Phi Sigma Kappa had their second annual Polar Plunge Feb. 20, on the West Quad near the Student Activity Center.

The brothers of Phi Sigma Kappa set up an above-ground pool, filled it with water and invited students to jump in to support the Special Olympics, which is their national philanthropy.

The annual polar plunge is an event put on by different Phi Sigma Kappa chapters across the nation.

The UNC Charlotte Phi Sigma Kappa chapter was the first chapter to start an annual polar plunge in Charlotte.

Following a less than satisfactory turnout at last year’s polar plunge, the philanthropy committe was determined to make this year’s event better.

“Last years turnout wasn’t as much as we had hoped it would be so we made sure to try and change that this year and we really did, we really brought it around,” said philanthropy committe member Coleman Teofilak.

The philanthropy committe removed the $5 admission fee that they had last year and relied soley on donations.

The warmer weather did not keep students from participating and, infact, encouraged more people to jump in the pool and support Phi Sigma Kappa.

Participants jump into the pool. Photo by Erin Cortez.
Participants jump into the pool. Photo by Erin Cortez.

“We got a lot of people who probably wouldn’t of jumped in had it been colder out. They were more inclined to jump in just because it was warmer out,” said Philanthropy Chair Austin Renzi.

Despite the success of this year’s polar plunge, Renzi is already looking to the future with some possible changes.

Renzi is looking to find a more permenant location for the polar plunge. It was held in the West Quad this year and in the front fields by SoVi the year before that. Renzi also wants to get more people to jump in next year.

“We had a lot of brothers jump in and a good amount of participants as well, but I do want to see more participants jump in,” said Renzi.

Phi Sigma Kappa’s goal was to raise $2,500, which is the total expense of sending a single athlete to the Special Olympics. Every chapter across the nation shares this goal. While they did not reach that goal, they did raise rougly $1, 500.

Last year, the polar plunge raised only $300.

“I’m beyond satisfied,” said Teofilak. “We used a lot of capital on buying the pool and building the stairs; we just hoped that we raised more than last year.”

Different fraternities and sororities were also invited to participate in the plunge. They were also given donations insentive, which only Sigma Kappa met.

Renzi hopes that UNC Charlotte students will continue to support the polar plunge and the Special Olympics for many years to come.

“I should be dead by the time it comes close to being canceled,” said Renzi.

They received several food and drink donations from Jamba Juice, Food Lion, Papa John’s, Zaxby’s and others.

“From what I could gather, I think it far surpassed my goals, my expectations, everything,” said Renzi.

Renzi estimated that roughly 30-50 people jumped in the pool to support the Special Olympics.

Nick Cropper is the News Editor for the Niner Times. Currently, he is a senior pursuing a major in PR and a minor in journalism. Although he has lived in Charlotte for close to four years now, he is originally from Maryland. Contact him at for questions or if you want to pitch a potential story.