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	*Office of the President*

	April 11, 2011


/From:/// Daniel Mark Fogel, President

/To:/ The UVM Community

/Re/:*Send Silence Packing*

    Each of us---individually and as part of our University
    community---has been profoundly affected by the loss to suicide of
    those we know and love. Among college-age students, suicide claims
    1100 lives each year and is the third leading cause of death in this
    group.

    We cannot ignore this issue. We cannot afford not to bring it into
    the open, to discuss it, and to commit ourselves to doing whatever
    we can to prevent such heart-rending losses. Here is something we
    all know but rarely acknowledge, even to our closest friends and
    family members: as human beings, we commonly find ourselves in
    distress. At times, we may be pushed to places that seem
    overwhelming. To the extent that we act as though this is not the
    case, we lose the opportunity to bring a terribly important part of
    our human experience into a place where we can find relief in the
    experience and wisdom of our friends and family, and in the
    expertise of trained professionals.

    In the spirit of shedding light on the issue of mental health and
    the tragedy of suicide among college students, Active Minds, a
    student group at the University of Vermont, will be bringing *Send
    Silence Packing* to our campus. Send Silence Packing is an exhibit
    of 1,100 backpacks representing the college students lost to suicide
    each year. Many of these backpacks include a brief profile of a
    college student who was a victim of suicide. Active Minds at UVM was
    chosen to host this powerful exhibit, which will be at UVM for just
    one day, T*uesday, April 19th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.* at the
    Davis Center Amphitheater. Active Minds at UVM is one of 318
    student-run chapters nationwide organized to promote dialogue on
    mental health and to take action to reduce stigma and increase
    awareness by promoting best practices in campus suicide prevention
    strategies.

    As a learning community, we are strongly committed to supporting the
    mental and physical health of faculty, staff, and students, and to
    creating a campus culture that is open, just, and healthy. This
    commitment is embodied in the work of the President's Commission on
    Social Change, which, in close collaboration with many campus
    partners, has focused on campus-wide initiatives intended to create
    a community where people "think, care and act" in ways that are
    aligned with our highest values, standards, and aspirations. At UVM
    we understand that fulfilling our commitment to creating an even
    more caring, safe, healthy and just learning community remains our
    highest priority, and that this challenging endeavor requires all of
    us as students, faculty and staff actively to engage in what can
    succeed only as a collective undertaking.

    I strongly urge you to take some time on Tuesday, April 19th to walk
    through the Send Silence Packing exhibit and to reflect on the
    importance of bringing our conversations about mental health into
    the light of day.