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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

Northwest student Tassi Cook, wearing a zebra-pattered unitard, leaps into Colden Pond Friday as part of Up 'til Dawn's annual Colden Pond Plunge to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. This year's even drew a school record of more than $3,000 in donations. (Photos by Darren Whitley/University Relations)

Northwest student Tassi Cook, wearing a zebra-pattered unitard, leaps into Colden Pond Friday as part of Up 'til Dawn's annual Colden Pond Plunge to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. This year's event drew a school record of more than $3,000 in donations. (Photos by Darren Whitley/University Relations)

March 1, 2013

Students take turns jumping in Colden Pond for record-setting event

Kate Bridges

Kate Bridges

Makenzie Kroenke

Makenzie Kroenke

Five Northwest Missouri State University students can cross one more thing from their Bearcat Bucket Lists after they jumped into Colden Pond Friday during Up ‘til Dawn’s annual event to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“That was the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done in my entire life!” said Kate Bridges, who was this year’s top fundraiser, drawing $1,412.93 in donations.

Added Johnny Belfonte, “The coldest three seconds of my life.”

And Lauren Hansen said, “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.”

Bridges, Belfonte and Hansen, along with Makenzie Kroenke and Tassi Cook were the lucky five who raised the highest totals for the right to jump in the campus pond. With temperatures in the 30s and snowflakes falling lightly, a large crowd lined the edges of the pond and counted down to each jump. The participants jumped in a rapid succession, and, in just over five minutes, it was over.

Bridges, a senior public relations major who represented the Up 'til Dawn Executive Board with her jump, said she had hoped since coming to Northwest that she might one day have the chance to jump into Colden Pond.

“This has always been one of my favorite events ever since I was a freshman, and I was so excited to have the opportunity to personally raise money for such a great cause,” she said.

Belfonte, a senior accounting major who represented Phi Sigma Kappa, raised $500.07, and Kroenke, a junior social science education major representing Sigma Sigma Sigma, raised $272.24.

Hansen, a senior business management and marketing major representing Sigma Kappa, raised $176.26. Cook, a junior interactive digital media-new media major representing Alpha Sigma Alpha, raised $153.20.

This year’s campaign, which invited the Northwest community to donate funds toward any one of 18 candidates to take the plunge, raised more than $3,000 – a record in the event’s history.

“It’s a popular event because the students take part in it and it involves students we know,” Up ‘til Dawn Executive Board Member Kyle Ryals said. “We make it competitive, you raise the most money and you get to jump. Because it’s competitive, we have fraternity brothers, sorority sisters, on campus leaders – they all want to jump and they raise the money to do so.”

The Colden Pond Plunge is just one of the spring events organized by Up ‘Til Dawn for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Since opening in 1962, research at St. Jude has increased the pediatric cancer survivor rate from 20 percent to 80 percent. The hospital costs nearly $1.8 million a day to operate and runs strictly off donations. Every child admitted into the hospital is treated, regardless of their inability to pay.

“Any money that we can raise here helps us pay for the treatment they need and trying to find that cure to help make them better and live longer,” Ryals said.

For more information about the Northwest Up ‘til Dawn campaign, email utd@nwmissouri.edu. To learn about other ways to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, visit http://www.myuptildawn.org/.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468