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Campus Organizations Partner on Suicide Awareness Exhibit

Photo of the Field of Memories: Be Aware, Show You Care Flag Exhibit

Purdue Student Government (PSG), Boilermaker Support Network (BSN), Office of the Dean o Students (ODOS) and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) partnered on a pair of exhibits to increase awareness of suicide on college campus, enhance suicide prevention efforts and promote awareness of resources available on campus. 

The “Field of Memories: Be Aware, Show You Care Flag Exhibit,” invited students, faculty and staff to personalize a flag to show their support to others or to honor a memory of someone who has died by suicide. Participants could create memorials and share messages of hope and positive words to those who may be struggling. The exhibit was displayed on the Johnson Hall of Nursing lawn on September 9 in recognition of Suicide Awareness Month and World Suicide Prevention Day. 

“This event seeks to enhance help-seeking and decrease stigma surrounding mental health through positive messaging and to help students not feel along in their struggles,” says Chris Hanes, director of CAPS. “The exhibit gave our Purdue community an opportunity to demostrate their support in a profound, powerful manner and it was wonderful to see.”

Students writing messages on flags for the "Field of Memories: Be Aware, Show You Care Flag Exhibit."

The Field of Memories exhibit was originally created by the University of Central Florida’s Counseling and Psychological Services department and has been a signature event on their campus since 2011. The exhibit is a powerful and poignant visual display representing the 1,100 suicides that occur on college campus in the U.S. every year. CAPS and the Office of the Dean of Students (ODOS) partnered to bring the exhibit to Purdue as a suicide prevention initiative in collaboration with student leaders in BSN and PSG.

Flags with messages from the Field of Memories exhibit were then collected in vases and displayed in 21 locations around campus throughout the month in an exhibit known as Vases of Hope, a new initiative organized by ODOS and BSN. The vases held the flags as well as QR codes to sign up for QPR Suicide Prevention Training, information on BSN weekly group meetings and a card reminding viewers about the Student of Concern reporting tool. 

“While picking up the Vases of Hope, we noted that several areas added additional messages of hope and support which demonstrates the ongoing conversations related to suicide prevention,” says Zenephia Evans, associate dean of students of education and advocacy in ODOS.

Campus partners, including PSG, BSN, ODOS, and CAPS, participated in the event by sharing resources and supporting the exhibit. Through its many resources, ODOS offers a network of support with staff that collaborate to support student mental health and well-being.

Students placing flags on the "Field of Memories: Be Aware, Show You Care Flag Exhibit."

ODOS is an umbrella of units that empower, support and advocate for students. CAPS and Education and Advocacy are the two areas that worked collaboratively on these events. Specialized areas within ODOS also include: Center for Advocacy, Response and Education; Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life; Off-Campus Housing; Parent and Family Connections; Student Health Services; Student Legal Services; and Student Rights and Responsibilities. 

CAPS is a team of multicultural professionals who deliver comprehensive psychological services to Purdue students. CAPS helps Purdue students maximize the value of their life experiences by developing collaborative relationships in a safe and respectful environment. CAPS’ portfolio of professional services includes individual, group and couples' psychotherapy; psychopharmacology; crisis intervention; drug and alcohol programs; outreach and consultation; and the training of helping professionals. 

PSG serves as the primary representative organization of the undergraduate student body at Purdue University. PSG acts as a liaison between the Purdue University administration, governmental authorities and the student body to serve the needs of Purdue students and to enhance the student experience at Purdue University.

BSN is a community and student organization that helps to improve student mental health and well-being through weekly, peer-facilitated groups and bi-weekly stress-relief events. The organization seeks to eliminate the harsh social stigmas, financial burdens and timing inconveniences associated with discussing topics related to mental health and well-being. The organization is supported by ODOS.

Locations and Organizations that Participated in Vases of Hope  

Organization Location 
Student Life Marketing  Smalley Center 
Student Activities & Organizations  Krach Leadership Center 
Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities  Schleman Hall 
Center for Advocacy, Response & Education  Duhme Hall 
Exploratory Studies  Lang 
Purdue Polytechnic Institute  Knoy Hall of Technology 
Edu Admin  Steven C. Beering Hall of Liberal Arts and Education 
Academic Success Center  Wilmeth Active Learning Center 
University Residences  Smalley Center 
Purdue Graduate School  Ernest C. Young Hall 
Academic Advising  Krannert Building 
Purdue Polytechnic Institute College Advisors  Ernest C. Young Hall  
School of Aviation and Transport Technology  Niswonger Aviation Technology Building 
Horizons Student Support Services  Krach Leadership Center 
Purdue Recreation & Wellness  France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center 
Multicultural Science Programs  Mathematical Sciences Building 
College of Science Advising  Ernest C. Young Hall 
Vice Provost for Student Life  Schleman Hall 
Office of the Dean of Students  Schleman Hall 
Office of the Provost  Frederick L. Hovde Hall of Administration 
Purdue Agriculture  Agricultural Administration Building