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Annual plunge benefits orphans

Carolyn Hutyra | Friday, February 22, 2013


Students can provide hope for HOPE on Saturday by taking an icy dip in Saint Joseph’s Lake during the fourth annual Polar Bear Plunge.

The fundraising event will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Saint Joseph’s Beach and is a joint effort between Badin and Dillon Halls. 

Badin Hall president Cristin Pacifico said the Plunge raises money for the HOPE Initiative, a charity in Nepal that promotes education and operates an orphanage. She said Badin’s hall fellow, industrial design professor Ann-Marie Conrado, helped start the organization.

“All the money and proceeds we raise from this event go to Nepal to help orphans go to school,” Pacifico said.  

Participating in the Plunge is free, but Pacifico said students can donate $5 to receive raffle tickets for the event. Pacifico said ticket pre-sales will be today in North and South Dining Halls and the LaFortune Student Center.  

“Those tickets will guarantee that you get put in a raffle for different prizes like gift cards,” Pacifico said. “We’ll also be raffling off some of the fair trade goods like hats and scarves that are made by the Nepali women.”

Badin Hall vice president Brianna Leon said the raffle reflects HOPE’s support for fair trade commerce. She said Badin’s annual Conscious Christmas event, which takes place in the late fall, also supports this mission. 

The event coordinators hope 400 to 500 people participate in the Plunge, Pacifico said. She said approximately 200 people participated last year and the event raised more than $2,000 in total.

“Thanks to the funds raised from the Polar Bear Plunge and the other fundraisers that we do, [the orphans] are able to go to the top school in Nepal,” Leon said. 

Pacifico said any donation is welcome and encouraged. Those who would like to donate but not participate in the Plunge will still receive a ticket to enter the prize lottery. 

“I think [the money raised] really goes toward a good cause,” Pacifico said. “We’ve had Skype sessions with the Nepali kids and …we’ve also been able to see the kids grow up and to see where that money is going, that it really does give them hope to have a better future.”

Pacifico said the Plunge offers Notre Dame students the opportunity for a unique thrill. 

“What other time of your life can you dive into a freezing cold lake in February in South Bend other than the Polar Bear Plunge?” she said.