“Hope Walks Here”: Mercer student organizes third annual suicide prevention walk

By Eliza Moore April 21, 2024

The Spurlock family led over 200 participants in the Out of Darkness Campus Walk around Tatnall Square Park. Credit: Eliza Moore

On a bright Saturday morning in Tattnall Square Park, over two hundred people gathered to participate in Mercer’s 2024 Out of the Darkness Campus Walk. Every spring, thousands of people all over the country walk in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) mission to bring hope to those affected by suicide. 

Will Spurlock ‘26, the student organizer for the event, had been preparing for the walk for months. He woke early before his alarm that morning, anxiously pacing until it was time to set up tables in the park. After everyone had arrived, the teams gathered in a semi-circle for the opening ceremony. 

As Spurlock was handed the microphone, he said he could feel his hands shaking. He knew he was speaking for his younger brother, who died by suicide last year at age 15. He was speaking on behalf of his family, his own struggle with suicide and for everyone whose lives had been shadowed by this specific form of loss. 

“That walk is the most I’ve ever put myself out there with anything my whole life,” Spurlock said. “But I got up there and told the struggle of myself and my brother.” 

Spurlock is a psychology major, minoring in religion and statistics. He’s the philanthropy chair for Lambda Chi Alpha, and he’s also involved in many other organizations on campus, such as Opportunity Scholars and Mercer Club Soccer. 

“I wouldn’t say I’m well-known, but people know who I am on campus,” he said. “Everyone would see me mostly be like, happy, joking, like that kind of thing. And that doesn’t represent everything I’ve been through.”

By sharing his story, Spurlock wanted to remind people not to make assumptions about others and to allow themselves to be vulnerable.