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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Augustana chapter.

When Haley DeGreve and Kevin Donovan kicked off their mental-health advocacy in 2018, they had no idea that what started as a poster campaign on a small college campus would snowball into a worldwide nonprofit. The Gray Matters Collective, which celebrated the fifth anniversary of that first campaign this February, began with a handful of students who wanted to stand up and speak out about the challenges and pressures faced by so many people and became a worldwide effort to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention. The “One More Light” event, hosted by Augustana College’s Gray Matters chapter on February 15th, featured tables from many therapy & mental health organizations, powerful messages from Gray Matters members, and the ever-important theme that one group, one person, one moment can change someone else’s entire future. 

My favorite moment was the skit performed by students from schools across Illinois. Using only body language, blinking flashlights, and Linkin Park’s “One More Light,” they emphasized the importance of suicide prevention and intervention for those facing potentially harmful situations like substance abuse and homophobia without ever saying a word. By the time the song (and the skit) came to an end, with the little lights shining bright in the dark room, I’m sure I wasn’t the only person crying. 

It’s important to remember that anyone, at any time, may be struggling with mental health. If you feel alone or hopeless, please remember that you are loved, and you are important. Like the story of the starfish on the beach, and the child who is told they cannot possibly save everyone, that they cannot make a difference – they really did make a difference to each one they returned to the sea. If you need help, don’t hesitate to talk to your friends and family or to seek professional help. If you’d like to reach out to the Gray Matters Collective, there’s contact information and resources available on their website, https://thegraymatterscollective.com/, or find them @thegraymatterscollective on Instagram!

Beautiful images from the event by Wezz De La Rosa Photography can be found on their Facebook or on the Gray Matters Instagram page.

Kaitlin Troha

Augustana '26

Hi! My name is Kaitlin, and I’m a sophomore at Augustana College. I graduated from Wheaton North High School in 2022. I’ve declared a major in environmental science and a minor in Spanish, but I’m still exploring other options like WGSS. Outside of class, I like to rollerblade (which I have yet to attempt on campus), spend time with my friends, listen to music and read from my ever-growing collection of books, both at home and in the library. I also participate in HerCampus Augustana, Sierra Club, and hope to seek out more extracurricular opportunities as I balance my work and school schedules. I’ve been writing for student publications since middle school, so I’ve covered a wide range of topics over the years. My preferred writing topics include books (reviews, new publications, recommendations… everything!), environmental and social activism, and so much more!