Campus & Community

Stevens Prepares to ‘Glow’ for Mental Health

The Jed Foundation will host its first-ever Neon Nights fundraiser at Castle Point on March 30

Jenna Giesecke, a third-year mechanical engineering student, spent her fist year at Stevens confined in isolation due to COVID-19 restrictions. It was almost impossible for her to see friends or experience college life until The Jed Foundation (JED), an organization that promotes mental wellness, started hosting social events on campus. “When COVID was at its peak, I saw JED had planned outdoor social events at Stevens, and that’s how I made my first friend group. I tried to go to them as much as possible,” she says.

Following that first year, Giesecke returned to campus in fall 2021 for her sophomore year as an in-person student and immediately started getting involved on campus and in the community. She serves as the accessibility advocate for the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and is a member of the Order of Omega, Theta Phi Alpha, Art Installations, Student Government Association and Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

Photo of Jenna Giesecke '25 standing outside in front of treesJenna Giesecke '25

She has also taken on the role of executive director and student body Glow Chair of the Neon Nights Committee, which is organizing the first Neon Nights to benefit JED to promote mental health on college campuses across the country at Stevens on March 30. Attendees, who are encouraged to wear bright, neon clothes to “glow for mental health,” will hear personal mental health stories, visit glow zones set up across campus to pick up free neon-colored swag and hit the floor at a black light dance party to end the night.

To participate, students can register to raise funds as part of a team or as individuals. Registrants then receive assets like social media templates to help spread the word about JED and Neon Nights. Students who don’t pre-register can still attend the March 3 event for a $20 donation. Funds raised from Neon Nights will support mental health education and interventions.

“Stevens is honored to host the first-ever Neon Nights to benefit The Jed Foundation,” says Dr. Sara Klein, Vice President for Student Affairs at Stevens. “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 Jed Foundation is a nonprofit organization that helps high schools, colleges and universities evaluate and strengthen their programming and systems related to suicide prevention, mental health and more. The goal of JED is to ensure easier access to mental health resources for teens and young adults, and to educate students, families and communities to know when and how to support their peers who might be struggling with their mental health.

“We are thrilled to premiere our new fundraising initiative, Neon Nights, at Stevens,” Dr. Thea Zunick, JED’s Senior Manager of Community Engagement, says. “The last few years have been especially hard on college students who lost integral moments in their young lives. Neon Nights is a carefree, fun night for students to come together as a community and share perspectives and support to one another as a reminder that no one is alone.”