Photo by Joey Gale
The cold pierces up through the toes, legs and entire body…splash.
It could be called crazy, but the Gamma Tau chapter of the Theta Chi fraternity calls it support.
The Theta Chi Polar Plunge will be the climax to the Theta Chi philanthropy week. Money raised is donated to Special Olympics Iowa.
It is the second year that Theta Chi has paired with the non-profit organization. Junior Theta Chi Alexander Noonan, one of the organizers for the week, said the inspiration for the event came out of starting a fall philanthropy event in 2010.
“We were looking for a new organization to support for a fall philanthropy because we had only done spring in the past, and we looked at the Polar Plunge event ran by the Special Olympics Iowa and thought it would be a fun event that college students would love to support and participate in,” Noonan said. “And, we decided to try it out.”
Big Creek Park will see men and women shedding their cold weather coats and boots for a chilly dip. Plungers will sprint across the beach into the lake while spectators stand around and watch. Professional divers will be on site to ensure safety. After the chill sets in, plungers will gladly jump in to the heated changing stations.
Participants can register this Saturday from 9:45-10:45 a.m. for $60. The plunge happens at 11 a.m. and a party including food and prizes will follow. Team costumes are optional but encouraged.
Those too “chicken” to plunge can register as a chicken and raise pledges, receive a long sleeve T-shirt and watch the plunge from the shoreline.
For Theta Chi, the results from last year meant enough donations for eight members to participate in the Polar Plunge.
“They came back with only great stories to share with the rest of the house,” Noonan said. “It was only natural that we supported them again this year.”
Unlike many philanthropy weeks, the goal for the week is not a flat monetary amount.
“We are attempting to get as many other (Greek) houses to join in at the event itself,” Noonan said. “The minimum goal is to have at least four to five members from each other house plunging.”
Senior Trevor Funk, Theta Chi president, said that he would like the chapter to raise around $2,000, but said that the philanthropy is still in its infancy.
“This year, we put a lot more structure into the event, and it’s turning into something really unique,” Funk said.
Funk also said that the fraternity is looking to increase its relationship with Special Olympics Iowa. The non-profit organization allows close to 11,000 athletes across the state to participate in 23 different sports annually.
This week also featured an intense dodgeball tournament for $30 per team and a spaghetti dinner for just $3 per person.
Fraternity members were auctioned off on Pomerantz Stage on Tuesday, as other sororities and fraternities “bought” them.
Philanthropy weeks are opportunities for both Greek members and non-members alike to support specific causes. Fraternities and sororities have a chance to “win” the philanthropy events by earning points through donations and participation.
“It’s just a really fun event for a good cause,” Funk said. “You can’t go wrong with that.”
Get connected with the men of Theta Chi
Facebook: Theta Chi-Drake University
Special Olympics of IowaSpecial olympics offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round training and competition in 26 Olympic-type summer and winter sportsSpecial Olympics currently serves more than 3 million persons with intellectual disabilities in more than 200 programs in more than 150 countriesCurrently, Special Olympics Iowa serves nearly 11,000 Iowans with intellectual disabilities, participants and Unified Sports Partners.About 2.1-2.3 percent of Iowa’s population have intellectual disabilities which equates somewhere between 50,000-60,000 people.