Together, they raised more than $47,000 for Special Olympics Indiana.

By Evie Schultz ’16

The thermometer read 12 degrees on Saturday morning, February 13, but that didn’t stop hundreds of Butler students from jumping in an ice-cold pool.

“It’s cold but totally worth it,” John Lacheta ’19 said as he toweled off.

Senior Jake Michalski takes the Polar Plunge.Students weren’t just subjecting themselves to freezing water for fun. Each year, students take the plunge to raise money for Special Olympics Indiana. The event takes place each year outside the HRC.

“The whole campus comes together for this event,” Nikki Micelli ’18 said. “As a freshman that blew me away.”

The numbers are staggering. This year’s 17th annual Plunge benefits more than 11,000 Special Olympians in Indiana. Students had to raise at least $50 individually to jump, and together they raised more than $47,000.

Taylor VanArsdel ’16 took the plunge for the third time this year and encouraged her friends and sorority sisters to jump too.

“It’s so cool to see Butler students rally behind an organization,” she said. “I love knowing I raised money for Special Olympics.”

Fraternities, sororities and other campus groups coordinated themed costumes for an extra splash. Alpha Chi Omega’s costume theme this year was donuts–each participant wore an inflatable donut around his or her waist.

Participants wore costumes of all kinds. Some wore Speedos or bathing suits. Others were a little more outrageous, like a banana costume or “groutfits.”

Even though it was “the coldest year yet,” according to VanArsdel, seeing students have some fun and come together for Special Olympics is heartwarming.

And for many students, meeting Special Olympians makes the whole experience worth bearing the freezing temperatures.

“I’ve gotten into conversations with Special Olympians, and each of them has taught me something,” she said. “They’re so inspiring, so I want to give back to them.”