Sigma Pi presents Shots Against Suicide

Isaiah Herard

Western Illinois University’s chapter of Sigma Pi fraternity is planning their first annual philanthropy Shots Against Suicide, an event that will raise awareness and money for suicide prevention.

Sigma Pi philanthropy chairman Marcus Taliaferro encourages all members of the Western Illinois community to enjoy the events of Shots Against Suicide, raise awareness for suicide prevention and possibly win a Buffalo Wild Wings gift card up to $60.

“There is a 3-on-3 (basketball) tournament where students get to play against each other in a single elimination tournament,” Taliaferro said. “The others events are a knockout challenge where players will compete in a fast-paced free throw competition. The third event is Around the World, where players will compete in a spot challenge. The goal is to raise awareness for suicide prevention and have fun while doing it.”

All proceeds benefit the Amazing Day foundation, Sigma Pi’s national philanthropy. It is a foundation that is dedicated to reducing suicide among college students each year.

According to Taliaferro, people are oblivious to the suicide rate among college campuses, often times belittling or overlooking the amount of people ending their own lives.

“There are more than 1,000 suicides on college campuses across the United States each year,” Taliaferro said. “My (fraternity) brothers and I believe that it is important to raise awareness to prevent suicide. The more information we can pass on to others, the more others can help other students who are facing problems.”

Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez recently committed suicide while serving a life sentence at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. Taliaferro hopes that Shots Against Suicide can serve as a medium to avoid succumbing to feelings of hopelessness.

“It’s very unfortunate that Aaron Hernandez took his own life, even under the circumstances that he was faced with,” Taliaferro said. “But just like the thousands of others that commit suicide each year, most often they are faced with tremendous pressure and can’t see another way to escape those pressures. We are hoping to bring awareness to this by letting others know that there are resources out there that can help with teaching those that feel hopeless that they can get through the pressures that they’re facing.”

According Taliaferro, Sigma Pi does not want to limit Shots Against Suicide to other Greek organizations but the whole community of Western Illinois University.

“Most Greek Life organizations on campus only reach to other Greek life organizations to come to their philanthropy events,” Taliaferro said. “We are looking to reach out to the whole Western Illinois campus.”

Taliaferro said losing his fraternity brother Kevin Reiff to suicide inspired Sigma Pi to raise awareness and encourage at least one person to overcome the hardships they encounter in life.

“Our fraternity was personally affected by suicide,” Taliaferro said. “This event will be dedicated to our brother Kevin Reiff and his family and others who have lost loved ones because of suicide.”

Shots Against Suicide will take place on April 25 from 5-9 p.m. in the Student Recreational Center. To sign up, contact Marcus Taliaferro: 773-988-3455 or