Organizers of the annual Penguin Plunge are expecting this year’s event on Friday, Dec. 10, to be even bigger than last year’s inaugural run. And, this year’s forecast of 33 degrees will feel balmy compared to last year’s windy, 20-degree day! Organized by the Hope House, all proceeds of the event benefit Embrace Your Sisters, an organization that supplies emergency funding to cancer patients in Ontario County.
According to Plunge Leader Emily Rogowski ’12, “Last year, the turnout was incredible. We were so excited to see nearly every single sports team participate, running into the waters of Seneca Lake holding hands, or in matching outfits.”
Held on the last day of classes last year, 140 jumpers turned out to support the cause, with $2,300 raised for Embrace Your Sisters. “We could not believe how many members of the student body, along with faculty and staff came out.”
This year, organizers are looking for 200 participants, with a goal of either matching or exceeding last year’s fundraising.
The idea of the Penguin Plunge came from an event called “The Polar Plunge,” whereby participants pay a small fee in order to raise a sum of money for a local charity, held near Rogowski’s home in Connecticut. She and Caroline Dosky’12 (currently abroad in Argentina) “decided that this event would be perfect for HWS because of our waterfront location and energetic student body,” she says.
The women are co-managers of Hope House, a themed residence dedicated to spreading cancer awareness in and around the community. They chose Embrace Your Sisters, based in Canandaigua, for its fit with their mission.
“This is our second year in a row working with the organization and the women there are amazing. They’re so grateful and thankful for our help. It’s truly inspirational to work with such motivated individuals,” says Rogowski, urging everyone to bear the chilly waters of Seneca Lake.
The cost is $5 to jump or $5 to sponsor someone else to jump. Van transportation is available to the lakefront, leaving from the Medbery parking lot beginning at 3:30 p.m. The plunge will occur at 4 p.m.