Make a Splash at the Highlander Polar Plunge

Dive into a great cause with the 2012 Highlander Polar Plunge, returning Saturday to Radford's Bisset Park as part of Radford University's 2012 Winter Homecoming celebration this weekend. Proceeds from the third annual plunge will benefit the Special Olympics of the New River Valley.

With the cool theme of "Seize the Freeze," this year's Highlander Polar Plunge is sponsored by the university, the Radford City Police Department and CiCi's Pizza. Homecoming weekend will also feature the HOOPla BBQ Bash, alumni teaching day, men's and women's basketball games and, for the first time, the Young Alumni Reunion for the Classes of 2001–11.

Josh Walker, director of development for Special Olympics Virginia, said the Highlander Polar Plunge "has become a huge fundraiser for our Special Olympics athletes. Not only does the plunge provide valuable resources for the local Special Olympics athletes, but it is the fastest growing Special Olympics fundraiser in Southwest Virginia."

2011 Polar Plunge

Participants in the 2011 Polar Plunge.

Fundraising efforts from last year's frigid plunge into the New River drew hundreds of participants and raised more than $17,000, more than tripling the amount raised the previous year. Walker said the goal for this year's plunge is to "break the $20,000 mark."

Participants—individuals and teams—will gather at Dudley's Landing in Bisset Park at 10 a.m. Saturday. Each plunger is asked to raise at least $30. Plungers who raise more than $30 become eligible for prizes. Prize packages will be given to the top individual fundraiser, the top fundraising team and the participant with the best costume. Student plungers also have the chance to "Plunge Your Prof!" by committing to raising $500, either individually or as a team, and asking a teacher, professor, coach or administrator to join them in their plunge and help reach their goal.

"I'd like to thank Radford University and the Radford community for embracing our Special Olympics athletes through this plunge. From the police department to churches and schools to the university itself, this has been a total community effort," Walker said. "We want everyone to realize that by jumping into the cold waters of the New River, they are not merely doing something crazy, they are helping to build a bigger, better community for our athletes."

For more information about participation, volunteer opportunities or sponsorships, email Walker at or contact organizers at (540) 951-2918. You can also register online through First Giving or On-site registration will be available the day of the event from 10 to 11 a.m. The actual plunge is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

For more information about local Special Olympics programs, visit

Feb 20, 2012
Keith Hagarty
(540) 831-7749