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Polar Plunge to raise funds for Special Olympics at Assembly Hall



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Abigail Baker, the philanthropy chair for Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, stands Feb. 4 in Franklin Hall. She is preparing for the 2020 Indiana University Polar Plunge on Feb. 22. Raegan Walsh

Students jumping into cold water will raise funds for Special Olympics Indiana athletes at noon Feb. 22 outside of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall as part of the Bloomington Polar Plunge.

The event is being organized by Special Olympics Indiana, Alpha Sigma Alpha, IU Police Department and the Bloomington Fire Department. Special Olympics Indiana benefits adults and children with intellectual disabilities.

“Every year, Special Olympics Indiana has multiple Polar Plunges across the state,” Special Olympics Indiana South Regional Manager Francie Smith said. “It’s our largest fundraiser.” 

To participate in the event, people have to raise a minimum of $75 and take the plunge.

Smith said participants can register the morning of the plunge or online. She said the morning of the event, organizers assemble a portable pool outside the north lobby of Assembly Hall, BFD brings water and fills up the pool and they put a ladder up.

Abby Baker, Alpha Sigma Alpha’s philanthropy chair, said Special Olympics is one of its national philanthropies which means all ASA chapters, including IU, focus on Special Olympics.

“It’s really awesome to have the whole community be involved in this event,” Baker said. “Because it's not just greek life, it’s not just Alpha Sigma Alpha, it's the whole Bloomington community.” 

Baker said there will be an After Splash Bash inside Assembly Hall, where there is food and music for the participants.

Special Olympics Indiana helps raise funds for more than 17,000 athletes throughout Indiana, Smith said. 

“Our athletes compete and train locally," Smith said. "These funds make it so that our athletes can do these things at no cost to them."

IUPD Deputy Chief Shannon Bunger said IUPD is having an in-house competition to raise the most money between the officers. 

“Anytime we can be involved in any aspect of the community, we are happy to do so,” Bunger said. “And with Special Olympics, because that’s a great organization, any chance we get to pair up with them for anything, we certainly take advantage of the opportunity.

Bunger said he and other IUPD employees are planning to take the plunge. He said they'll also provide on site security. 

Smith said the Special Olympics is a movement for inclusion.

“We are changing the world with being inclusive, we never want to turn someone away because of financial needs,” Smith said.

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