On February 25th, The annual Polar Bear Plunge at Seaside Heights challenged over thousands of jumpers across the state to dive into freezing waters to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics of New Jersey. On the Polar Bear Plunge website, they managed to exceed their $2,150,000 goal and as of now stands at over $2.6 million.
According to the Polar Bear Plunge’s website, for over 50 years it has provided free annual sports training, competition, leadership opportunities and health screenings to over thousands of athletes. This is thanks to many fundraising events like the Polar Bear Plunge at Seaside.
Special Olympics primary goal is to create a new world of inclusion and community by giving a platform for others to show their skills regardless of ability or disability. With over 4 million Athletes participating each year, their global movement only continues to expand with time.
Twelve of our Rutgers University Police Department officers joined in on the event as the Freezing Fuzz’s. With the support of their friends and family who traveled down, the Freezing Fuzz alongside over thousands of other plungers jumped into freezing jersey waters which reached roughly 43.5 degrees. Many people were dressed in costumes, furs, and special gear for the event. Shops and stands normally closed for the winter, opened as many showed up for the annual event.
The RUPD has been participating since 2017 every year. Currently Two officers of the RUPD have family members who would be considered for the Special Olympics. In an interview with both Officer Ronca and Officer Rodriguez,who participated in the event, commented on their experience with the event and what it has meant to them.
Officer Ronca says,” It is a good way for us to rally behind our officers and raise awareness[ for the Special Olympics].”
Officer Rodriguez mentioned some of her family members were diagnosed with Down syndrome including older brother Angel, who participated twenty years ago in the Special Olympics. He competed in track, gavelin, shot put, and special Olympics bowling. The Polar Plunge meant a great deal as she has always been active in donating and raising awareness for the cause. Rodriguez commented,”It means so much to participate in the polar plunge because I would like to say, I have an athlete in the family.” Since she could remember, her family was very supportive and active in his competitions.
If you are interested in participating in future events for the Polar Plunge, please visit their website for information on next year’s event:https://www.plungeseaside.org/event-information/.
In partnership with the FBI, the RUPD is hosting a Sextortion Seminar in the MPR room in the Campus Center on April 25th during free period. There will be refreshments and treats available for those interested in joining the presentation.