11 things to know about the 2023 Out of the Darkness JHU Campus Walk

| March 27, 2023
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The Out of the Darkness Campus Walks are a signature student outreach and fundraising series by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 2023 marks the 11th year that the walk will be hosted in Johns Hopkins University! In honor of this year’s walk, happening rain or shine on Saturday April 29, here are 11 things that you need to know:

        1. Anyone can join. The walk is open to all JHU affiliates and to members of the community at large. Bring your friends, your family, and pets*. If you’re in the vicinity of campus and would like to participate and support the walk, you are more than welcome to do so.
        2. Registration is free. While there is the option to fundraise, there is no expectation for participants to do so. The main goal of the campus walk is to bring the JHU community together in solidarity and support of those who may have experienced suicide loss or struggled with their mental health, and to raise awareness for suicide prevention and mental health on campus. Register at this link.
        3. Donations support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. If you choose to fundraise or donate, funds will go to fueling the mission of the AFSP by:
          • Funding grants for suicide prevention research 
          • Providing outreach and education programs for suicide prevention 
          • Advocating for public policy 
          • Supporting survivors of suicide loss 

          Donations made directly to AFSP are tax-deductible. 

        4. This year’s campus walk is the first time we’ve done it on the Homewood campus. The Out of the Darkness Walk has thus far been held on the East Baltimore campus. 2023 is the first year in which the walk has made the move to the Homewood campus. In our bid to make this more of a university-wide effort, the walk will be rotated between these JHU campuses in coming years.
        5. We’re taking the scenic route. The walk route will be a full perimeter of the Homewood campus, which is approximately 2.3 miles or 3.7km. Starting and ending at the O’Connor Center for Recreation and Well-Being, we will be going along West University Parkway, San Martin Drive, and back up on North Charles Street. The path is mostly flat with sections on a slight incline. Should you need any mobility accommodations, please contact Carol Spencer at [email protected].
        6. Come for the walk; stay for the fair. A bonus to attending the walk on April 29 is that it will coincide with the annual JHU Spring Fair. Come for the walk, and stay for the marketplace, food vendors, and other exciting activities that will be happening as part of the Spring Fair on the Homewood campus.
        7. It’s more than just a walk. Before we embark on the walk, come by at 9.30am to grab a bagel courtesy of THB Bagelry, and some coffee and snacks courtesy of Health Promotion & Well-Being. We’ll also create some signage and posters to bring on the walk, add to the memorial wall, speak with representatives of both JHU mental health resources and Baltimore community resources, and more.We will also have an opening ceremony where we will hear from brave speakers and enjoy some uplifting performances before going on the walk.
        8. There are many ways you can get involved and volunteer. Interested in getting involved? There are still several ways to do so. We are still looking for:
          • Brave speakers to share their journey of struggle and hope 
          • Performers to be part of our ceremony 
          • Sticker designs to commemorate the event 
          • Are you a mental health-related organization? You can sign-up to table at the event.
          • Volunteers to help with setting up the venue and for day-of support 
          • Volunteers to help with outreach to garner registrations. If you’d like to get involved, click on the links above for more information or email Glen Koh at [email protected].
        9. There are programs leading up to the walk. There are several programs that are happening leading up to the walk, and they are all open to all JHU affiliates.
        10. Raising awareness is not just one day, but every day. Learning about resources available to support anyone in emotional or psychological distress is a key part of community engagement for suicide prevention. Hopkins has many resource options available for its affiliates, and you can go to the resource library on this site to learn about many of them. Here are some resources that we’d like to highlight here:
        11. There’s more information to come. This post is a developing repository of information, so bookmark it and come back to get the latest updates about the OOTDW. We will be building on this post as we continue to organize this event. Information about directions, parking, and more to come!

*Only trained service animals are allowed for ceremony/indoor portions. Household pets are welcome for the outdoor walk.