Second annual ‘Light the Path’ event honors lives lost to suicide

Four volunteers standing over a cart of paper luminary bags. The sidewalk they're standing on is lit on each side by the luminary bags they placed.
Volunteers light the path from the Jaguar Student Activities Center to the Summerville Student Counseling and Psychological Services office during Fall 2018's "Light the Path" event.

Augusta University’s Dean of Students Office invites the campus community to “Light the Path” on Thursday, Oct. 3. The event will raise awareness for suicide, honor those who have lost their lives to suicide, and remind AU students of the mental health resources available across our campuses.

This is the second Light the Path event Augusta University has hosted, and officials seek to make it an annual tradition.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students — a statistic that might seem surprising. But Gina Thurman, associate dean of students at Augusta University and director of this year’s Light the Path program, says the academic challenges of college are often the smallest problems students face.

The event will begin at 7 p.m. with a tabling session. Representatives from the CARE team, Student Counseling and Psychological Services (SCAPS), Student Health Services, Multicultural Student Engagement and other groups across campus will be available to answer questions about mental health resources. A hot chocolate bar will also be available.

At 7:15 p.m., the program will begin, featuring a short movie and a panel of speakers. The feature film is It’s Real: College Students and Mental Health, a 17-minute film produced by the American Association for Suicide Prevention. The film features the stories of six college students and their journey in seeking help for depression and other mental health conditions. After the film, representatives from SCAPS, Augusta University Police Department, Student Health Services and the CARE Team will answer questions.

At 8:15 p.m., the program will close by lighting the path from the Jaguar Student Activities Center to the Summerville SCAPS office with luminary bags, an activity symbolizing the route students can take to seek help. Counselors will be available throughout the night to help attendees work through any emotions that may be triggered by the program.

For more information about suicide prevention, visit the Jags Care website. Students may also find resources at The Jed Foundation, a suicide prevention organization that has acknowledged Augusta University for its mental health, suicide prevention and substance abuse programming. Augusta University joined the foundation’s Campus Program in Fall 2016, and has been working since that time to improve mental health awareness on campus. The Jed Foundation’s final review of Augusta University’s campus will occur in spring 2020.

For questions about Light the Path, contact the Dean of Students Office at 706-737-1411. This event is sponsored by the Dean of Students Office, Student Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Health Services, and First and Second Year Experiences.

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Paige Fowler

Paige Fowler is an editorial associate for Communications and Marketing at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at

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Written by Paige Fowler

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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