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
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