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St. Bonaventure University Polar Plunge team freezes for a reason 


The St. Bonaventure University Polar Crew team warm up after taking a chilly plunge into Lake Erie to raise funds for the Special Olympics.

ST. BONAVENTURE — The St. Bonaventure University Polar Crew team braved the elements Saturday, Dec. 4, to rally the forces for another year to plunge into Lake Erie for Special Olympics New York. 

Kristin Reynolds, now a graduate student pursuing an MBA in professional accountancy, gathered the university Polar Crew of four for her fifth year as the team captain. Reynolds was joined by Charlie Randall, a first-year plunger and a senior pursuing a major in marketing and a minor in history. It was Luke Gobel’s second time jumping into Lake Erie during the winter. He graduated from Bona’s in 2020 with his bachelor’s degree in political science. The fourth member of the team was Mark Vaccaro, who graduated last May from Bona’s with his MBA in professional accountancy. It was his third time to brave the chill.

This year’s Polar Plunge was held at Woodlawn Beach State Park in Buffalo.

Between the Polar Plunge and the SBU Polar Spray in September, the SBU Polar Crew raised $2,135 and will be able to sponsor three local athletes for an entire year. St. Bonaventure came in second for the most polar funds raised for Special Olympics by colleges and universities in Western New York.

This year marks the 15th annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics in Buffalo, which sees sponsored participants diving into the icy Lake Erie. Special Olympics New York provides inclusive opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities, who compete in Olympic-style, coached sports. Special Olympics encourages these athletes to stay active for life, and to achieve goals at local and international contests.