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  • MBA Students Polar Plunge for the Illinois Special Olympics

    Students plunging at the Lake of the Woods
    Students plunging at the Lake of the Woods

    First, can you tell us a little bit about the SPOILL Polar Plunge and how the MBA supports the cause? The Polar Plunge is a fund raising activity for the local Special Olympics.  Since the Special Olympic chapters in the local Champaign area do not charge their athletes any money when competing in events, they need to raise money throughout the year.  The Polar Plunge requires participants to raise money in exchange for "plunging" into a very cold lake.  This year's event was held in Mahomet.  Spectators watched as over 500 participants plunged into the lake in groups.  The event this year raised over $550,000 for the Special Olympics.  The MBA Service Association has participated in the Polar Plunge for the past several years, and this year we had 9 plungers who raised a combined $1014.

    How did you go about fund raising?  Was it easy? Challenging?  When you register for the event you are able to set up an on-line donation web-site.  I then sent out this link to my family and friends asking for donations to my plunge.  Many were willing to give money as long as they got to see pictures of me jumping in the lake on plunge day.  Fund raising was very easy, and i had met my required donation within the first few days.

    In hindsight, is there a better way to raise money for this amazing event?  The day before the event one of our classmates came up with a great idea.  They wanted to get professors to plunge for minimum donations.  Next year we will aim to get professors to plunge if a minimum donation of $300 in met.  Many students would donate money simply to see their favorite professor jump into a freezing cold lake.  This would help to bring our MBA donations levels up, and hopefully increase our number of spectators as well.

    So, tell us about the day of the plunge? What were you thinking/feeling?  How many other MBA's were there?  We were lucky this year for the plunge.  The air temperature was above freezing, and this was the first time in the last few years that the lake was not completely frozen on plunge day.  While we were cold and nervous about our plunge, the entire group was excited about being able to help the Special Olympics.  We had 9 MBA students plunging, and another 7 classmates came out to support us.  We were very thankful to our spectators because they were able to capture on plunge on video, and have dry towels waiting at the exit point!

    How long were you in the water?  You are only in the water for about 10 seconds.  The plunge starts about 200 yards away from the entry point, and your team runs together towards the lake.  Once you enter the water, you get wet and then exit quickly.  They have warm tents for you to change into dry clothes once your exit the water. 

    Last year, they did a superhero theme.  Did you have a theme? We decided to plunge in Illinois orange.  So each participant wore an orange shirt to support the school.  There was several teams that dressed up in themes, and superheroes were popular again this year.  Also, an all male team dressed in Tutu's....that was fun to watch.

    After you jumped in, then what? Did they have a chili lunch for you?  After we plunged we ran over to our fabulous spectators for dry towels, and then changed into our Polar Plunge sweatshirts (you get a sweatshirt as a thank you for raising money).  The Special Olympics also provided soup and chili for us after the plunge.

    Would you “plunge” again? I would definitely consider plunging again next year.  It was a fun day with great classmates and a good opportunity to help out the local Champaign community.

    Thanks so much Colleen, both for you time and your willingness to give back to the Champaign community!  The MBA is thrilled to have students who support important causes like the Special Olympics of Illinois.  As always, we look forward to the community service you will do in the future and hope you will continue to share with us!