College students, faculty, staff and Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick took a frigid fall into a specially constructed pool set up outside of the front doors of the main entrance.
"The cause is great, the spirit is great, but I can tell you, I'm scared," said Frederick with a laugh before taking the bitter-cold plunge. "I'm not looking forward to it, but it's for a good cause."
Thursday's icy plunge was a "warm-up" to Saturday's Polar Plunge, which is open to the public and also held at the Main Campus.
The Polar Plunge is co-hosted by St. Clair College, the Windsor Police Service and OPP. The event is presented in partnership with the non-profit group Ontario Law Enforcement Torch Run and is meant to raise awareness and much-needed funds to help support the hard-working athletes involved with Special Olympics Ontario. This year's goal is to raise $10,000.
Laurie Harrison, second-year St. Clair College Public Relations student, did the Polar Plunge in honour of her twin sister, Sheri Makulski, who was an athlete in the Special Olympics for 10 years.
"Sheri grew up with people teasing her all the time," said Harrison as she choked up. "So they live a hard life. The Polar Plunge was hard, but it's nothing in comparison."
The Special Olympics gives people like her sister acceptance, a place where they can go and feel accepted and proud, and a way to be celebrated for who they are, said Harrison.
Special Olympics Ontario provides individuals with an intellectual disability in communities across the province the opportunity to participate in sport and recreational activities. The organization helps children and adults develop physically, socially and emotionally.
Windsor-Essex has 120 athletes that compete in Special Olympics programs.
"The Polar Plunge was extremely hard, but well worth it for the cause and I'd recommend everyone do it," said Harrison.
Registration is open at www.polarplunge.ca. Pre-plunging briefing takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday, February 7, and the Polar Plunge begins at noon.