Students are raising awareness in honor of a late Roswell Friend.
A group of students is utilizing a class project in an effort to raise awareness about suicide, and honor the memory of a graduate who died just before the semester began.
Days after he was declared missing by friends and family, Roswell Friend, a broadcast telecommunications and mass media major who graduated last spring, was found dead in the Delaware River, on Aug. 22.
Alexa Ahram, a senior entrepreneurial marketing major, said she and three other friends found a way to honor their late friend.
Ahram said she, T.J. DiLeo and Rodrigo Mirandra became friends with Friend a few years ago, through Temple athletics. Friend was a member of the men’s track team.
Anna Bondarenko, a senior marketing major who was also a friend of Roswell’s, gravitated toward the other three students in Jean Wilcox’s entrepreneurial marketing class.
The assignment given in Wilcox’s class, the 10-10-10 project, was to form a marketing and business plan to raise money for a charity chosen by the student.
“We collaborated with each other because a lot of people have problems and don’t really let those problems be known,” Bondarenko said. “Roswell was literally the life of the party. He had so many friends.”
The friends decided to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Roswell’s honor, under a initiative “friends4friend.”
“Personally, I knew what I had to do seeing as though Roswell has just passed away only weeks before the beginning of this project,” Ahrem said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy topic to discuss or raise awareness for. We decided to raise awareness and funds about the subject through promoting fun events for a good cause, and by constantly telling Roswell’s story.”
The group’s first event was a campus gathering, at which the members exceeded their fundraising goal to raise at least $1,000.
The group’s second fundraiser was tabling in Alter Hall. At the event, members sold raffle tickets for Philadelphia 76ers memorabilia, as well as a Temple basketball gift basket.
“We kicked off our ‘friends4friend Weekend,’ on Dec. 1 at Mad River Old City where we guest bartended and also collected money at the door,” Ahrem said.
Ahrem said the group donated its tips and is waiting on the final tally from the money made at the door. Ahrem said she expects to have made approximately $200.
On Dec. 2, ‘friends4friend’ members held their “Out of the Darkness Day,” in which they dressed in black and remained silent for the entire day in order to shed light on the issues related to the dangers of suicide.
“Overall, this has been a very rewarding experience for my group members and I,” Ahrem said. “We wish to pass this project on to another group next semester in order to keep the initiative going. It feels good to be able to let Roswell’s story and legacy at Temple live on, and also potentially open up people’s eyes to the significance of suicide.”
Dominique Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.