Leah Seupersad, 404-413-1354
ATLANTA— Cadets in Georgia State University’s ROTC Battalion took home the “Iceberg Trophy” Sunday for having the most members jump into the Indian Creek Pool during the annual Polar Bear Plunge.
The purpose of the event, hosted by the GSU Student Recreation Center, is to increase awareness about endangered polar bears while providing students a fun packed preview of the Indian Creek Pool.
“It’s great to say we had a lot of people to jump into this cold water, and it also builds some spirit and moral knowing that you dared to do something that a lot of people don’t dare do,” said Yadira Chicas, a senior sociology major and ROTC cadet that helped organize more than 75 ROTC participants to take the plunge. “This is something that we can all do together as a battalion and it’s something just for fun with no strings attached.”
There were more than 100 attendants at this year’s Plunge, representing student organizations and university departments such as Alpha Xi Delta, University Commons and the Andrew Young School Health Policy Center.
Matthew Robison, GSU’s assistant dean of students, said he takes the plunge each year because it’s a unique event and it’s not something that someone from the south often gets to experience. “
As participants line up around the pool, you can feel numerous emotions running through the group— excitement, fear, nervousness, joy—and the few seconds before you take the plunge is a true adrenalin rush,” Robison said. “Then you jump in and your body goes numb, and you are thinking I can't believe I just jumped into a glass of ice water and its 32 degrees outside.”
The water temperature at the time of the plunge was a frigid 59 degrees, which didn’t stop many participants from jumping in the pool more than once.
“Each year the group takes the initial plunge, splash around for a few seconds, swim feverishly to the edge, climb out, shiver and shake, but then, plunge right back in for a second round,” Robison said.
This year was the first time donations were collected at the event for Polar Bear Exchange International. Food was also provided for plungers, some who showed up an hour early to mingle with other participants, win prizes and meet “Polar” the bear. The first 100 people received an “I Survived the Plunge” t-shirt.
Nigel Harris, aquatics coordinator at the SRC, said this year’s plunge was a huge success. He hopes to see faculty, staff and students return to the pool when it opens for the season on Memorial Day.
The Indian Creek Pool is located at 900 South Indian Creek Drive in Stone Mountain, Ga.
“Most people may just know about the Indian Creek Lodge, but don’t know about the pool,” Harris said. “By bringing students, faculty and staff out there to get a preview of the pool then they will remember it as something to do this summer.”
Published Feb. 21, 2011