Mar 2, 2010

Liberty students take the Plunge

by Elizabeth Mayhew

Liberty University hosted the Polar Plunge Festival, an annual fundraiser benefiting the Special Olympics Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 27, for the second year in a row.

The event, one of the largest fund-raising events hosted by Liberty, exceeded expectations, according to coordinators Josh Walker and Brian Keenum.

Walker, the Director of the Piedmont region, was very pleased with the involvement and support the event garnered from Liberty students.

“The growth is testament to the Liberty students and faculty, who have committed to making this a yearly festival for the Lynchburg community. The students were amazing. They planned this plunge from start to finish, and they also turned it into a festival,” Walker said.

With the help of sponsors Ultimate LU and the Liberty Athletic Department, the fundraiser brought in $7,500 and involved more than 50 plungers. These numbers reflect a big increase from the previous year — the funds raised more than triple the amount from last year and the number of plungers increased by 36.

Much of the attendance for this year’s event can be attributed to the addition of a Battle of the Bands segment, orchestrated by Liberty’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). PRSSA began organizing the event in October and with the help of all of the hard-working members and participating bands, brought in a large crowd of Liberty students and members of the community to the Special Olympics benefit.

Many of the people in attendance at Saturday’s event enjoyed the performances by bands — Eyes on Me!, Ripped Veil, Ivorywood, the Wright3, Adam Wise and the 3clectic.

At the announcement of the winning band, Ripped Veil, Liberty Athletics Director Jeff Barber, who raised the largest amount at just under $750, was recognized for his involvement in the fundraising success.

The festival came to a close with a splash when a mass of students and community members, some costumed, dove into the icy waters of Camp Hydeaway Lake. The costumes included characters like Superman and Quail Boy.

“Thank you to all the students and faculty at Liberty. By supporting this (event), you are supporting our Special Olympics Virginia athletes,” Walker said. “You are giving them the opportunity to show the world the amazing things that they are capable of. Thank you.”

Contact Elizabeth Ann Mayhew at

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