By Breanna Hiett
September is suicide awareness month. Each year, the Office of Student Engagement and Support at Volunteer State Community College places pinwheels around campus with names of people who were lost due to suicide.
According to Tiffany Zwart, Coordinator of Support Services at VSCC, they are going to put pinwheels on campus once again this year, but it will be slightly different. When anyone turns into the main campus parking lot, there are signs about suicide prevention on the grassy areas. Emails have been sent out to students regarding the annual event, asking those who would like to honor someone lost due to suicide to send the director the name or names of their loved ones.
Zwart, sent out an email to all students on Sept.1, and posted on social media about their plans to celebrate suicide awareness with the pinwheels.
After talking about their idea on what they thought about doing last year to talk about suicide awareness and making signs, Zwart, went on to talk about what they will be doing this year and how it will continue going forward for the next couple of years when it comes to bringing awareness to the heartbreaking subject.
“We wanted it to be like official, we are going to do this every year. They’re at the entrance of the college, in one of the flower beds and we just requested that students send names of people(if they wanted) of people who have died by suicide so that we can honor them and their life,” said Zwart.
The Office of Student Engagement and Support have had around at least 20 people respond to their emails and social media posts as of Sept.7, which is less than the number of responses that they have had in previous years.
When asked why the number is lower, Tiffany Zwart responded, “It might be because usually, we have a visual they can see and you know, students don’t always read their emails and that’s fine”.
This week, her along with the rest of the student engagement staff will be posting facts about suicide and prevention. This week is suicide prevention week so they will be posting different facts, myths and warning signs of suicide.
They will end the annual event by placing pinwheels somewhere on campus to represent and pay tribute to those who have lost their life due to suicide.
“We still have the pinwheels outside as a visual reminder. It exists and we have a lot of people in our school community who have been touched by suicide in some way, so I think that it’s always mindful. It’s always good to be mindful of that,” said Zwart.
Zwart went on to say her piece of advice, people should learn from events such as this and how to prevent another life from being lost.
“I think it’s always important to just be mindful. Just always be kind, you know. Like, it’s not that hard to just be nice and kind to people, and not make fun of their imperfections or people who are different. You don’t even have to be different these days, it’s just awful, “said Zwart.
To request a name to be put on a pinwheel, email Tiffany.Zwart@volstate.edu or comment on social media posts.