Missouri Western’s Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority took a different approach in supporting their national philanthropy this year.
The ASAs took to the Kansas City area to dive into the freezing cold water. Hayley Tiller, philanthropy chair, said that, while about 35 of the sorority sisters attended, only eight plunged due to a misunderstanding with the event organizer.
“In order to plunge you have to raise $50, and it was a miscommunication that we did not find out until we actually got there,” Tiller said.
According to the Special Olympics Missouri website, the minimum donation for a plunger is $75, which includes a trip into the lake and a T-shirt.
Unfortunately, the sorority’s participation at the Lake Contrary plunge last year was marred by miscommunication as well. Frankie Maas, this year’s plunge intern, attempted to work with the sorority on fundraising efforts this time around.
“Last year, they brought $75 for their entire team and still plunged,” Maas said. “They didn’t help us with anything. Not the Polar Bear Strut. Nothing.”
The Polar Bear Strut was a new event created this year and was hosted on Western’s campus. Maas was one of two interns from Western this year. Each intern had a fundraising goal of $6,000, but neither reached that goal. Despite the fact that there was no intern from Northwest this year, the school still managed to raise more money than Western.
“It was all Maryville, Northwest, at the Polar Bear Plunge,” Maas said. “It’s disappointing. I just wish that they [Greek Life] would be more enthusiastic about charities around St. Jo.”
The website also tracks organizational fundraising, including team goals and money raised. After the plunge events, the website reported that Northwest’s ASA chapter raised $2,210, while Western’s chapter raised $540.
“I’m glad that they did something for the Polar Bear Plunge, even though it wasn’t in St. Jo, but I wish it would have been to benefit me and our university,” Maas said.
This year, Western’s ASA chapter set a personal fundraising goal of $300 on their fundraising webpage — $200 lower than their goal last year, which they did not meet at the time.
Brooke Bell, the chapter’s advisor, and Shelby DeMott, ASA’s 2013 philanthropy chair, both confirmed that ASA fell $100 shy of their goal last year. However, Bell confirmed that 15 to 20 girls plunged. At this year’s event, those that didn’t raise any funds did not take the dip.
“All our girls, it’s mandatory for them to go… All of our girls go, they just don’t all plunge,” Bell said. “They can just be in the audience and cheer on from the banks.”
Despite not meeting their fundraising goal last year, DeMott said the organization had fun.
“We always really enjoy doing it. I mean, we won the costume contest last year,” DeMott said. “We just always have a really good time doing it, and that’s why we keep doing it every year, and it’s for a really good cause.”
When it comes to raising money, attendance tends to be mandatory in order to reach goals. Unfortunately, that’s where Western’s Greek Life took a wrong turn in the eyes of the event’s student organizer.
“It would have helped if any of the Greek Life participated,” Maas said. “I’m not saying I reached out to them like crazy. I probably could have done a little bit more, but there was not one Greek or college organization at the plunge or the Polar Bear Strut.”
Tiller expressed the importance of helping those in need.
“As an organization it not only represents how involved and how important it is to acknowledge those who aren’t as fortunate as us and how important they are and how much different they aren’t,” Tiller said. “They deserve the same respect as we, you know not ‘normal’ people I guess, and how good it looks for Missouri Western as a college.”