Advocacy events, memorial planned in honor of Natalie Weber

Submitted photo by Jessica Corson.

Submitted photo by Jessica Corson.

To Write Love on Her Arms Kent State UChapter and Active Minds are hosting “Red Flags for Rescue: A Memorial for Natalie Weber” beginning noon Tuesday.

Weber, a sophomore pre-fashion design and merchandising major from Cambridge, Ohio, was found dead in her Centennial Court C room April 13. The Portage County Coroner’s office ruled her death a suicide.

With this being the second student suicide this academic year, Kayla Landis, president of TWLOHA Kent State, said the group felt it was important it did something.

“Suicide is one of the main things our organization addresses, so it’s really near and dear to our hearts, and we don’t take it lightly.” Landis said. “Two suicides, to me, seems like an issue.”

Tuesday’s event will also tackle mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

The “Red Flag” event will be from noon to 5 p.m. at the Centennial Green. By the end of the five hours, 450 flags will be in the ground representing the number of people who would have died from suicide in that time.

“We’re hoping that when people walk by and see that, it’ll open their eyes and ask us why we’re doing that and approach us so we can explain to them,” said Caitlin Shaffer, event planner for TWLOHA. “Hopefully, it’ll make some sort of impact on how serious an issue [suicide] is.”

Those in attendance can fill one of the flags with a message of hope or a name of someone they’d like to remember.

Following the “Red Flag” ceremony, the main event will take place at 6:30 p.m. in Bowman Hall Room 137.

Jayita Datta and John Schell, psychologists from University Health Services, will be the featured speakers.

Landis said it was important for the TWLOHA Kent State to bring more attention to depression and suicide.

“It will show people what is available to them and give them the resources they need if they’re struggling like Natalie was,” Landis said.

The event will end with an open memorial for Weber, where any friends and family can speak about her life. Eight of Weber’s immediate family members plan to be in attendance, Landis said.

“I’m glad [the family is] going to be able to make it and see how our campus is honoring her,” Landis said. “I know dealing with a suicide is one of the hardest things to go through.”

After the event in Bowman Hall, people will gather at the rock on Front Campus at 7:30 for a candlelight vigil.

Contact Lindsy Neer at [email protected] and Nicole Aikens at [email protected].