Out of the Darkness Walk raises suicide prevention awareness

Sisters Making A Change hosted their fourth annual Out of the Darkness Campus Walk on Sunday April 24. By organizing this walk, the sisters of SMAC aimed to raise money for the American Suicide Prevention Foundation and, most importantly, raise awareness for a very serious problem that takes the lives of over 42,000 Americans a year.

ASPF takes preventative measures—such as providing a 24/7 suicide hotline—to combat the prevalent issue. In addition, ASPF aims to further educate the public on suicide. Such educational resources are especially important on college campuses where suicide remains a particularly widespread problem.

SMAC sister junior Emily Flaherty said that these troubling statistics were the primary impetus behind the annual walk. “[Suicide prevention] has been SMAC’s philanthropy because it is a great cause,” she said. “Suicide is very relevant since it is one of the leading causes of death for college students.”

The event’s scheduling for the final day in Geneseo’s annual Greek Week also suggests its great importance. While the event was open to all members of the Geneseo community, national and local Greek organizations were mandated to participate with at least 20 percent of their membership.

Suicide awareness also holds a personal significance to the sisters of SMAC. They started organizing the event after one of their alumna was personally effected by suicide. “One of our sisters that’s long since graduated started the walk because of a personal connection to the cause,” SMAC president senior Jane Skinner said. “After doing it for a couple years, we developed a good relationship with the regional director for the ASPF, and we just kept doing it and adopted it as our cause.”

As SMAC president, Skinner feels that suicide awareness is a worthy cause, especially due to this personal connection. “We’re just trying to raise awareness for suicide, and I think we’ve raised over $4,000 this year, which is the most ever,” SMAC member junior Rebecca Semenetz said. “These funds were raised through separate donations that patrons made to the walkers who signed up. Walkers had a choice to join a team or make their own.”

At the end of the day, the walk had raised a reported sum of over $5,000, further surpassing the record they had reportedly set earlier in the day. 

The sisters of SMAC traditionally host a charitable event similar to the walk every semester. This past fall, SMAC hosted their annual Turkey Trot 5K to support the Mount Morris food pantry.

Evidentially, the Out of the Darkness Campus Walk was a success—raising both awareness and money to support a great cause.