Campus will be covered in American flags as part of veteran suicide awareness project


Easton Thompson

Flags line the sidewalks on Wichita State’s main campus in support of Veterans. Each flag holds a tag with information from the Veterans Crisis Line.

To bring awareness to veteran suicide, the Student Veterans Organization on Monday began placing 22 United States flags per day across Wichita State’s main campus.

The daily rate of 22 flags is meant to represent the average number of veteran suicides per day. Once the SVO stops placing flags on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, the total number of flags will be 352 — an approximation of the year-to-date total of active-military suicides.

“While we are veteran and military affiliated organization, and we’re representing suicide awareness that aligns with veterans and active duty,” said SVO President Levi Schenk, “… the growing epidemic affects all populations and all cultures.”

Students who find a flag on campus are asked to post a selfie with it on the SVO’s official Facebook page and use the hashtag #SVO22.” Certain flags have cards that entitle students to a free t-shirt from the Heskett Center, and participants will be entered in a raffle for a $25 or $50 Amazon gift card. 

Victoria Gallagher, SVO’s treasurer, said veteran suicide affects the broader community.

“When a veteran commits suicide, it’s not just the immediate family — it’s the community that can be affected. It’s how they were involved with people’s lives,” she said.

As part of the Suicide Awareness Flag Hunt, SVO will also host a number of speakers from WSU, McConnell Air Force Based, and other organizations Nov. 8 at the flagpole outside Grace Wilkie Hall.