RMU walks ‘Out of the Darkness’

Olivia Bello

The Robert Morris University THRIVE leaders and the Counseling Center will be hosting an Out of the Darkness walk on April 1, 2017.

The event will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Check in will begin at 10:30 a.m. and the walk will officially begin at 11 a.m..

Julie Pflug, a sophomore at RMU, has been working with the counseling office and THRIVE, to make this event possible.

“As a THRIVE leader, I am a part of the planning process of the walk,” said Pflug. “This means I work to spread the word of what we are doing and work to get donations.”

“I believe this event is going to strengthen our campus and raise awareness for a very serious issue,” said Pflug.

Pflug said that THRIVE is currently estimating 200 walkers to participate in the event based on the number of Greek signups and clubs that have pledged to attend thus far.

“Many of our students have been personally impacted by suicide and I hope this event will help people to see they are not alone in their grief or own struggles with suicide,” said Pflug.

She added that as participants register for the event, they will have a fundraising page created to gain sponsorship for themselves.

Diane Dahm, who is a faculty member in the Counseling Center and THRIVE’s faculty advisor, has also been working to plan this event.

“The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Western PA Chapter (AFSP) works with campuses to put on this event,” said Dahm. “They provide guidance and support to us, as we make the walk our own on the RMU campus.”

She added that the money raised will be given to AFSP for suicide prevention research as well as circling back to RMU to provide mental health education and suicide prevention programming within the campus community.

“We (the Counseling Center) are working with local businesses in the area to sponsor the walk, and our role is to secure donations for the day of the event and to create an event that reflects the RMU community,” said Dahm.

Dahm added that in addition to the walk, there will be a band performing on site before the walk officially starts in order to entertain the participants.

“Our role in THRIVE is to personalize the event for our students, faculty and staff in the RMU community,” said Dahm.

Dahm added that any participant who raises $125 or more will receive a stuffed version of Violet, who is the Counseling Center’s permanent therapy dog.

According to Greek Week representative Megan Rula, since this event will coincide with the start of Greek Week, each Greek chapter will be expected to bring 25 percent of their members to the walk in order to gain points towards the events to follow.

Students and community members who are interested in participating in the event are urged to sign up and create teams on the fundraising page HERE.