Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013
Rallying for the fight against cancer, members of the HWS community recently splashed into the frigid waters of Seneca Lake in support of the Colleges' Fifth Annual Penguin Plunge.
Held at the shores of Seneca Lake State Park, many dozens of participants took the plunge this year, raising more than $750 for Embrace Your Sisters, a breast cancer services and assistance organization based in Ontario County that provides emergency funding to those facing breast cancer. The Penguin Plunge is facilitated by Hope House.
"There's just something magical about this campus - our level of empathy for those affected by breast cancer is extraordinary," says Erica Randazzo '15, who helped organize this year's event with her roommates from Hope House. "We may never meet those supported by Embrace Your Sisters, but we are changing their lives."
From teams and clubs to faculty and staff, participants from all over campus annually warm up the frigid lakeshore setting with great enthusiasm and bright costumes - and even several participants dressed up as penguins. The William Smith junior varsity soccer team, the Laurel Society, and Colleges Against Cancer all offered their help in organizing the recent plunge.
"This year was a great success and a lot of fun," Randazzo says. "Lots of time, patience and coordination went into the Penguin Plunge and I'm so happy that it ran so smoothly. The Hope House is already looking forward to next year's event and hopes everyone pencils it in their 2014 calendar for early December."
Randazzo says for her and her fellow volunteers, their involvement with the event was simply heartwarming.
As part of the fundraising efforts, each Penguin Plunge participant typically donates $5 to Embrace Your Sisters. Those who do not wish to jump can sponsor someone else on their behalf.
This year, there were five "celebrity jumpers" from HWS who braved the cold weather alongside the other event participants. They were: Director of Sports and Recreation Russ Hess, Lisa Gibson of SAGA, Finger Lakes Institute Community Outreach Coordinator Sarah Meyer, Sustainability Manager Adam Maurer, and Associate Professor of Dance Cadence Whittier.
Katie Flowers, director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, says that the event has become an important, annual service-oriented event for the HWS community.
"The Penguin Plunge is one of many examples of the creative and engaging responses that students develop as a way to generate resources for important causes both locally and beyond," Flowers says.
For information about Embrace Your Sisters, visit: http://embraceyoursisters.org/