Alexander Cooper, Staff Writer
Jacksonville State’s Freshman Forum held its second annual Light Up a Life 5k on Friday, April 7 and raise over $1000 for the suicide awareness and prevention group To Write Love on Her Arms.
The purpose of the 5K was to help raise awareness on the issue of suicide, and all proceeds from the event, including donations and proceeds from a raffle drawn at the onset of the run, went towards To Write Love on Her Arms. This organization served as the Freshman Forum’s philanthropy for the year, and it is built on both raising awareness on the problem of suicide and consequently working to prevent it.
“We started planning this event in January,” said Keaton Glass, the Freshman Forum advisor. “It’s a race, and it’s an awareness thing for suicide prevention. That’s what this event is all about, and we wanted to get members of campus to come and hang out just to let them know they’re not alone, and suicide effects everyone.”
Suicide remains the second leading cause of death among college-aged people, and that is one of the big reasons why the Freshman chose to focus their fundraising efforts on suicide awareness and prevention.
“We want to shed light on that, and kind of start conversations about it,” said Glass “We just want to let people know that we are here from them and connect them to services that we have on campus as well.”
SGA Vice President of Student Senate Hayden Clay was there to support the Freshman Forum after running in the 5k last year.
“This kind of personally affects me”, Clay said. “My grandmother actually committed suicide when I was two, so this is important. It’s important to remind people that it is not just diseases that kill people, but there are other things that affect people like depression and anxiety.”
Clay also stressed the importance of involving freshman in particular in events like the 5k: “College is hard, and a lot of students fall into anxiety and depression within their college years, so this is a group of people who are getting educated about these issues as they are just starting their college careers.”
Light Up a Life was the final event for Freshman Forum this semester. The race kicked off at 7:30 p.m. and saw the participants take up glow sticks to run the perimeter of the campus.
“It’s been a really nice experience,” said Lexi Tisdale, a Freshman Forum member who helped plan the event. “You just learn so much from hands-on stuff. I’ve learned so many things, so it’s hard to remember them all.”
Tisdale believes that her experience with Freshman Forum will translate into her college life later.
“It’s a great foundation for those who want to get involved in leadership,” Tisdale said. “It’s been a really great experience.”