A walk in their shoes

Active Minds raises suicide awareness on campus

Adrian Eggers, Staff Writer

Last week, over 1,000 pairs of shoes were scattered all over the lawns of Pile, Bowen and the Kanter Student Center to represent the number of college students who have committed suicide in the last year alone.
Active Minds is the student organization behind this exhibit on campus. The goal of the exhibit was to help bring awareness about suicide among college students across the United States.
The goal of Active Minds is to bring awareness to mental health issues.
“The shoe exhibit is called ‘A Walk In Their Shoes,’ and its 1,100 pairs of shoes represent the 1,100 college students that die by suicide every year in America,” president of Active Minds, Abby Stewart, said.
“The exhibit was an idea by our vice president back in May to reflect the traveling exhibit that Active Minds national does and its 1,100 book bags for the same representation. But it was too expensive for us to bring to campus, so we decided to use 1,100 pairs of shoes.”
The shoes were donated from families and towns all over northeast Nebraska.
“Well, this summer our executive board started gathering shoes from families and their home towns, but as of three days before the exhibit, we had less than 400 pairs of shoes,” Stewart said. “Almost all of the shoes came from community members from Norfolk, Wayne and Wakefield.”
Kathy Mohlfeld, a counselor at Wayne State College, said that the exhibit brought attention to a serious mental health issue that is difficult to talk about with students and members of the community alike.
“It was a way to let people know that it is OK to talk about it, show the numbers of how many people in college kill themselves, and it just gets the ball rolling to get people talking about it to help prevent suicide,” Mohlfeld said.
Active Minds is a club on campus that any student at Wayne State can join.
Members encourage students who are interested in mental health awareness to join.
“Active Minds is for any college student in any major and you’re a member by simply showing up. We meet Tuesdays at 3:30 in the Cottonwood Room in the Student Center,” Stewart said.