BY JANIE HARRIS. Staff Writer
Sophomore business major Emily DeLorenzo squatted down as ice chunks and cold water poured down from above her head. Just forty-eight hours earlier, freshman nursing major Haley Rea Vasser had challenged DeLorenzo to the new fad- the Polar Plunge.
Also known as the 24-hour cold water challenge, the Polar Plunge is jumping into a cold body of water or having a bucket of cold water dumped on you after being challenged by someone according to another participant in the challenge, junior political science, history, and secondary education major Trey Martin.
From the famous comedian, Jimmy Fallon, to the students at Piedmont, everyone seems to be taking part in the plunge, but why would someone jump into freezing cold water?
Molly Mulholland, a junior education major, posted on Facebook along with the video of her jumping into the water, “The purpose of this challenge is to help raise money to build clean water wells in Africa! If you are challenged, you are asked to give at least $10 for the cause!”
She attached a link to Monroe Church of God’s website.
The Monroe Church of God explains that the challenge began in Canada with no real purpose.
In Canada, entire cities make the pilgrimage each new year, to jump into the freezing cold water.
The church decided to give it a purpose and challenged everyone who participates to give at least $10 to go toward providing clean drinking water in Africa.
But the Monroe Church of God is not the only place you can donate money. Many of those who participate donate money to the charity of their choice.
Vasser said, “It felt good to do something for charity, and all in all, it was funny. At least, I can say I did it.”
But with the protected wetlands being the only body of water on Piedmont’s campus, how are students taking part?
Martin and a group of his friends went to Lake Russell, a twenty or so minute drive from Piedmont’s campus.
Martin thought that because it was 75 degrees outside that the challenge wouldn’t be that bad.
“Boy, was I wrong. It was freezing, so I swam as fast as I could to get out,” said Martin.
Vasser commutes to Piedmont, so she was able to use her swimming pool at her own home.
“The water was absolutely freezing, and I’m pretty sure my brain stopped functioning for a second from the shock of the cold water because I couldn’t recall how I should get out of the pool,” said Vasser.
DeLorenzo took a different approach.
“I’m not jumping in the wetlands,” said DeLorenzo.
Pressed for time and not knowing where she could jump into water, she decided to have someone dump a large bucket filled with ice water on her rather than jumping into the water.
“I did not like it. I did not want to do it, but I guess it was fun,” said DeLorenzo.
Others in a situation similar to DeLorenzo’s have participated in the polar plunge by filling their tub up with ice water and jumping into it or having a bottle of water sprayed on them as they jumped onto a piece of paper that says “water” on it.
There are ways to participate after you were challenged, so why not?
According to Vasser, nothing happens to you if you don’t participate after being challenged.
“It just means you’re no fun,” said Vasser.
The name of this challenge has confused many, as the official cold water challenge was started by thewaterproject.org encouraging participants to swap all of their drinks for water for two weeks, and donate the money they would have spent on anything other than water to the Water Project.
However, both challenges have the same goal: to raise money to provide clean and safe drinking water in underdeveloped areas.
There is controversy surrounding the challenge. Are people donating money to help the cause, or just jumping into water?
“I don’t see anything wrong with doing the challenge and not donating,” said Katheryn Knarr, senior marketing major. “Especially if it’s just a dare done by a group of friends.”
This fad is making its way through every group of people on Piedmont’s campus, so the question is: will you be the next one to take the polar plunge?