Out of the Darkness walk voted 2018 ‘Best campus event’ at Sac State

Walk raised awareness about suicide


Kelly Kiernan - The State Hornet

Participants of the Out of the Darkness Walk hold signs as they walk to the residence halls on April 12, 2018. This year’s event aims to raise $22,000 for suicide prevention.

John Ferrannini, copy editor

The Out of the Darkness walk won the 2018 Best of Sac State poll in the category of best campus event.

The walk held on April 12 was the seventh annual at Sacramento State and was intended to raise awareness about suicide and raise awareness for prevention services.

This year’s walk — which had record attendance according to the University — raised over $16,000, according to Jennifer Burton of Student Health and Counseling Services.

The number of registered participants — which was 950 in 2017 — ballooned to 1,519 this year and was the largest Out of the Darkness walk in the United States, Burton said. The walk takes participants from The WELL to the Residence Halls and back.

Burton had a lead role in planning the event, along with the Active Minds chapter on campus and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which also hosts Out of the Darkness walks elsewhere.

“Our plan for next year is to continue to host this event,” Burton said in an email to The State Hornet, who added that the organizers will “continue to have a comprehensive resource fair for the event, solicit for speakers to share their stories, and make sure we get the word out about the event so that it can be a space for healing, hope and support.”

Several students and members of the Sac State community shared how suicide has touched their lives in one way or another. Among them was Jody Nelsen, the wife of University President Robert Nelsen.

The Nelsens lost their son Seth to suicide in 2001, when he was 25 years old.

“We thought that he had turned the corner on his depression and then one evening the police came to our door and gave us the horrific news that he had taken his life,” Jody Nelsen said. “It’s really hard to realize that we can’t control what happens in life and even harder for a parent to not be able to protect their child.

It is such a struggle to overcome these struggles, but I know from personal experience that if we share our stories, bring them out of the darkness our burden is a little bit easier to bare.”

Additional reporting by Kelly Kiernan