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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Remembering those we have lost

Annual Black Out Day takes place on Hawk Hill.

About 50 St. Joe’s students and faculty members participated in Black Out Day on Oct. 25, an annual day of silence in honor of those who no longer have a voice because of alcoholism, or are afraid to use theirs, because of the stigma associated with the issue.

Black Out Day is facilitated by the Wellness, Alcohol, and Drug Education Program (WADE). It has been held annually on St. Joe’s campus since Katie Bean, assistant director of WADE, joined the university in 2011.

Students and faculty who participated in the event wore a Black Out Day shirt which WADE gives to participants for free when they attend an information session. Additionally, participants had the option of wearing a sticker and handing out a small piece of paper explaining why they would not be speaking from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Bean explained the main purpose of Black Out Day is to raise awareness and spark conversations about the impact that alcohol-related issues have in the St. Joe’s community.

“The power it has is that it also connects people,” Bean said. “You think, ‘Oh, I’m not alone in this.’”

Black Out Day involves more than just not speaking. Participants were also unable to communicate in any form. They couldn’t text, email or use social media.

Black Out Day shirts worn by participants (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

Bean encouraged participants not to hide in their rooms in order to escape the urge to communicate.

“Don’t isolate yourself,” Bean told participants. “Do what you normally do. If you usually get lunch with your friends, go do that and sit in silence.”

Michael Alleruzzo, a visiting instructor of management, participated in Black Out Day last year. While Black Out Day fell on a day when he did not teach, he said if it had, he would have asked the department chair to step in for him.

“I would have him say I am not here and that they will learn about why that is later,” he said. “It’ll create that shock value where they’ll think, ‘What if something devastating happened?’”

Claudine Andre ’18 participated in Black Out Day her first year at St. Joe’s alongside a few of her friends. She said people around her struggled more with her silence than she did.

“The only thing that’s there is your presence,” Andre said. “It’s like when someone actually passes away.”

Alexis Wilson ’19 has participated in Black Out Day every year since she started at St. Joe’s. She said shedding light on alcoholism is important, especially in a college setting.

“Substance abuse isn’t something you can always see, but it’s a huge issue that affects college communities,” Wilson said. “It just made me more aware of people on campus.”

Bean explained when one person speaks out, another person feels like they can too. It creates a ripple effect which allows students to feel safe on campus.

“There’s power behind saying, ‘Me too,’” Bean said.

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