After successful pilot program at Stevens Institute of Technology, JED encourages college campuses across the U.S. to “glow for mental health”
[March 31, 2023-Hoboken, New Jersey and New York, New York]— The Jed Foundation (JED), a leading national nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults, announces its Neon Nights initiative, a signature event series that encourages participants to glow for mental health. This is an event made for students and led by students in which they raise awareness and essential funds – independently or in teams—using donation pages to support JED, equipping more young people to help themselves, support one another, and overcome mental health challenges.
The initiative launched after a successful pilot at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. On March 30, 2023, 70 participants attended the opening ceremony for this inaugural event with students and special guests sharing stories about mental health and raising more than $13,000. Afterwards, a colorful parade lit up the Stevens campus with volunteers and sponsors stationed at “Glow Zones” along the route to distribute free neon-colored swag. The parade then transitioned into a dance party with DJ and black lights, ensuring each student shined.
“Stevens Institute of Technology is honored to host the first-ever Neon Nights to benefit The Jed Foundation,” said Dr. Sara Klein, Vice President for Student Affairs at Stevens Institute of Technology. “In 2018, we adopted the JED Campus framework to foster positive student mental health and combat suicide. Every day we see the benefits of facilitating a shared culture of wellness, inclusion and student success, which is perfectly aligned with The Jed Foundation’s mission. Stevens is thrilled to continue our meaningful partnership with JED through Neon Nights.”
“The last few years have been especially hard on college students who lost integral moments in their young lives,” said Dr. Thea Zunick, JED’s Senior Manager of Community Engagement.
“Neon Nights is a carefree, fun night for students to come together as a community and share perspectives and support with one another as a reminder that no one is alone.”
A new higher education survey of students, faculty, and staff revealed a further decline in mental health on campus. Additional research shows three out of every four college students experience moderate to severe psychological distress, with more than half reporting feelings of loneliness and 13% having serious suicidal thoughts.
Twenty-year-old Jenna Giesecke, a rising junior at Stevens and Neon Nights Student Body Executive Director, said this event was just what she and her classmates needed to reconnect and create new memories.
“Struggling with mental health issues can be isolating. I was worried about coming to college, unsure if anyone would understand what I was going through,” said Giesecke. “At Stevens, I’ve found a community that genuinely cares about my well-being, and I’m forever grateful for my time here. Neon Nights is a way to give back to a community that has given me so much. I want other students to know that they matter and that things do get better.”
In 2022, Stevens received the prestigious Active Minds Healthy Campus Award, which recognizes Stevens’ commitment to the physical and mental health of its students and as one of the healthiest college campuses in the nation.
The next event will occur on April 13 at the University of Tampa. JED is looking forward to making this event an annual occurrence at campuses across the country as it continues working with over 450 colleges/universities and over five million students across 40 states (including the District of Columbia), serving at least 25% of the higher education student population.
For more information on Neon Nights, visit us on Instagram @NeonNights_LetsGlow, @neonnights_stevens or @jedfoundation. To learn about sponsorship opportunities, donations, and more, contact JED’s Senior Manager of Community Engagement Dr. Thea Zunick at email@example.com.
About The Jed Foundation
JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. We’re encouraging community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health.
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Director, Public Relations, The Jed Foundation