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CCU Atheneum: Orientation student leaders are having way too much fun dumping a bucket of cold water on Debbie Conner, vice president for student affairs, during the Coastal Coldwater Challenge.
Orientation student leaders are having way too much fun dumping a bucket of cold water on Debbie Conner, vice president for student affairs, during the Coastal Coldwater Challenge.

CCU philanthropy issues Coldwater Challenge

by Mona Prufer
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Diane Fabiano started the whole thing on June 5, standing on the Wall Bridge at Coastal Carolina University, trying not to gasp as Chauncey poured a bucket of ice-cubed water over her head. It was the beginning of CCU’s Coldwater Challenge, a tweaking of the polar plunge when people jump into frigid winter waters to raise money for charity.

Fabiano, director of annual giving, initiated the challenge to increase awareness of the CCU Faculty/Staff Campaign in an effort to get 100 percent participation from each of the university’s offices and departments.

Here’s how it goes: the challenged person gets cold water dumped on them, promises to donate $10 to the CCU fund of his/her choice, then “calls out” five more people. Those five folks either accept, pay their $10 and get wet and cold (which is not so tough on a sweltering summer day), or, should they choose to “stay warm and dry” like Marjorie Thompson, they pay $100 to the charity of the challenger’s choice.

The whole episode was video filmed, often by social media coordinator Brent Reser, and posted online, usually on CCU’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

After the beginning posts and videos, the results became decidedly more creative and zany, from Rob Wyeth’s spoof of “the World’s Most Interesting Man” (#brrrr) to theater professor Robin Russell getting doused with three buckets of cold water. And then there was April Sager’s CHANT411 students who soaked her with fire hoses in the middle of Blanton Park – and then a bucket of cold water, all with the “Frozen” theme song playing in the background. Board of trustees members Wyatt Henderson and Gene Spivey took the challenge, not with buckets poured over their heads but in a direct, full frontal soaking. And Martha Hunn’s umbrella did not save her from a decisive, sideways splash.

The Challenge did what Fabiano had hoped – “It created awareness that faculty/staff giving exists! There were some faculty/staff members who donated for the first time because of the CCU Coldwater Challenge.”

It was impossible to track the contributions since people donated in various ways, but Fabiano says more than $1,500 was raised, including at least $1,000 from 10 employees who chose to give more rather than be drenched and filmed. More than 36 people went the $10-and-get-wet route, but it was impossible to keep up with all the accepted challenges that mushroomed from the original event.

“It helped raise awareness (of giving), and some said it was nice to see their colleagues ‘let loose’ a little and have fun,” says Fabiano. “I don’t know what it is about seeing people get water dumped on them, but it is funny every time!”

 

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