The University of New Haven athletic teams haven’t played many games this year, but the pandemic hasn’t canceled the Chargers’ efforts in the community. On an unseasonably warm Saturday in November, athletes took the plunge to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“It’s definitely awesome to see everyone come together and raise money for such a great cause,” said New Haven senior basketball player Brie Pergola.
The Chargers have been holding virtual fundraising events before the end of the semester.
“We wanted to conclude the week with something really fun so we chose a polar plunge,” said Sara Richwine, an advisor to the student-athlete activities advisory committee. “Not so polar today.”
Sixteen student-athletes, including one from each team, sprinted into the Long Island Sound.
“I know I’m the crazy one. I’ll literally do anything so I volunteered myself,” said junior Mackenzie Myers, a member of the women’s soccer team.
“I took a breath when it hit my chest, it was a little surprising how cold it was,” added senior soccer player Jack Almonte.
Minutes before their plunge, the school reached its $10,000 fundraising goal.
“I feel great that we connect with the community,” said Pergola.
“It’s a good thing to help and give back to some people who are less fortunate and just need some encouragement,” said senior basketball player Antonio Lopez.
It means even more to give back during such a difficult time.
“You know morale has just been down everywhere and this is a big morale booster,” said Richwine.
“I just feel it’s my responsibility to help everyone out and once you see that smile on the face afterward, it’s better than a million dollars,” said Almonte.
The university plans to use the money to grant the wish of a child from Connecticut next month.