Shannon Flynn

Equinox Staff

 

Depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide were the focus of Keene State College’s Circle K club as they hosted To Write Love on Her Arms, an event created to reclaim awarenss of such issues.

Brittany Bianchi, Circle K president, said, “A part of Circle K’s motto is leadership, fellowship and service. Since we do a lot of service, we decided to focus more on fellowship for this and we wanted to bring the campus together as a whole.”

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Approximately 150 students attended the event Sunday, Nov. 4, in the Mabel Brown Room.

According to Bianchi, the group spent approximately a month planning the event.

Bianchi said Circle K began discussing the idea of hosting a To Write Love on Her Arms event last year. However, they did not start the actual planning till the end of September Bianchi said.

Lisa Bryant, a KSC junior and co-event chair of Circle K, said she first heard of To Write Love on Her Arms back when she was in the 8th grade and went to Warped Tour.

According to Bryant, the organization was started on MySpace, and that is where she learned of it.

“Ever since then I’ve known about it and really liked it,” Bryant said.

For KSC senior Melanie Sachs, who serves as Circle K’s membership chair, the love for the organization is a little more personal.

“It’s a really amazing organization that has inspired me a lot,” Sachs said. According to Sachs, she went through a “really tough time,” and when To Write Love on Her Arms came about she was inspired by the organization.

“I realized there was hope. I really clung on to the mission and vision,” Sachs said. Since then, Sachs said she has donated money to the cause by purchasing To Write Love on Her Arms merchandise, where the proceeds go to people who need treatment and cannot afford it. The group decided they wanted the event to feel like a party. “We’ve never done anything like this before,” Bryant said.

Bryant along with her fellow co-event chair Emma Kash did most of the planning and setting up for the event.

“We wanted people to feel like they are at a party to celebrate our lives,” Kash said.

The members of Circle K decided to have the Mabel Brown Room broken up into different stations.

In order to make sure people checked out every station, the guests were given an index card to recieve a stamp at every station. Once they had all the stamps, the guests could then enter a raffle to win a basket of gifts.

To Write Love on Her Arms had seven different stations, all of which tied into its theme of love and support. One station had chocolate lollipops on it which were to be given to someone special to that guest.

There was another table where the guests could make friendship bracelets. Another table was dedicated to having the guests write notes that would be sent to the Phoenix House, a residence for people struggling with substance abuse and dependency. They even had a henna tattoo artist present at a table to write “love” on the guest’s arms. One table contained an activity that occurs at every To Write Love on Her Arms event.

This table had guests write down their fears and dreams on a whiteboard then have their picture taken with it.

This activity was  used to publicize the event.

According to Sachs, Circle K had a table set up in the student center all week asking students to participate in the activity.

They also displayed some of the pictures they had taken on a bulletin board in the student center to raise awareness of the event.

There were additional tables set up from KSC’s Counseling Center and Active Minds. Active Minds is an organization that utilizes the student’s voices to change the conversation about mental health on college campuses.

According to co-event chair Emma Kash, the group invited the Counseling Center because they wanted to “show who is out there to help you.”

Besides providing the guests with free heart shaped pizza from Athens Pizza in Keene, they also entertained the audience with performances from local bands. The bands performing included KSC’s own Chock Full O’Notes (CFON), Quiet Hours and Captain’s Log. The event concluded with a yoga session.

According to the To Write Love on Her Arms website, the organization was started back in 2006 to tell the story and help out a friend dealing with depression and drug addiction.

According to the website, two out of three people who are depressed never seek help, which can lead to suicide.

An estimated 19 million people are depressed and suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24 years old. However, depression is completely treatable with proper help and support.

Sachs said she thinks next year’s Circle K executive board will want to have another fundraiser for the To Write Love on Her Arms organization.

She also mentioned that some students at KSC want to start a club dedicated to the organization.

 

 

            Shannon Flynn can be contacted at

                sflynn@keene-equinox.com