Students and community take plunge

By Jenni Whalen


The 41-degree Lewisburg weather didn’t stop University students or Lewisburg residents as they plunged into the Susquehanna River last Saturday dressed in everything from bikinis to Halloween costumes. The Polar Bear Plunge, an annual event organized by the University’s Office of Civic Engagement, has been around for seven years. Every year, the number of participants grows. This year, Lynn Pierson, the Assistant Director for Community Service, estimates that about 300 individuals jumped into the icy water.
“This was the first time that I’ve ever plunged,” Nick Pistone ’13 said. “The water wasn’t actually that bad, but the rocks on the way into the water were the worst part. Someone in the crowd kept yelling, ‘Embrace the pain!’ so I just kept going and then my feet were numb on the way back and I couldn’t feel anything.”
The Plunge’s entrance fees help to raise money for the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership. This partnership is a non-profit organization founded to bring together the community in various ways by promoting economic vitality, architectural heritage and cultural vibrancy in the downtown commercial district of Lewisburg. The funds raised by the Polar Bear Plunge will help the community to put on other events similar to the Heart of Lewisburg Ice Festival.

Students and Lewisburg residents alike enjoy events like the Polar Bear Plunge because they bring together communities that are usually separated.

“I’m a returning plunger,” Jordan Sukys ’12 said. “My first experience was in the frozen winter of 2010. The event is not only incredible because it gets hundreds of people into a freezing river, but also because it provides an opportunity for Bucknell students and members of the local community to interact in a sociable, electric environment. The event seems to grow in popularity every year, and I hope that as it grows, relations between students and so-called ‘townies’ will improve as well.”

“I love the Polar Bear Plunge because it’s a really great way to bring the University and community closer. You really bond over losing the feeling in your feet!” Tory Cutting ’14 said.
If you haven’t checked the Polar Bear Plunge off of your list yet, make sure to jump on the frozen bandwagon next year.
“It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind experience,” Mike Pressl ’12 said. “I feel like everyone should try it before graduating.”
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