Fourth Annual Polar Plunge a huge success | News from CoB | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Fourth Annual Polar Plunge a huge success

February 27, 2014, Emily Morgan


Dressed in a full penguin costume, Dr. Cheryl Burke Jarvis prepares to take the plunge into the chilly waters of Campus Lake.

There were 232 brave people who took the chilling plunge into the 36-degree waters of Campus Lake for the fourth annual Polar Plunge on Saturday, February 22.  The event, sponsored by the American Marketing Association (AMA), was held to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

This year, more than $55,600 was raised for the cause, bringing the four-year running total to over $150,000.  All proceeds will allow athletes with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to participate in year-round sports training and competitions.  

Among the “plungers” was a familiar face from the College of Business, Dr. Cheryl Burke Jarvis, Marketing Department Chair and AMA Faculty Advisor.  She said, “When they first started this event four years ago, the AMA students wanted me to plunge with them, since I’m the faculty advisor.  I decided to challenge them, and told them I’d only plunge if they ever managed to raise $40,000 in one year. Honestly, I thought I was safe – I never thought they’d do that!” 

Last year, in their third year, they managed to raise $41,000, so she had to keep her promise and go in.  “I learned to never underestimate what SIU students can do when they put their minds and energy to work!  I decided if I was going to do it, I was going to go all out with the full costume, and raising as much money as possible,” said Jarvis.  She was the individual with the highest total fundraising, with a total of $2,750, thanks to her generous colleagues, friends and family.  

It was estimated that over 1,000 people were in attendance to watch the plunge.  To keep the crowd entertained, the band #Pop played while Pepsi MidAmerica distributed free soda and water and Jimmy John’s provided sandwich samples. There was also a post-plunge party held at the Rec Center, with free pizza from Primo’s Pizza and various door prizes donated by local businesses.

Since its introduction to SIU’s campus in 2011, the Polar Plunge has become a collaborative effort between the campus and local community members.  For more information on how to become a part of Polar Plunge, please visit