Campus News

Out of Darkness Walk engages campus community in the fight to prevent suicide

Participants take part in the 2023 Out of Darkness Campus Walk. (Submitted photo)

On April 7, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will host its annual Out of Darkness Campus Walk at the University of Georgia. The walk is designed to engage young adults in the community in the fight to prevent suicide.

AFSP is a volunteer based organization dedicated to the advocacy of education and research around suicide. With chapters in all 50 states, the nonprofit organization works to prevent suicide and support those that have been affected by suicide. The organization also works in the national and state levels to support effective and appropriate policy around suicide prevention and access to care.

In past years, students and community members have felt inspired and empowered during their involvement with the walk. Senior criminal justice and sociology student Abigail Cushing participated in the walk as a sophomore. The experience changed her life.

“The walk really changed my whole mindset,” Cushing said. “It pushed me to go get the help and resources that I knew were available to me, but I had not yet taken.”

Now, Cushing serves as an executive member of the walk, helping to organize and plan for the event. This year, the organization is working to raise $55,000 up to and during the walk. The money raised will be used to continue their suicide prevention work.

While community members can get involved with the Out of Darkness Walk through participation in the walk and fundraising, people can also support the work by volunteering. With only two staff members serving the Georgia chapter of AFSP, the initiative is made possible through the work of volunteers.

“We do it all with volunteer committees, whether they’re students or committed general community members that raise their hand and want to get in this work with us,” said Kristen Petillo, one of the two Georgia chapter staff members. “It takes many volunteers to make this an effective effort and for us to be able to continue to reach further spaces.”

The walk will begin at Tate Student Center at 11 a.m. Organizers ask that walk participants arrive for onsite registration time at 10 a.m. For more information on ways to get involved through fundraising or volunteer opportunities, visit the event page or contact Abigail Cushing at