Dalhousie students surge into Chocolate Lake (Image: Kelly Graham)

Dalhousie students Dare to get cold for a cause

Dal Students aren't afraid to take the plunge and go polar dipping for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.



For World AIDS Day, a small group of nine students, including a polar bear mascot, went for the dip at Chocolate Lake. This polar dip marks the third year of Dalhousie University's involvement with the Stephen Lewis Foundation's Dare Campaign.

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Site of the polar dip


"Dare to be cold. Dare to be uncomfortable. Dare to do something different."
- Leanna Winberg

Alex McPhedran, coordinator of Dalhousie's Dare Campaign, was eager to get started but admits she was cold before jumping in. She says she has a personal tie with the foundation.

"In Grade 7 I heard Stephen Lewis speak at a G7 event and that really got me thinking [about international aid and what I can do for the African AIDS movement]," McPhedran said on Thursday.

Many years later, she's still working on behalf of the foundation to raise AIDS awareness in her final year studying international development and political science.


Dare to polar dip

"It was awesome actually," Leanna Winberg, a student participant, says after running out of the cold water. The people who turned out in support of the polar dip gave her such an adrenaline rush, the water didn't seem as cold as she expected.

Winberg says the campaign pushes your personal limits. "Dare to be cold. Dare to be uncomfortable. Dare to do something different," she said.

Over the past three years, Winberg hasn't missed a Dare event. Nothing could prevent her from doing the polar dip, not even snow or hail. She was camping outside of Student Union Building in the snow in a tarp for last year's event.

Dares can be done as a group or individually. So far this year, a Dal professor and his father biked the "Road of Death" in Bolivia. Most recently, student Michael Wilson dared to bike 200 kms and raised $3,400.

McPhedran says more dares will follow in the new year. In January, a professor and 10 of his students will pierce their eyebrows.

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