Students and faculty step out of darkness


Students began the walk holding the AFSP sign. They walked around the Lib Jackson Student Union Rotunda joined by faculty members. Photo by Caroline Surface

Members of the Coastal Carolina University community gathered April 22 for the Out of the Darkness event to spread awareness and raise money for suicide prevention resources.

CCU’s first Out of the Darkness walk was started by a student nine years ago, according to Chris Donevant-Haines, the associate director of the LiveWell Office. She said students and faculty raised over $8,700 before the walk began this year. All the money raised goes towards the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which holds walks on many college campuses.

Donevant-Haines has been a licensed counselor for over 25 years. Her first job at Coastal was with counseling services, and she said she is an advocate for the topic.

“Suicide prevention is one of the topics that I am the most passionate about,” Donevant-Haines said. “The reason we do it is for our students, for the awareness, for the education piece, and ultimately to prevent suicide.”

Faculty member within the Department of Communication, Media and Culture Brian Roessler opened and closed the ceremony with music. He sang about personal emotions through his lyrics. (Photo by: Caroline Surface)

The ceremony started with music performed by Brian Roessler, a performer who is also a faculty member within the Department of Communication, Media and Culture. The ceremony then showcased students who told their personal stories of family members they have lost from suicide and their own struggles with depression. After the opening ceremony, a walk outside of the Lib Jackson Student Union took place.

Sophomore Erik DeLuca shared his testimony of losing his family member to suicide.

“Having people open up about the topic means that hopefully it will limit their chances of trying or dying by suicide,” he said. “Just being here, thinking about it, and talking about it is all we can really do to help spread the word.”

During the ceremony, colored beads were used to represent populations who have higher suicide rates. LGBTQ+ persons and military persons were recognized as well.

Students walked around the Lib Jackson Student Union Rotunda with the campus flag. Coastal is just one of the many campuses who holds an Out of the Darkness walk. Photo by Caroline Surface

Junior Sam Ross used to be in the Marine Corps. He said suicide is a major issue for those in the service.

“Getting out of the military is a very hard thing, from personal experience,” Ross said. “Supporting causes like this can help other veterans know that they’re not alone.”

Fundraising is still open until the end of the school year, according to Donevant-Haines. Donations are taken on