MACOMB – On a rainy Saturday afternoon about 100 students gathered for the 2018 Out of the Darkness walk at Western Illinois University Hanson Field to remember those lost to suicide.
This second annual walk to raise awareness and resiliency about suicide was presented by the Theta Chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority and is sponsored by the WIU United Greek Council (UGC).
Margarita Sotelo, alumni chair and committee member for the walk spoke with the Voice about how this community awareness event came about: “We started it last year when one of our sisters, one of her family members (died as a result of) suicide. So, she (Samantha Spooner) brought this idea to us that she wanted to bring Out of the Darkness (to this campus).”
She said the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention holds these walks to raise awareness and bring hope to those that have been affected by it.
“So, we thought we would bring it to our campus because we hadn’t heard anything about it, and it turns out that suicide is the second most common cause of death for college students. We’re out here raising awareness,” Sotelo said.
Engagement activities included a gumball guessing game table, a paint hands banner symbolizing support for suicide awareness, a friendly competition to see who could walk the greatest number of laps around Hanson Field, and an information table with a spin wheel game distributing informational pamphlets and suicide awareness ribbons. Music was played over loudspeakers.

Reach Christopher Ginn by email at cginn@mcdonoughvoice.com.