Applied learning is a crucial piece of the education students receive at Minnesota School of Business. For students in Joel Bisser’s Professional Communications class at the Lakeville campus, applying the skills they gained each week in class helped them compile a marketing plan to promote the Out of the Darkness Walk to prevent suicide, put on by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The Out of the Darkness Walk helps bring awareness about suicide prevention and other mental illnesses that can lead to suicide. Through their research and working with Lindsey Rafnson, a board member at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the students learned that suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students; more than 38,000 people die each year.
Ninety percent of people who die from suicide have a diagnosable mental illness at the time of death. Often suicide can be prevented due to the treatable mental illnesses associated with the disease.
The students put together a marketing plan to help promote the Out of the Darkness walk. Lindsey Rafnson and the students worked together to create a Facebook event, passed out flyers, and made cold calls to different media outlets in the community to raise awareness for the event. Students also used their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts to promote the event to their networks.
In addition to applying the marketing skills the students are learning, they were also able to practice some of the essential soft skills, such as teamwork.
The accumulation of the students’ hard work came together on the morning on Sunday, Sept. 15 when the event took place in Como Park in St. Paul. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, this year’s walk consisted of 753 participants and raised $63,812. Donations that were raised through the walk will be used for many purposes, including research, public awareness campaigns, screening programs, programs for high school students, and more.