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Participants in Polar Plunge, students and citizens of the Galesburg community alike, gather to plunge for Special Olympics. #

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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Students Brave Icy Waters in Polar Plunge

March 02, 2017

Participants in Polar Plunge, students and citizens of the Galesburg community alike, gather to plunge for Special Olympics.

by Elise Goitia '18

For many students, the highlight of winter term is Polar Plunge, an opportunity to help others while running into the freezing waters of Lake Storey.

"The desire to help is definitely concentrated at Knox," said Eli Adams ‘19, this year's Knox Polar Plunge coordinator. "We have a community here that encourages volunteer work and altruism, and we all inspire each other to do good."

Individuals who raised a minimum of $100 could participate in the 2017 Polar Plunge Law Enforcement Torch Run Series for Special Olympics Illinois. Special Olympics is the largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities.

Walter Wood '20 posted on Facebook that he would run into Lake Storey in a full Captain America costume if he reached his goal of $200. Within 36 hours, he had the money.

"I have an autoimmune disorder, so I support any cause that assists people who accomplish their goals despite physical or mental disabilities," he commented. "I was excited to get into the water."

"It was fun, and a lot more freezing than I thought," added Harry Carpenter '18, who came as a swim team member. "I'm doing this to support the people like my brother who have special needs, and also to do some serious training during our off season."

Knox Greek life organizations Alpha Sigma Alpha and Beta Theta Pi participated in the plunge, along with students who fundraised individually or volunteered for the event.

Alpha Sigma Alpha president Randi Siegrist '18 grew up in Galesburg, and commented on how an event like Polar Plunge brings the community together for a common goal.

"We're not Knox people or Galesburg people," said Siegrist. "We're just people doing a good thing."

Beta Theta Pi member Jack Faulkner ‘18 added that the organization often encourages new members to participate in philanthropic events to "give back to the community that you become a part of when you join Knox."

"Jumping into cold water isn't anything that people volunteer to do, and it's easy to forget while we're at Knox that we're a part of a greater community," he said. "This is a great outlet for students to meet people that live here and come together to raise awareness for Special Olympics."

The Kleine Center for Community Service regularly offers opportunities for students to volunteer their service toward philanthropic events.

"Every volunteer experience I've ever had here has been life-changing," Adams said. "We're using our privileged positions as college students to help others, and it's rad that people genuinely want to help everyone else out."

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Printed on Saturday, March 25, 2017

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