"Everyone has your back and helps you with anything you need."
In the summer before her sophomore year at SNHU, Alyssa Caruso lost a close family member to suicide.
A year later, Alyssa organized the Walk for Hope, a 5K fundraising walk through her hometown of North Attleborough, Mass. Through the event, she sought to raise awareness about suicide and depression while offering hope to those in despair.
"When I came back to school sophomore year, I learned that so many of my friends had friends who had taken their own lives," Alyssa says. "I thought something needed to be done about it."
A hospitality business major with an interest in event planning, Alyssa used the skills she learned in her classes to organize the walk, which drew more than 100 participants, raised $3,000 and garnered positive local media attention in its first year. The proceeds benefited the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Alyssa consulted her SNHU hospitality professors for advice while organizing the walk and credits them with offering her encouragement and moral support. A few words from one mentor, Dr. Ravi Pandit, inspired her.
"He told me freshman year that if you want something, you can do it," she says. "And that really stuck with me, because I have always been nervous about doing things on my own. He gave me the courage to do it."