- Carterville Lions

The event was one of 20 statewide that make up the largest fundraising effort of the year for Special Olympics Illinois.  It’s the only plunge on a college campus in the state.  The American Marketing Association, a campus registered student organization, along with Chi Sigma Chi and Recreational Sports and Services teamed with Special Olympics Illinois for the 2012 Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge at Carbondale.  A post-plunge party followed at the Student Recreation Center.