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Feb. 9, 2009
The four top money-winners of this year's Colden Pond Plunge are scheduled to leap into the icy waters of the campus reservoir located just east of the White International Plaza at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27.
More than 30 Northwest students, faculty and staff have signed up to compete for the "privilege" of taking the plunge, an event that raises money for Up 'Til Dawn, a student-led charity effort in support of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
For the next several days, at a table set up outside the food court on the lower level of the J.W. Jones Student Union, members of the University community can donate money in the name of the person or persons they most want to see leap into the pond. Those at the top of the list get to unpack their swim suits about three months early.
Before last year's plunge, which took place following one of the worst winters in decades, a large square hole had to be cut in the ice, and the bottom of the pond was swept by public safety personnel wearing insulated, waterproof suits.
Rubber-suited first-responders also stood chest-deep in the pond during the plunge itself and assisted jumpers to the bank, where they were immediately wrapped in heavy blankets and given hot beverages to drink.
This year's medium-range forecast is predicting somewhat milder weather, but student Up 'Til Dawn Organizer Laura Palermo emphasized that the pond would be re-checked, and that all safety precautions would be in place before the plunge was allowed to proceed.
The 2008-'09 Up 'Til Dawn campaign is seeking to raise $115,000 before the end of the spring trimester, a goal that would boost the three-year total raised by Northwest students to $250,000. Last year's plunge brought in about $800 in donations.
Founded in 1998, Up 'til Dawn has grown into a nationwide philanthropy that takes place at more than 150 colleges and universities. The campaign consists of a variety of fundraising efforts held during the fall and spring and culminates with all-night celebrations by participating groups on each campus.
St. Jude, a major health care and research center for children founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, is widely known for treating youngsters with life-threatening diseases, especially cancer, without regard to their families' ability to pay.
Additional Up 'Up Til Dawn events scheduled this month include a Mardi Gras-themed Maryville Burger King Night from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24. During those hours, the restaurant, located at 1601 South Main, will donate a portion of the money paid for each meal to the St. Jude campaign.
Contestants signed up to compete for a spot on the Colden Pond Plunge jump list include:
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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