Imagine standing on a dock—about to jump into freezing cold water—at seven in the morning. Then, imagine doing this everyday for a month.

Curators of the Instagram account Coldvember UCD don’t have to imagine because they know what it’s like. First-year Isaac Philips, second-year David Shanahan, and fourth-year Andrew Tutty teamed up together to raise money for Depaul, a charity whose mission is to end homeless and support people who are homeless. The Instagram account documents “a daily dip in the sea for the month of November to fundraise for Depaul,” and their efforts have raised over 1000 euro in just twelve days.

“We see homelessness as quite a big issue in Dublin and in Ireland, and it suits well that we get cold so that others don’t have to get cold,” Tutty said.

Tutty noted that UCD has one of the highest proportions of affluent students, but towns just a few kilometers away are some of the poorest in the area. They want to see the University become known for giving back, hence Coldvember UCD. 

Photo Credit: David Shanahan

The trio met through their church, and the main catalyst for this fundraiser was their Christian roots. They said they feel a duty to look out for those who are vulnerable in society and give to those who have less.

NUI Galway started a Coldvember page in 2018, which served as the inspiration behind this somewhat absurd idea. But this absurdity is what makes their fundraiser so successful. They’re proving those who doubted them wrong, impressing them with their commitment.

“It’s hard to do. It’s hard to get up early every morning, it’s hard to get in the cold,” Tutty said. “I think people really admire that it’s a challenge, so they give.”

They post Instagram when and where to meet for the morning dip, which is often around 7:15 am at Seapoint. For the first time, it takes a while to get the “mental fortitude” to jump in. However, as the month goes by, they noted that it has been easier getting up and getting in—and they get to see the beautiful sunrise. 

Their rule is that they must get their head wet, dunking themselves in the water for usually no more than 30 seconds. Some brave souls will linger in for a bit longer, while a few are shamed for not being able to get in. Tutty pointed out that most people are truly smiling in the photos, so there is something enjoyable about it. Their recent dip had 18 students participate, and they’re hoping to continue to expand the network throughout the month.

“We’re glad to do it too,” Tutty said. “It’s a joy to see all the money that has come in, and it’s a joy to know that that’s going to a really good place.”

Students can participate in Coldvember or donate by following coldvember_ucd on Instagram.


Shannon Fang – Reporter