Students take plunge to raise money for Special Olympics

Students take plunge to raise money for Special Olympics

by Emily SchettlerStaff Writer

Students and faculty members will dive into Lake Ahquabi to raise money for Special Olympics Iowa this Saturday at noon. They will be participating in the Polar Plunge, an annual fundraiser for the Special Olympics.

While the event is held yearly across the state, this is the first time the fundraiser has taken place in Indianola.

Thus far, the response has been very positive. Fifteen groups of ten people each will be making the plunge. Members from both the Warren County Sheriff’s Department and the Indianola Police Department are participating as well as several groups from Simpson.

Senior Jason Menter brought the idea to campus after an internship he did at the Warren County Sheriff’s Department last fall. For Menter, the event has special meaning.

“I had a cousin who competed in the Special Olympics his whole life and he passed away at the end of last year,” Menter said. “When the deputy was talking about the event, I thought of him, and that really pushed me to do it.”

Menter and fellow criminal justice majors partnered with the Students Working Towards a Better Tomorrow group for the event. As word spread around campus, more people took interest.

Sophomore committee member Kayte Hennick worked to involve members from other groups as well. Hennick recruited girls from her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, to participate and help her fundraise.

“We talked with some groups and sororities and fraternities on campus,” Hennick said.

Participants raised money for the event by sending out emails to friends and family members.

“We used a Web site called firstgiving.com, which partnered with the Special Olympics,” Hennick said. “We’ve been pretty successful so far. We’ve raised over $400.”

For most of the members, it is their first time participating in an event like the Polar Plunge.

“I’m nervous that it’s going to be really cold,” Hennick said.

For Lora Friedrich, assistant professor of sociology, the plunge is an opportunity to spend time with students and help an organization she believes in strongly.

“It’s a really good cause,” Friedrich said. “I’ve never done one before, and I think it’s a fun way to hang out with students.”

Menter is hoping for a strong turnout from the Simpson community.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I hope we raise a lot of money for the Special Olympics.