Stillwater News Press

February 2, 2013

Students, residents take the plunge for Special Olympics

By Chris Day
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State University students turned out for Saturday’s Polar Plunge fundraiser for Special Olympics of Oklahoma at Boomer Lake.

If you’re not familiar with the plunge, participants seek pledges from family, friends, teachers and employers to jump in the lake in the dead of winter.

Saturday wasn’t too bad.

The temperature had climbed into the mid-40s by the 11 a.m. plunge time. The sun was shining and wind calm. Still, the water in Boomer Lake was a bone-chilling 35 degrees, and participants raced from the lake to a waiting hot tub at the top of the boat ramp.

It was the fifth annual Polar Plunge in Stillwater.

OSU students were more involved than ever. The Freshmen Business Student Leaders coordinated with Stillwater event officials to increase student involvement. The student group played host to a competition between sororities, fraternities, residential life halls and colleges.

OSU sophomores Leah Underwood, Edmond, and Chris Stockton, Duncan, are coordinators of the Freshmen Representative Council.

The 50-member organization is selected through an application process, Underwood said. She and Stockton told the group they would wear costumes and take the plunge if the group pledged at least the minimum donation of $75 a person.

Council members surpassed the goal, said Stockton, who was dressed in a Little Bo Peep costume.

“This means a lot of embarrassment,” he said, “but it’s all worth it just helping out the Special Olympics. It’s a great, great cause. This 20 minutes of agony is worth it.”

A rainbow wig adorned Underwood’s head. She wore a clown outfit. Underwood said the coordinators wanted to support the Council.

“They really have a passion for serving people. This is something they really wanted to get involved in. As coordinators, we just really wanted to support them.”

The Polar Plunge drew participants from throughout the area, too. Plungers came from Frontier schools in Red Rock and Morrison schools. Three participants were from Coleman.

Cannon Sharp’s friend asked him to take the plunge. Special Olympics resonate with Sharp.

“I have a few family members that are actually in Special Olympics. So,  it kind of hit home,” Sharp said.