Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Knight Talk with Katherine Hackett '11 from MOVE's Penguin Plunge Team

Think jumping into Lake Champlain in the middle of February sounds fun? Didn't think so. But Katherine Hackett '11 has been doing the Penguin Plunge for four years and loves getting freezing cold for a good cause.

1. First of all, What is the Penguin Plunge?

A fundraiser where all the proceeds go to the Special Olympics of Vermont. People come from all over Vermont to raise money and then jump into Lake Champlain in the freezing cold Vermont weather every February. The proceeds help support amazing Special Olympics athlete all over the state fulfill their dreams.

2. How did you get involved?

It sounded fun, and since a lot of people we meet from our Best Buddies program are also VTSO (Vermont Special Olympics) athletes, I thought why not?! So my friends and I made a team. We had so much fun I decided to spear head it through the MOVE (Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts) office the following year to get a bigger presence at the plunge from our St. Mike's community.
3.How many students are usually involved?

Well, since I've been participating for the past four years it has gone from about 10 to close to 50 students! Right now, the SMC MOVE team is in 4th place for our amazing fundraising amount. That's AWESOME!
4.What is your favorite part of the event?

Being in the water is wild. It is ridiculously cold. I get so nervous right before we plunge but the feeling after is amazing. You feel so warm and so much adrenaline is pumping through your body and its all for a great cause.
5.What is most fun about the Plunge? Most rewarding?

Most rewarding for me would have to be that people who do Best Buddies through the MOVE program are also athletes. It's great to see the familiar faces that we're supporting. The first time I saw a few of them handing out towels, I really felt like I was doing something good. It was then that doing the plunge was more than putting on silly clothes and running into a lake in February. I was helping these people live their dreams through their various activities with Special Olympics.
6. How do you sign up? When is it?

You sign up online with firstgiving, and the Penguin Plunge is February 5th, next Saturday! and then contact me, for more directions and information!

7. What would you say to encourage other students to participate?

You will never do anything like this, it is SO. MUCH. FUN. Plus, it's an easy way to not only raise money for an inspiring group but also awareness. College is a time where you have a huge pool of friends and are in contact with a lot of people. When you do something crazy like the Penguin Plunge, people hear about it-and when more people hear about their friends supporting a good cause, they just might be inspired to join in too.

For more information about the Penguin Plunge please check out their website or contact Katherine :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Beginning of the End...

Welcome back everyone!

I'm happy to say after an extremely busy finals week, holiday season and break I'm so happy to be back to start my final semester here at St. Mike's!

Finals week went by so quickly and before I knew it I was helping my family plan for our Christmas eve party. I loved spending the holidays at home and it was so nice to see all of my family. Here's a picture of all the cousins at my house Christmas Eve :)

After Christmas, I packed up and headed to Washington DC for the swim team training trip. We usually have the luxury of training somewhere warmer than VT but this year we decided to train at the Georgetown University pool in Washington DC. The area of Georgetown was so cute, and although we did have to walk quite a ways to the pool, it was a nice change of scenery. AND I was able to visit the famous, most amazing place on EARTH... Georgetown Cupcakes, home of the TLC show, DC Cupcakes. Let me tell you that waiting in line for 30 minutes with a group of grumpy, hungry swimmers after practice was totally worth it for these cupcakes. Yes, they were that good.

I really enjoyed spending time with my 5 other senior swimmers. We've stuck it out for four years and it will be sad to see the season end in February. Here's a picture of the 5 of us senior girls and our lovable freshman friend, Maddie, in front of the Washington Monument. As a team, we also took a special tour of the capital and an extra special tour of VT Senator Leahy's office, an SMC Grad. We were so thankful for his office coordinating a tour for our team and it was such a cool experience. After D.C, I had a few days at home and then headed up to Vermont to train at school for about two weeks. We have a lot of swim meets coming up in the next few weeks and the team has been working so hard. I'm excited for the end of the season to come and see how every one's hard work has paid off at Championships. Coming back to the snow banks and trekking across the tundra that is the 300's field has been a lot to get used to. This weekend it was so nice to see familiar faces around campus and to reunite with my roommates and friends again.

Today marks the first day of classes for my 8th and final semester at Saint Michael's. Last semester was ridiculously busy, but I'm hoping to balance my activities a little more this semester and find some time for some last semester fun :). I'm taking my senior seminar for my English major, Global Communication, Digital Literacy (an awesome English class I'm really looking forward to), and I'm continuing my Social Media internship with the Marketing and Communication Department. I'll also hopefully be volunteering once a week at the Chittenden Valley Head Start pre-school program. This time last year, I'd be living the dream studying abroad in Galway. I miss Ireland so much and I'm counting down the days I can travel back there!

I'll be updating lots this semester with my upcoming job search (EEEK!), and all of my adventures. I'll also have some weekly interviews and event posts as well, so be sure to check back. Talk to you all soon!