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Students plunge into lakes

Regina Woods | Monday, February 14, 2011

“I have a new-found empathy for polar bears,” freshman Brendan Coyne said after participating in the second annual Badin-Dillon Polar Bear Plunge Saturday in St. Joseph’s Lake.


Coyne was one of the nearly 200 participants jumping into the frigid waters in 34-degree weather, according to Lauren Baldwin, Badin Hall president.


“It was the most refreshing experience of my life,” freshman Andy McAsey, who was part of the first group to enter the water, said.


A total of eight heats of 21 people ran into the ice-cold water on Saturday, starting at 2 p.m., Baldwin said.


“It felt like pins and needles on my feet but otherwise I’m fine,” junior Ronnie Kadykowski said.

“It was so cold that you can’t even feel it,” freshman Sarah Eide said. “You just get numb. It was awesome.”


Upon arriving at the plunge, students signed up and were entered into a raffle for gift cards for restaurants on Eddy’s Street Commons and for gifts from the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore. They also gave donations to the Hope Initiative, Margaret Bellon, Badin Hall vice president, said.


“The Hope Initiative inspires hope through benefiting education for children in Nepal,” Bellon said.


Badin Hall fellow and professor Ann-Marie Conrado runs the charity, Baldwin said. This year, the plunge raised more than $900.


Baldwin said she and Bellon have been working on the event with D.J. Barry, Dillon Hall president, and P.J. Flynn, Dillon Hall vice president, since October. They set up a Polar Bear Plunge committee of Badin girls after winter break to make this event as successful as possible.

Baldwin said the committee set up a gathering spot by two heaters and provided towels for participants. They had hot chocolate, cookies and brownies for everybody to enjoy. The committee also added live music half way through the event and made the event a dorm competition.


“The worst part was getting out of the water,” freshman Deanna Kolberg said.


One of the goals of the event coordinators was greater publicity, Bellon said.


Many students said they enjoyed the event.


“This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” sophomore Mike O’Brien said. “I wish it could have lasted longer. As soon as we were in, we were out. I could have been in there for 10 minutes.”


“It was the most exhilarating moment of my life thus far,” freshman Andrew Aaronian said.

Other students did the plunge for different reasons.


“I did it because it is on my ND bucket list,” senior Sean Kickham said. “Got to get it done before I graduate in May.”


Freshman Christine Allen and her friends dressed up for the event. Allen, dressed as a football player, said, “I did the plunge because I wanted to prove I’m not a wimpy Californian.”


“The Polar Bear Plunge shows how much people at Notre Dame care about contributing to important causes and I am glad to be a part of it,” Baldwin said.