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b2ap3_thumbnail_imagerrrr.jpgWaynesburg University’s Criminal Justice Club participated in the Pittsburgh Polar Bear Plunge at Heinz Field Saturday, Dec. 6, to raise money for Special Olympics. 

Approximately 20 students joined Waynesburg University instructor of criminal justice James Tanda in the plunge. The Criminal Justice Club raised more than $1,500 leading up to the event. This was the second year that the club participated. In two years, the club has raised more than $2,500. 

The Pittsburgh Polar Bear Plunge Weekend is Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s largest fundraiser, grossing more than 1 million dollars during the first four years. Individuals and teams, alongside Special Olympics athletes, take the plunge into the Ohio River on Pittsburgh’s North Shore. 

Student representatives from freshmen to seniors gave up their Saturday to join more than 1,800 other plungers in the freezing rain for the cause. This year, the air temperature was 39 degrees and the water temperature was 38 degrees at the time of the plunge.

“Our goal was to follow the University's mission of service to this very needy cause while also connecting our criminal justice and forensic science students to a network of law enforcement, attorneys, federal agencies and others in the profession,” said Tanda.   “This year's donation will be used to help further the mission of Special Olympics Pennsylvania and help support the more than 20,000 athletes served in the commonwealth.”

According to Tanda, half of the money raised by Waynesburg’s Criminal Justice Club will go directly to Greene County's Special Olympics program, which Waynesburg's Criminal Justice Club resurrected last year.

Tanda has plunged every year since the event’s inception - both as an agent with his former federal agency - and now leading Waynesburg's involvement in the service project.

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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CSI Camp Students in HAZMAT suits

Hello All!

I'm back! So as I promised in my last blog entry, here's an update for the past day or so.

On Wednesday, the campers started off their day with a little burial excavation - dirt, sunshine, skeletons, and shovels (What more do you need?!) After being taken through the steps of how to excavate a burial site, the students were split into teams, and allowed to uncover their own sites, figuring out what happened to the body in the ground (insert second disclaimer here - no real bodies were used!)

After the excavation, the campers were given some free time while we had a cookout. They played some games and enjoyed the amazing weather that we have had this week.

It was after the fun and sun that the real work began though, as the students had to put on their HAZMAT suits (also known as hazardous materials suits - picture giant ghostbuster looking outfits, minus the air tanks and fancy equipment) and begin processing arson scenes. The students were required to use everything that they learned from the ATF and the Pennsylvania State Trooper/Fire Marshal that they talked to earlier this week. The campers really seemed to enjoy that, and having taken a class this past semester on responding to biological and chemical weapons, I could definitely relate to them - for class, we had to wear the suits, and while they were super hot inside, it was pretty awesome to walk around in crime scenes covered head to toe in the suits. Plus they look pretty ridiculous in a totally awesome way.

On Thursday we spent most of the day at the FBI CJIS Division in Clarksburg, WV. Without giving everything away, we were able to tour some of the facility, speak with FBI profilers, learn about biometrics (and seeing where exactly your fingerprints go when you get entered into the system ), watch the bomb squad dogs sniff out explosives, and learn about some of the hardships that officers face in the line of duty. We even got to go to the gift store too and stock up on our FBI souvenirs - parents, if you are lucky, maybe your camper brought you something back!

CSI Camp arson scene processing

Last, but certainly not least, we spent the past 2 hours listening to Dr. Cyril Wecht, a world reknowned forensic pathologist. Dr. Wecht has completed over 18,000 autopsies, and has consulted on major cases.

I would just like to take a minute to thank our presenters! We are so fortunate to have professionals from such diverse backgrounds and fields represented at CSI camp.

Stay tuned for more!

-Caiti

Caiti Fillipi is a student blogger and the Waynesburg University CSI Camp coordinator. She is a junior in Forensic Science.


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