Fairfield University’s Psychology Club President, Lauren Adams ‘23, encapsulated one of the main messages of this year’s “Out of the Darkness” campus walk with just six words: “I know we can reach it.”

The annual walk is part of a signature student fundraising series sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), aimed at encouraging youth to join in the fight to prevent suicide. 

This year, the walk will take place on Sunday, April 16 with on-site registration beginning at 10:00 a.m. and the walk opening ceremony following at 11:00 a.m. 

For Adams, the “Out of the Darkness” campus walk is an event that she holds near and dear to her heart.

“I’ve been in a position where I have felt alone and like there was no tomorrow. Being someone who has felt that, it’s an indescribable feeling,” she says. 

As chair of the walk for the second year in a row, Adams has spent the past several months planning and organizing for the event. With the help of her peers, she hopes to raise $15,000 for AFSP—exceeding last year’s $10,000 goal.

Members of the Psychology Club and other supporters have quickly turned to social media, posting on their Instagram stories to encourage donations through Venmo, and sharing a link through which supporters can donate and/or register for the walk. 

“Outreach so that students can join, participate, not feel alone and be with a group of people who are there to support this cause, is so incredibly important,” Adams says. 

“Life is hard…but it does get better. There is a bright light down the tunnel and keeping that in mind is something that I can’t express enough, especially to the students on this campus.”

Determined to reach their goal, the club also sponsored two AFSP fundraising events: a wine-tasting fundraiser that took place on March 26 at Aquila’s Nest Vineyard in Newtown, Conn., which  raised nearly $1,000, and a spin fundraiser in the Quick Jr. Recreation Complex. The club will also be sponsoring a third fundraiser in partnership with Chipotle.

Working with great ambition, Adams and her peers have already raised over $11,800. 

“It can be overwhelming, but I have had an incredible executive board that has helped me significantly, in terms of our fundraising events,” she says.

Participation in the actual walk ceremony is expected to be greater this year, as well, with 94 people already registered and 11 teams created. According to Adams, this is more than double the amount of teams formed last year. 

“I can’t explain how excited and thrilled I am that we have this kind of participation,” she says. “It’s a way to make sure that people know that they’re never alone in anything that they’re going through, and being a hand and a shoulder for them.”

The Psychology Club is welcoming three speakers to join them at the opening ceremony: Fairfield student Kiersten Nicolosi ‘24, a father from Fairfield who lost his son to suicide, Jim Kuczo, and the founder of ‘Here For You’ clothing, Ellie Haney. 

Club members have also pushed for more faculty support, after having only two faculty members join them last year, according to Adams. Fairfield University Counseling and Psychological Services will be hosting a table at the walk, providing additional resources to students who are struggling.

Coastal Connecticut Counseling also unexpectedly reached out to Adams and asked to have their own table at the event. 

Although excited for the event’s turnout, Adams emphasizes that there is always more work to be done in the fight to prevent suicide.

“It’s important to know that it doesn’t stop there,” she says. “We can continue to advocate even after the fundraising and the walk is done. The advocacy for this cause needs to keep going.”

Students, faculty and community members can register online through this link

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