Annual Stand Against Silence Vigil

By Amanda Cote
On April 25, 2014

  • This was the sight in front of Thompson Hall on Wednesday, with 1,100 chairs representing the amount of college students who commit suicide each year. Amanda Cote/Staff

On April 23, 2014, Active Minds at UNH held a vigil  as part of their annual Stand Against Silence demonstration on the Great Lawn. The purpose was to honor the one in four college students that struggle with mental illness and commemorate the 1,100 that die by suicide each year. 

"These chairs represent the 1,100 college students that commit suicide each year," was written across a banner displayed in the front row of the mass of empty blue folding chairs, which were set up early that morning to serve as a reminder to anyone who passed the Great Lawn that day. Upon seeing the sheer amount of space taken up by these chairs and what they represented, several students expressed how sobering the sight was. 

That night, there was a vigil held in front of Thompson Hall. Students stood around the flagpole holding small candles listening to those who had chosen to speak on the matter. Among those in attendance were Chaplain Larry Brickner-Wood, who shared his thoughts on the importance of talking through these types of situations to prevent more tragedies in the future. Near the end of the candlelight vigil, Mary Jacquelyn sang a few songs to honor those who had passed, including "Amazing Grace."

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