On Feb. 28, St. Mary’s students helped spread global climate change awareness by plunging into this year’s Polar Bear Splash at the James P. Muldoon River Center.
The fifth annual Polar Bear Splash, hosted by the St. Mary’s Enviornmental Action Coalition (SEAC), raised funds for charities while letting the participants show appreciation for the environment. Students raced into the freezing temperatures of St. Mary’s River as their friends looked on and cheered in support. While there seemed to be fewer participants than previous years, the event still had the same effect.
“I’m very passionate about the environment and I’ve done it every year.” Said junior Kat Eisenberg, a member of SEAC. Other students expressed similar feelings about the Polar Bear Splash. Junior Alyssa DiGiovanni smiled and shivered as she recovered from the Splash effects. “It was absolutely freezing and sort of painful, but it’s a great way to spread awareness about the environment. It was my third year doing it,” DiGiovanni said.
The Polar Bear Splash, which is an event that his been held at different places around the world since the early 1900s, has been a tradition at St. Mary’s since 2007. It has been an enjoyable event for students ever since. To minimize the injuries that have been seen in the past, students are asked to wear their shoes. While this year’s temperature was warmer than past years, that didn’t change the cold water or how cold participants were as they bundled up in their towels and drank hot chocolate.
“It was freezing and I couldn’t breathe when I got into the water,” said sophomore Leah Shenfeld. It was Shenfeld’s first Polar Bear Splash but she exclaimed that it wouldn’t be her last. “If we feel this way in freezing waters I can’t imagine how Polar Bears feel in the heat. I’m definitely going to do it again,” said Shenfeld.
While the majority of students left the Riverfront dripping and soaked, a few participants stuck around for more rounds of splashing into the river after the event.