For some students, plunging into an icy pool is the perfect way to jumpstart fundraising efforts for a cause they believe in.
Texas THON, a student organization that raises money for Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, hosted the first Polar Plunge fundraiser at Gregory Gym’s outdoor pool on Tuesday. Participants donated $10 to jump in the pool while others could pay a $5 entry fee to watch. The event was part of Texas THON’s “Week of Miracles,” a week-long campaign where the organization tries to reach a fundraising goal of $24,000.
“We do hope to make Polar Plunge an annual Texas THON event, something that will make students immediately think of us when they hear it,” said Jordan Robbins, Texas THON president and business senior.
There were about 60 people signed up to jump into the pool at two different times. The first jump took place at 6:30 p.m. and the second jump followed at 6:45 p.m., when the outside temperature was 59 degrees.
“We are just looking for a way to get the UT community more involved with THON,” said Jarrett Hubbard, Texas THON’s director of fundraising and biochemistry junior. “It allows people to take a literal jump into their fundraising.”
E.J. Patterson, Texas THON’s faculty advisor and a staff member with Rec Sports, was the first to propose the idea for the Polar Plunge.
“(Patterson) had proposed a joint Texas THON-Rec Sports event, a natural fit since Texas THON is sponsored by Rec Sports,” Robbins said.
English junior Poonum Mehta is one of the Texas THON Miracle Makers, the participants who fundraise and participate in the 12-hour event later this spring. She works to collect donations year-round and hit a personal fundraising goal of at least $150 to benefit Dell Children’s Medical Center.
“I wanted to jump because I’ve always heard of polar plunges, and they always go toward good causes,” Mehta said. “It’s great that THON is adding this to their fundraising efforts.”
Robbins said Polar Plunge helps Miracle Makers within Texas THON catch the attention of potential donors within their network.
“(Miracle Makers) posting pictures or videos on social media of themselves jumping will help display their dedication for the kids and raise awareness for the cause they hold dear to their hearts, which in turn sparks more donations,” Robbins said.