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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

Feb. 21, 2014

Colden Pond Plunge raises $2,400 for St. Jude hospital

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For more photos of the Colden Pond Plunge, click here.

Jena Sosnowchik, sporting a purple tutu and cape, jumps into Colden Pond Friday afternoon during Northwest's annual Colden Pond Plunge.

Above, Jena Sosnowchik, sporting a purple tutu and cape, jumps into Colden Pond Friday afternoon during Northwest's annual Colden Pond Plunge. Below, Caleb Watson swims from reacts after jumping into the pond. The event raised more than $2,400 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and pediatric cancer research. (Photos by Darren Whitley/Northwest Missouri State University)

Caleb Watson swims from reacts after jumping into the pond.

Five Northwest Missouri State University students brushed aside winter’s hold on the campus Friday afternoon and jumped into Colden Pond during Up ‘til Dawn’s annual event to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Students raised more than $2,400 for St. Jude during this year’s campaign to benefit pediatric cancer research. Jena Sosnowchik, a senior elementary major from Omaha, was the leading fundraiser, drawing $415.05 in donations.

“I definitely was hoping I would at least get to jump in, but I didn’t think I was going to be the top person by far,” Sosnowchik said as she tried to warm herself in a blanket after the jump.”I’m very excited about it, and I’m very grateful to everyone who donated for me.”

Sosnowchik joined Zach Corbett, a senior business management and marketing major from Omaha, Neb.; Courtney Clemens, a senior fashion merchandising major from Kansas City; Emily Barnes, a senior majoring in elementary education and special education from Papillion, Neb.; and Caleb Watson, a senior elementary education major from Cameron; as the lucky five students who raised the most donations for the right to jump into the campus pond.

Prior to Friday’s event, a University crew cut a large square opening in the pond for the students to jump into. Then, with a sunny sky and the temperature in the low 40s, each participant walked a series of wood planks on the iced-over pond and proceeded to jump. A contingent of St. Jude members were waiting on dry land to cover each jumper with blankets when they climbed from the water. 

“It wasn’t that bad,” Watson said after jumping. “It’s a lot warmer outside of the water than in it, but it was such a great experience to do this for St. Jude.”

Barnes added, “When you first get in the water, you don’t think you’re going to be able to get out so you kind of start to panic. But it was for a good cause, and it was good fun.”

As is a customary part of the event, each of the jumpers sported a unique outfit and struck a pose as they entered the water. Sosnowchik, who also wore a purple cape and tutu, said one of her instructors gave her the idea for the outfit but she doesn’t recommend it for future plungers.

“Do not wear a tutu and do not wear a cape because when you try to swim it totally drags you back,” she said.

The plunge again drew a large crowd of spectators who clicked pictures and captured videos from the bank of the pond. Campus radio station KZLX broadcast live from the pond’s pavilion area and members of the University Police Department served up free hot chocolate.  

The Colden Pond Plunge campaign, which began in January, invited the Northwest community to donate funds toward any one of 17 students who volunteered to participate.

The Colden Pond Plunge is one of several events organized throughout the academic year by Up ‘Til Dawn to raise funds 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.

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, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

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