Officers from the UT Police Department plunged into cold water Friday in an effort to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as part of Phi Kappa Sigma’s first Dunk A Cop event.
The event originated at Virginia Commonwealth University, and its ability to engage the police departments with their local communities while also raising money helped it spread to other schools, according to Zach Garcia, Phi Kappa Sigma’s vice president of philanthropy and finance senior.
“[Our campus] has a huge population of 50,000. I think it’s always cool to see students engaged with the local police department in a different way than everything you hear through campus watch,” Garcia said. “This definitely brings a different realm and energy because it allows the student body to interact with the local police in a different environment.”
Officers were happy to participate in the event for the sake of battling cancer, Garcia said.
“Cancer is a terrible disease, and it impacts people in ways you can’t even imagine, so when [Garcia] reached out to me, I said, ‘Yeah, this is something we can get behind and help,” UTPD officer William Pieper said.
Besides helping raise money for the cause, Pieper said UTPD enjoys partnering with organizations on campus for different events.
“In addition to raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, it gives us an opportunity to get out into the public and let people see that we’re not just the law,” Pieper said. “We’re not just out there writing tickets and things of that nature. We’re concerned about community building.”
During the event, participants could buy two throws for $2, three for $5 and for $10, participants could get an automatic dunk for the officer in the tank. The fraternity raised $896 dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society during the event.
UTPD bike patrol officer Jason Rask signed up to sit in the dunk tank throughout the day, even though it was his day off.
“I’ve been up there twice already but probably been dunked at least 20 times,” Rask said. “It’s cold — especially when you get out because they filled it up with the hose pipes coming out of the building, and that’s really cold water.”
Rask said he enjoyed watching the students’ reactions.
“It’s just a good cause. … Cancer is a serious thing, so if we can raise money to help find cures, then I’ll donate my time any time I can,” Rask said. “[The best part has been] the interactions with all the students. I mean, they seem to like dunking us.”
Austin visitor Will Dorrance and his friends came across the event and decided to participate.
“We just happened to stroll across [the event], and I actually have a friend who has lymphoma, so as soon as I heard the cause, I knew I wanted to participate,” Dorrance said.
After he paid for unlimited throws, Dorrance said he appreciated the event because it made donating more accessible.
“Making it easy for others to help and donate is important, and I think a lot of times people want to get involved and donate money, so I think when you bring an event like this to the masses, you can really make that money for a good cause,” Dorrance said.