At Gustavus, there are many opportunities to raise awareness about various issues and help take action to improve them. Next week, the Tau Mu Tau sorority (TMs) will do just that with Suicide Awareness Week.
“Suicide affects so many people, but most of the time you would never know whether someone is contemplating suicide, or whether someone is dealing with the loss of someone who has committed suicide or knows someone who is suicidal,” said Junior Health Fitness Major and Member of the TMs Laurel Urquhart.
Suicide Awareness Week is a very personal issue for the women in the sorority, and they are very passionate about making the campus aware of suicides’ prevalence and effects.
“We chose to keep it as our philanthropy because it has affected some of our past alumni and is a very powerful and deserving topic that needs to be addressed,” said Junior Elementary Education Major and Member of the TMs Holly Wermerskirchen.
Throughout the week, many events will be held on campus to give Gusties an opportunity to take action to prevent suicide. Students will be able to purchase carnations to send to friends to let them know someone is thinking of them and that they are appreciated.
The TMs will also table all week while handing out bracelets, yellow ribbons and pamphlets in support of their cause. A candlelight vigil will be held on Wednesday, May 6 from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on the Eckman Mall. Students can come together as a group to honor victims of suicide and help generate hope to put an end to it.
“We are looking for any stories that Gusties are willing to share—anonymously—to help stop the suffering of millions of people,” said Wermerskirchen.
These stories can be submitted to Kelley Bower through the campus mail and will be shared out loud at the vigil for others to hear. The final event of the week is the benefit dinner and silent auction. All proceeds of the benefit will go to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (S.A.V.E.) and Yellow Ribbon, two foundations that aim to prevent suicide.
“We have gotten many donations from businesses in St. Peter [and] Mankato and other Gustavus organizations to put together baskets that will be auctioned off in the silent auction,” said Urquhart.
“I am so excited for this event. In the past we haven’t had that many people attend. We have worked really hard all year and especially on this event. The TMs are back and better than ever, and I know this event will be a great success,” said Senior Communication Studies and Art Studio Major and Member of the TMs Randi Dettling.
The TMs hope to make Suicide Awareness Week an annual event for the sorority.
“This is a very personal subject [for] a lot of people, and most of the time people keep it to themselves and do not even realize there are organizations and people that can help. We want people to know that suicide is preventable. It needs to be talked about, awareness needs to be raised and there are available resources to help,” said Urquhart.