Texas THON hosted their second annual Polar Plunge event at Gregory Gymnasium on Wednesday, where students jumped into a freezing pool in support of Dell Children’s Medical Center.
Texas THON is a student-run nonprofit organization, whose main purpose is to raise money for Dell Children’s. Texas THON has 600 members, or “Miracle Makers,” and about 15 THON members participated in the Polar Plunge.
“Our goal is to fundraise year-round for our local children’s miracle network hospital, which is Dell Children’s here in Austin,” said Michael Richardson, Texas THON vice president of recruitment. “We fundraise year-round for them and try to get UT students involved in fundraising by having them engage in the various events we throw throughout the year.”
Around 40 students jumped into Gregory Gym’s outdoor pool. Gregory Gym staff were asked to turn the pool heaters off a day before the Polar Plunge to ensure the coldest plunge possible.
“It’s not that cold,” said Mackenna Shull, international relations and global studies and economics junior. “It is cold, but once you get in it’s not that bad. It’s a fun experience that you probably wouldn’t do otherwise, and it’s for a really great cause. This is a really team-oriented event. Nobody wants to jump into a freezing cold pool, but I think that when you’re doing it with people you care about, it’s really fun.”
Students from various campus organizations, including the Filipino Students Association, Texas Sweethearts and Texas Lonestars, participated in the plunge. Organizations jumped together in teams and suffered the frigidness together. After the plunge, the jumpers shivered in towels and enjoyed complimentary hot chocolate.
Texas THON recruits other organizations to participate in their many fundraisers throughout the semester. In March, the organization will reveal how much money they raised for Dell Children’s at their annual dance marathon.
FSA had 13 students participate in the plunge, and more watched on the sidelines. Jacqueline Ladesma, a biology sophomore and community chair of the Filipino Students Association, said this was her first time jumping in the Polar Plunge.
“(The Filipino Student Association) actually already (has) a Texas THON team,” Ladesma said. “We have been working with Texas THON for a long time, and we really support the philanthropy that they stand by. So it’s really exciting to see people get excited about helping the community.”