St. Mary’s College of Maryland students, staff, and faculty took part in the college’s annual Polar Bear Plunge on Friday afternoon. With a cheering crowd present, participants charged into the water of the St. Mary’s River on a 26° day in an effort to raise awareness about climate change.
The Polar Bear Plunge is sponsored by the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), whose members handed out health waivers to participants before the event and brewed cups of hot chocolate for chilly plungers. Other members grilled meatless burgers and hotdogs.
“This is by far the coldest polar bear plunge,” said senior and SEAC member Ashok Chandwaney. Chandwaney said he participates in the annual Polar Bear Plunge to join people who care about global warming and the effects of climate change. After plunging into the freezing river, junior and SEAC member Megan Rigby reiterated the importance of the event. “The novelty of global warming has worn off and it is important to keep it at the forefront,” she said.
Sophomore and SEAC President Allison Pendrak linked the event to a local cause. “[We want to] let people know about what is going on currently in our region that is directly affected by climate change such as the Cove Point project,” she stated.
In addition to the plunge, SEAC created a photo petition, a collage of plunge participants holding signs, for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) to forward to key decision makers in environmental justice.