The Quad at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville was blanketed with 1,100 backpacks on Monday to raise awareness about suicide prevention. The empty backpacks and the stories displayed on them offered an emotional representation of the number of college students who die by suicide each year.
The Send Silence Packing display is presented by Active Minds, the leading national nonprofit that empowers students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and to encourage seeking help. The SIUE exhibit was sponsored by SIUE’s iCARE, which stands for Initiative to Create Awareness, Recognition, and Education on Suicide Prevention.
Student volunteers and iCARE representatives shared information with the SIUE community about suicide prevention and available campus resources as they stopped to view the display.
“The sight of this is attention-grabbing for students,” said senior Rosalyn Bryant. “These are stories of actual people who have committed suicide. At one point, two students walked up to read the stories and they told me it hit close to home. It’s a taboo subject to a lot of people, but it’s more common than you know.”
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The traveling Send Silence Packing exhibit visits approximately 20 colleges and universities annually. The event, along with others Sept. 5 to 11 on campus during International Suicide Prevention Awareness Week, are part of SIUE’s initiative to improve mental health awareness and student access to services.
SWIC welcomes STEM scholars
This fall, Southwestern Illinois College welcomed the inaugural class of SWIC STEM Scholars, a group of students who have earned tuition scholarships to study science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. SWIC received a more than $600,000 National Science Foundation S-STEM grant to develop the STEM Scholars Program.
The STEM Scholars at SWIC this fall are Josh Westenberger, of Baldwin; Olivia Hood, of Sparta; Marissa Goodland, of Belleville; Nancy Sewell, of Waterloo; Josh Latta, of East St. Louis; Kevin Brutto Jr., of Collinsville; Aliya Owens, of East St. Louis; Ana Flores, of Collinsville; Summer Wolfe and Jasmin Ruiz, both of Granite City; Jack Richards, of Red Bud; and Tyler Cronin and Joe McKinnon, both of Troy.
STEM Scholars will be paired with faculty mentors, participate in study groups, take part in off-campus activities, such as college visits, and enroll in special topics courses.
SIUE co-host for early childhood conference
The SIUE Early Childhood Center is a co-host for a second Early Childhood STEAM Conference for educators of young children on Sept. 19.
The conference is from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Morris University Center. The SIUE Early Childhood Center and the Early Childhood Education Program in the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior are presenting the conference in partnership with the Illinois Early Childhood Center of Professional Development and Spaces for Play, Inc.
The conference features internationally recognized keynote speakers, Toni and Robin Christie, of New Zealand. The Christies will address the opportunities early childhood educators have to support children’s learning of STEAM.
The conference also includes multiple workshop sessions including “Technology and Preschool Children — A Perfect Fit,” “The Amazing Effects of Music On Brain Development” and “Going Beyond Sorting and Counting.”
The conference costs $50 per person and includes resources materials and lunch. Participants will be credited with seven hours of professional development. For more information, contact the Early Childhood Center at 618-650-2556.
Lindenwood-Belleville to screen ‘Paper Tigers’
Lindenwood University-Belleville offers a free screening of “Paper Tigers,” a documentary examining an alternative school that specializes in educating traumatized youth, on Sept. 21.
Set in the rural community of Walla Walla, Wash., the film intimately examines the inspiring promise of Trauma Informed Communities — a movement that is showing great potential in healing youth struggling with the dark legacy of Adverse Childhood Experiences. A post film discussion of overcoming childhood trauma will be facilitated by Prevent Child Abuse Illinois.
The event is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Lindenwood Auditorium, 2600 W. Main St., Belleville.
Professional development hours will be available for professional educators.
This event is sponsored by Prevent Child Abuse Illinois and Lindenwood University-Belleville. For more information, contact Tarra Winters at 618-583-2116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lindenwood secures additional internships
The Criminal Justice Department at Lindenwood University-Belleville has secured an on-the-job training opportunity with Children’s Home and Aid Society with the Redeploy Illinois Program, a program to maintain youth in their communities with supportive services, rather than corrections.
“Many students seek internships where they can work with youth,” said retired Judge Annette Eckert, criminal justice instructor. “This is a fantastic opportunity for our students who are studying criminal justice but have a passion working with youth.”
The organization has offices in Belleville and Granite City. For more information, contact Annette Eckert at 618-239-6168 or AEckert@lindenwood.edu.