Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Students jump in slough for Camp Kesem

Augustana students have been jumping in the campus slough the past couple weeks for Camp Kesem.
Students have been jumping in cold water in an act dubbed a “polar plunge,” raising $5 per person who jumps in.
Before each person jumps, he or she nominates three people, who have 48 hours to jump in a cold body of water. Most students have donated $5 to Camp Kesem for each person who takes the polar plunge.
The idea for a slough polar plunge was started by sophomore Alex Haifa. Camp Kesem Co-Director and junior Jessica Launius said Haifa decided to jump in the slough for Camp Kesem, nominated people and “it snowballed from there.”
Launius and Camp Kesem Co-Director Kelsey Wrightwood jumped in the slough for Camp Kesem with eight other people, raising $50 on their jump alone.
“There are a bunch of people now doing it for Viking Pups and other organizations on campus, which is really cool that other organizations are getting in on this as well,” said Launius.
People across the country have been participating in different types of polar plunges the past few months, including the Special Olympics Polar Plunge.
Augustana students, including members of Delta Chi Theta and Alpha Sigma Xi, jumped in 35 degree water during the Polar Plunge Quad Cities for the Illinois Special Olympics March 23. Almost 200 people raised $36,000.
According to the Illinois Special Olympics website, 7,300 people have raised more than $2 million this year.
Launius and Wrightwood said they have seen some of the money from the polar plunges on campus but not all of it.
As co-directors, Launius and Wrightwood oversee the Camp Kesem executive board and help plan the annual week-long summer camp for children whose parents have or had cancer.
Camp Kesem has raised close to $35,000 so far this year and hopes to raise another $15,000.
The organization is hosting two large events this weekend to continue to raise money.
Wrightwood said Camp Kesem is hosting an Erickson beach party on the upper quad Friday with a barbecue, slip ‘n’ slide and a bags tournament, followed by the organization’s biggest event of the year, Make the Magic, at the Botanical Center on Saturday.
“All second-year Camp Kesems and older put on a Make the Magic, which most of them are, a gala fundraiser evening,” said Launius. “This year, we’re doing a dinner as well as a silent auction.”
Launius and Wrightwood agree that the most important part of Camp Kesem is helping those affected by cancer.
“Really it’s just been about wanting to give back to the community that I’ve been so fortunate to be apart of,” said Launius.
To donate to Camp Kesem, money can be put in the mailbox on campus or can be donated online at here or here.

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Students jump in slough for Camp Kesem