Annual Polar Plunge fundraiser raises over $50,000

A student dresses as Spiderman jumps into the freezing water at Polar Plunge. Photo by Carly Dobert.


Thirty-two degree weather didn’t stop Butler University students and Special Olympic athletes from making a splash at the 50th annual Polar Plunge last weekend outside the HRC.

In total, nearly $55,000 was raised at the Butler Polar Plunge.

The Special Olympics Indiana goal is to raise $1 million by the end of all Polar Plunge events across the state.

Polar Plunge is an event where supporters of Special Olympics Indiana fundraise for the cause and face a cold challenge along the way. Participants of all ages made a cold-weather splash and raised money to support year-round programs and events for people with intellectual disabilities.

To be able to jump in the water, Butler students had to raise more than $50 to participate, while non-Butler students had to raise more than $75 to enlist in Polar Plunge.

Sam Totten, a first-year criminology and psychology major, volunteered with Special Olympics in high school.

“The athletes don’t allow anything to hold them back, and that’s really inspiring,” Totten said. “They are the most caring and nice people you’ll ever meet.”  

Participants could either be an individual contestant along with other Special Olympic athletes or be on a team. Teams varied from sororities and fraternities to Special Olympic athletes and even the Butler University Police Department made an appearance for the cause.

Before swimmers faced the cold water, an opening ceremony took place inside the HRC where an introduction video was followed by announcements, a costume contest, the Special Olympics oath and the national anthem.   

Members of the event’s executive board and Special Olympics Indiana have been planning this event since last April.

Maria Scarpitti, a junior marketing major, is the co-president for the board. This is her third year participating.

Scarpitti listed various aspects that must be planned for Polar Plunge, which includes conference calls with Special Olympics Indiana, coordinating with students, advertising on social media and ordering enough food for all the participants.

Alec Spaulding, a 26-year-old Special Olympic athlete, participated in his second Polar Plunge this year.

“It’s a fun time with the team in the water,” Spaulding said. “Go out there, have fun and make a splash.”



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