Seventh Annual Out of the Darkness Campus Walk Raises Awareness of Suicide

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Record turnout of UOlivet walkers help raise more than $2,800 for cause

Students, employees, and friends of The University of Olivet gathered for the 7th annual Out of the Darkness walk.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between 20 and 34 and the third leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 19. These sobering statistics are why The University of Olivet Marching Comets advocate for suicide prevention and increased access to mental health care by hosting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Out of Darkness Walk annually.

On April 6, over 100 people from UOlivet, the city of Olivet, Marshall, Charlotte, Eaton Rapids, Bellevue and Potterville participated in this year’s 5K walk.

“The walk brings awareness and the opportunity to talk about mental health and suicidality,” said senior Sarah Cruz, walk co-chair. “As an institution and a community, it is important that we check up on each other and to know the signs of suicide, how we address the mental health stigma, and where to guide each other for assistance to provide a better well-being for not only ourselves but for those around us on campus and through the community. Having events like the Out of the Darkness Walk provides the opportunity to further the education about mental health and suicide and to take a stand to help those in need.”

The event started with students, employees and community members selecting different colored beads to wear. The colors represent different meanings to help people connect with others who have had similar experiences. For example, purple beads represent people who have lost a relative or friend, teal beads represent supporting someone who struggles or has attempted self-harm or suicide, and green beads represent a personal struggle or attempt. In addition to the beads, there were resource stations throughout Cutler Student Center offering support and information.

After a brief welcome ceremony, the UOlivet pep band played as walkers made their way from campus to downtown Olivet, around Olivet Public Schools and back to the campus Square.

Junior and co-chair Makenzie Hillsburg was thrilled to see the turnout from students on the chilly and early Saturday morning. “This was the first year we had athletics at the walk as well as all of Greek life. Having people from different groups all over campus at the walk makes such a difference. Many people opened up about their experience with mental health, and it helped other people see that they are not alone.”

More than $2,800 has been raised so far. Donations are accepted through June 30 and can be made by clicking here. All proceeds benefit AFSP to help support their mission of saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.


If you or someone you know needs immediate support

If you or someone you know has a mental health emergency or needs immediate support, please reach out to one of the following:

  • 24-hour crisis services hotline through Clinton-Eaton-Ingham Community Mental Health at 517-346-8318
  • Text the word “TALK” to the National Crisis text line at 741-741.


Visit the UOlivet Health and Wellness Center

Students are also encouraged to contact The University of Olivet Health and Wellness Center by emailing counseling@uolivet.edu or stopping by Mott 212 for assistance in developing an action plan to resolve an issue, discuss a concern, process a transition, or learn a skill or technique to reduce stress.


The AFSP has become a national leader in the fight against suicide by funding research, creating educational programs, advocating for public policy and supporting survivors of suicide loss. The organization collaborates with high schools and colleges nationwide to host campus walks, bringing together a community focused on suicide prevention thousands strong.

For more information about The University of Olivet Out of the Darkness Walk, contact Sarah Cruz at scruz@UOlivet.edu or Makenzie Hillsburg at mhillsburg@UOlivet.edu. Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admission at 269-200-4060 or admissions@uolivet.edu.


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