Rollins Makes Waves in the Polar Plunge

PLUNGE IN Participants rush into the frigid water; in only four years, Polar Plunge has raised over $750,000 for Special Olympics Florida.

PLUNGE IN Participants rush into the frigid water; in only four years, Polar Plunge has raised over $750,000 for Special Olympics Florida.

Led by Alessandra Gomez, an International Business major, Rollins College is making waves in the annual Polar Plunge fundraiser held on February 1, 2014 at Seaworld’s Aquatica.

You’ve probably seen the polar bear posters around campus, liked their Facebook page, or even met Paco. So, what is the Polar Plunge anyway?

Polar Plunge is a statewide fundraiser for Special Olympics Florida in which individuals team up to raise money for the privilege of plunging into the chilled waters of the Aquatica wave pool. Hundreds of plungers participate each year and the donations benefit SeaWorld’s long time partner, the Special Olympics of Florida, which provides year-round sports training and competition to individuals with intellectual disabilities at no cost to the athlete or their caregiver.

International Business major, Alessandra Gomez, ‘14, is the driving force behind the Polar Plunge’s recent takeover of the Rollins campus. She’s been interning for the Special Olympics this semester and knew she had to get her friends involved with this amazing project. With help from headquarters, she’s gotten together a committee of twelve students and has organized several different events around campus to get people plungin’. The Special Olympics promotes inclusion, a high sense of self-esteem, love and community. “The Special Olympics holds such a dear place in my heart. I’ve gotten to see firsthand how powerful an impact we have on the individuals involved. Most importantly, they are part of a team and part of a community” says Gomez.

The greatest thing about this story is that once word got around that this project was happening, people came running to Gomez to be part of the committee. Rollins students have really taken initiative with this project and are determined to get the rest of the community involved with the cause as well.

Three of our very own professors have even volunteered to be “Big Kahunas”. Associate Professor of International Business Marc Sardy, Assistant Professor of Internatinal Business Emmanuel Kodzi, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion Todd French will be competing head to head. “This is another opportunity to make a contribution, and I choose to do it gladly. Thanks to Alessandra for pointing me to Polar Plunge. I think I will be brave enough to make the plunge in February”, says Professor of International Business Emmanuel Kodzi.

Rollins students have really taken initiative with this project and are determined to get the rest of the community involved with the cause as well.

Whoever gets the most money raised on their behalf will be the one to plunge first at the event. Penguin Paco, the team mascot, waddled all the way from Antarctica to help Rollins fundraise for the Special Olympics. Catch him around campus promoting the event and supporting community organizations.

Be on the look out for their flyers and kick-off event. All it takes is a donation of at least $100, and you as well as two spectators of your choice can spend the day at Aquatica at Orlando’s biggest pool party. Visit their Facebook page to find out how to donate for your favorite professor or to find out how your organization can start their own teams.

 

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