Lawrence to host first annual Polar Plunge

Story by Whitney Silkey, Assistant News Editor

Jumping into freezing cold water is usually not a popular winter activity, but that doesn’t stop the hundreds of brave souls who take the plunge into frigid Kansas waters.

Peace. Love. Plunge. This is the theme for Lawrence’s first ever Polar Plunge, which is scheduled for Saturday, March 7 at Naismith Hall. The fundraiser, which is also called the Polar Bear Plunge, is for local Special Olympics programs. For some, diving into the freezing water has become a tradition.

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Sophomore Luke Miltz plunged four times at Lake Shawnee in Topeka, but he is excited for the change of venue this year. Because of his dedication to the project, he joined the planning committee for the plunge, hoping to spread the word around the Baldwin City community.

Miltz has formed a team through Student Senate for any Baker University students, and a few other organizations are joining in on the fun; Baker’s Greek life, Alpha Chi Omega and Zeta Chi have also created teams.

Sophomore Emi Kniffin is on the team for Baker University students, because the Polar Plunge is a fundraiser close to her heart. Her autistic brother is a member of a Special Olympics team. This will be her second year participating in the Polar Plunge and she hopes to continue to plunge in the future.

“It is a great way to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics,” Kniffin said. “It is also good for the athletes and their families.”

Kniffin volunteers at the Special Olympics state track meet every year in Wichita. When she lived in Wichita, she helped out as a coach for a tennis team.

According to Kniffin, jumping into ice-cold water is not as bad as people think because of the adrenaline.

“You don’t feel it until an hour later,” Kniffin said. “It’s exhilarating.”

A member of the Alpha Chi Omega team, freshman Annie Hanson, is excited to take her first plunge. <br/>

Hanson has volunteered for the Special Olympics softball tournament in Missouri over the summer. She knows that the event will be a rewarding experience and she hopes others feel the same way knowing that they helped make a difference in someone’s life.

Miltz hopes that the Baker community will have a good time at the Polar Plunge while supporting the cause.

“I’m passionate about providing opportunity and community for special needs,” Miltz said. “Fundraising for them is important because it gives people with special needs something that is their own.”

The Baker University Alpha Chi Omega team is currently second in fundraising amounts for the Lawrence plunge with $375. Zeta Chi follows in third place with $277.

Anyone can register for the Lawrence Polar Plunge from now until the day of the event. The plunge is taking place in a pool located at Naismith Hall on the University of Kansas’ campus.

On-site registration begins at 10:30 on March 7, and the plunge is at noon. The only requirement is a minimum of $75 for each person that can be raised from supporters or donated by the plungers themselves. For more information or to register online, click here.