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Saint Mary’s, local community to participate in suicide prevention walk

As a part of Suicide Prevention Month, the South Bend community is passionate to show support through the Out of the Darkness walking event taking place this Saturday. 

The Out of the Darkness walk is a national initiative put out by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The foundation hosts these walks across the country and this year, St. Joseph County is hosting one of these walks in Howard Park. 

Director of the office for student involvement and advocacy Liz Baumann discussed the importance of this walk and why it can connect well with students from the tri-campus community. 

“Mental health is something that’s important for all of us and especially important for college students. There are numerous statistics out there on how prevalent suicidal ideation is for college students… being able to expand our suicide prevention efforts and education and advocacy is something I’m very passionate about and excited to be doing with this walk,” Baumann said. 

Through promoting this walk, Baumann said she wishes to continue advocacy for mental health awareness within South Bend with help from the tri-campus community. 

“From here I hope this event is kind of a jumping-off point for us with expanding our programming for mental health and suicide prevention. I think this walk is an awesome effort and I’m really excited about it, but I don’t want it to end here,” Baumann said.

Through normalizing mental health struggles, it can become difficult to identify when to reach out for help. There’s a blurred line between what is categorized as a normal obstacle and what is categorized as a tell-tale sign that something is wrong. 

Baumann discussed this idea further, saying she believes it is something to be recognized and to be more of a priority in our day-to-day lives. 

“In normalizing mental health, I also want to help others see the importance of reaching out for help and that although a lot of experiences are normal, it’s normal to feel homesick. It’s normal to be stressed about academics. It’s also not necessarily normal to be having suicidal thoughts,” she said. “And so, helping people recognize the signs in themselves and each other and therefore helping each other and themselves get help is really, really important. “ 

Self-care is incredibly important for students to partake in but as well as being honest with yourself as to what works best for you in times of destressing. 

Baumann discussed further this concept of how not everyone can find relaxation through “traditional methods” such as bubble baths and exercising but rather through their own personal self-care journey. 

“Making sure that you’re honest with yourself about what self-care looks like for you, and making a commitment to carve out time for that, I think is really important, especially with college students,” she said. 

Registration for the event takes place at 9 a.m. and at 10 a.m., then the walk will proceed until 1 p.m. 

Saint Mary’s students can access transportation from the student center at 9:30 a.m. 

Editor’s note: For mental health and wellness resources, view The Observer’s Editorial of numbers to know here.

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Saint Mary’s students revive, rebrand College English club

The Saint Mary’s English club has been dormant for the past couple of years. This semester, it has revived by several Saint Mary’s seniors. 

The seniors behind the club’s reestablishment started with conversations in English classes by president Madeline Law, vice president Gracie Conlon, secretary Shannon Haverty and treasurer Genevieve Coleman.

Editor’s note: Law is currently a Viewpoint copyeditor and Coleman is an assistant managing editor at The Observer, respectively.

Haverty discussed the goals the club wants to achieve within the Saint Mary’s community. 

“[The co-chairs] all had found ourselves discussing books outside of class that we really wanted to continue talking about in class,” Haverty said. “We wanted to rekindle this love for reading and writing that we think all majors have. The co-chairs found that in our classes, but wanted to share it with the rest of our community.” 

Belles’ Booknook can be considered a place to wind down and destress from all the academic and social overload that can occur in one’s college experience, according to Haverty.

Haverty discussed how academic stressors and personal commitments can make one forget the love and passion they have for recreational reading.

“A lot of students and other majors had a love for reading or writing at one point in their lives, but the academic stressors had put a lot of weight on them, that they forget about reading and just skim read or not find that love for it,” she said.  

Furthering the discussion on Belles’ Booknook’s mission for the community, Haverty stated that she hoped the club has an impact that not only reaches the Saint Mary’s community but also the South Bend community as well. 

“I would say the thing that makes us very different is that we want to work with our fellow clubs in our community …We’ve talked about a few ideas we want to lay out and one of those is what if we did some workshops in the South Bend Community’s school systems and brought reading and literature and made it more accessible to our schools because a few of us are education majors as well.” 

Belles’ Booknook is not going to always be solely focused on sit down discussions over books. There will be events hosted by the club. Haverty discusses the possibility of hosting guest speakers who are authors as well as having creative themed parties. 

“We discussed having a dress-like-a literary-character day and or event,” Haverty stated. “We also talked about having a guest speaker who is an author and maybe the author could be a previous Belle.” 

This although will not be the sole purpose of the club since its main focus will be on their “book talks” group meetings which are bi-weekly. These meetings will take place in Belles Backyard and will either highlight any national holidays or it can be a tool to connect with fellow Saint Mary’s students.

“Book talk is going to be a place where we can highlight any national holidays that correspond with reading and writing like Banned Book Week or National Write a Letter to your Teacher day or something like that … but book talk will be a place more so where we can all come together,” Haverty said.

The Belles’ Booknook’s first book talk will be on Sept. 8, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Belles’ Backyard.

If students are interested in joining the club, they can email bellesbooknooksmc@gmail.com or sign up through Belle Tower.