Cold water versus charity
Web Blurb: Students and faculty are challenged to either jump into a cold body of water or donate $100 to charity. Many find the challenge as an excellent means of raising money for charity while others feel it is driven by negative peer pressure.
By Christian Herrera
KYLEE RENFREW: A new trend, known as the “Cold Water Challenge,” has taken Huntington University by storm. The challenge gained national popularity April on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. It was only a matter of time before HU students were posting videos of themselves jumping into cold water like the fountain at the quad, the fountain in front of the MCA, and even Lake Sno Tip. Reporter Christian Herrera has the story.
CHRISTIAN HERRERA: The cold water challenge is simple: either jump into a body of cold water or donate a hundred dollars to a charity of the challenger’s choice. Upon its fulfillment, the contestant then nominates three more friends, thus, continuing the chain of challenges. Students and faculty across campus have taken on the Cold Water Challenge in an effort to raise money for charity while having fun at the same time. Students like junior RA Ashish Dhingra, however, feels the challenge has failed to raise money for charity because many students opt to jump into cold water instead.
ASHISH DHINGRA: I think it’s pretty stupid… I’ve seen different variations of it, but most of them generally involve, like, either doing the cold water challenge or donating to charity, which I think is kind of sad to see that donating to charity is a worse option.
HERRERA: Dhingra feels this online trend to be juvenile.
DHINGRA: I think it’s a pretty immature thing to be doing… I wish people would think of what they post on Facebook and what they do more thoroughly… Honestly, I don’t think people think it through enough to actually realize the certain conations of what a post like that means.
HERRERA: Sophomore CMC Kody Hope felt that the challenge was driven by peer pressure and obligated candidates to participate. In a recent Facebook post, he said that “being forced to give to charity really defeats the purpose of charity.” To exemplify his point, Hope proposed his own challenge.
KODY HOPE: I would say I have a challenge out there for everyone. It’s the lead paint challenge. It’s where you take a gallon of paint or you name your first born Lucifer. People have thought that as satire, but I really want them to name their kid Lucifer or watch them die from drinking a gallon of lead paint.
HERRERA: Although at face value, the Cold Water Challenge seems innocent, Hope feels that there is a deeper, underlying issue.
HOPE: Honestly, it’s harmless. But, you know, it’s a step in the wrong direction, I think. I think that anytime negative peer pressure is used, it’s just not good.
HERRERA: On the other hand, Vince Haupert, vice president for advancement – whom I interviewed over the phone – feels the Cold Water Challenge utilizes positive peer pressure. Haupert himself was nominated by junior RA Zach Ziino on Facebook on April 23rd, to which Haupert replied, “Where should I send the check?”
VINCENT HAUPERT: It was peer pressure, and I felt obligated, and I think that’s great (INSERT? And I think that’s fantastic. Bring it on). That is a great use of positive peer pressure for a good cause… I would use positive peer pressure all day long if it benefits somebody else.
HERRERA: Haupert donated a hundred dollars to a student going a mission’s trip to Sierra Leone during the 2014-2015 school year. Although he decided to donate, he feels that the students opting to jump into cold water are not in the wrong.
HAUPERT: When I was a college student, I would have gotten into the water just for the sheer thrill of it and the thrill of posting it and I probably didn’t have a hundred bucks…We shouldn’t concern ourselves with what other people do and decisions they make. That’s their choice and it’s their business and we shouldn’t criticize other people if they do something that we don’t approve of.
HERRERA: Junior RA Tyler Burson and freshman Ryan Burson [no relation] agreed. Upon being challenged, both Tyler and Ryan opted to jump into water instead of donating to charity.
TYLER BURSON: I don’t have a $100 to give away. I need to support myself for the summer… I mean, I have a $100, but I’d rather keep it. If I have to donate it, I’ll donate it if I feel led – not out of obligation to their demands.
RYAN BURSON: I did it because I didn’t have $100. I think at the time, I didn’t even have ten dollars – or maybe any dollars at all. So, I did it to stay out of debt.
HERRERA: Tyler Burson said he could understand why many students felt the challenge was controversial, but assured that it was all in good fun.
TYLER BURSON: I felt obligated just because it was just a game – I just thought it was fun, I didn’t really care that much… I mean, you can take it as, like, controversy, and, like, this is stupid. But to me, it’s more like it’s just a game. And, like, if I’m going to donate to charity, I don’t want to have to feel obligated if I’m going to donate to charity. Like, if I wanna do it, like, it’s out of the goodness of my heart. Like, it’s just a game.
HERRERA: Not every student, however, took the water route because they didn’t have the funds. Freshman Luke Bates – who was nominated by a his friend back home – opted to jump into cold water because it’s what he believed his audience wanted to see.
LUKE BATES: I feel like if you donated, some people might be disappointed because they want to see you jump in the water and look like an idiot just like what they did. I enjoy watching people jump in water and freeze their butt off… It was an obligation to my friend because I’ve been friends with him since second grade…and it was all fun and games. So I had to respect it.
HERRERA: Although he acknowledges the overarching purpose for the Cold Water Challenge, Ryan Burson believes there is a flaw in the challenge.
RYAN BURSON: I think it at least started out as a good idea for a good cause. I watched a news report that said it raised a couple thousand dollars and that it was going strong. I don’t know, going around the college campus, I don’t think there is a whole lot of money being raised and a lot of people willing to jump in the water. So it started off well.
HERRERA: Jerry Gressley, director of maintenance, said the cold water challenge presented certain safety issues, especially in regards to students jumping into Lake Snowtip. Gresley said that he was concerned about student getting their clothes tangled in the spokes of bicylces thrown into the lake by college students every year. Besides potentially breaking something, students could drown.
Although there have been no recorded injuries on campus, national and local news organizations reported several cold-water-challenge related injuries which include broken ankles, knee caps, and, according to ABC News, in at least one recent case, the death of 16-year-old Minnesota teen, David Colley.
Although maintenance ultimate agreed that the Cold Water Challenge is meant for fun, they also agreed that often times, students were not taking into consideration the consequences of their actions.
This is Christian Herrera, reporting for the Huntingtonian.