Plastic Caps for Suicide Awareness

In memory of the UW-Platteville students who have lost their lives to suicide, students aim to collect 250 pounds of recyclable plastic.
Lecturer Nancy Hammermeister is the person overseeing this effort. At UW-Platteville, she currently teaches political science courses and four UWPSTUDY 1010 courses. Suicide awareness is a cause important to Hammermeister. Therefore, it is her personal goal to raise awareness and spread a positive message to the community.
In an interview, Hammermeister revealed the motivation behind this project of hers, saying: “I was inspired by a friend of mine from Sheboygan who lost [her child] to suicide.” She explained how this friend of hers created a plastic collection project, which she hopes to re-create at UW Platteville.
Once Hammermeister and her students reach their goal of 250 pounds, they will have their plastic made into a bench and placed on campus. The bench will serve as a reminder that many people are affected by suicide.
Engraved on the bench will be a message along the lines of: “Something that acknowledges the importance of suicide awareness and that we have lost students” explains Hammermeister. “Hopefully, the bench brings awareness to [the cause] and how important it is.”
The company that will be making this bench, is named Green Tree Plastics. While helping people with their goals, Green Tree plastics is also dedicated to educating people about recycling and being environmentally friendly. Therefore, Green Tree Plastics only accepts plastic caps and lids to make their benches. The idea behind using these items is that many recycling facilities do not accept them. Often, caps and lids end up in landfills depending on the recycling companies they go to. Because of this, Professor Hammermeister’s project is also helping the environment.
Right now, Hammermeister is encouraging her 80 UWPSTUDY 1010 students to collect plastic caps alongside her. However, she encourages others to participate as well. Since this effort is relatively new, Hammermeister and her students are continuously working hard and will take all the help they can get in meeting their goal of 250 pounds.
As for this project’s main cause, suicide is a growing problem at colleges nationwide. According to the US National Library of Medicine, approximately 1,100 college students die from suicide each year, as suicide is currently the second most cause of death among college students. Because of this, UW Platteville has multiple resources available to its students.
The main resource provided by the school is Counseling Services, which is located in Royce Hall. Students are encouraged to get counseling if they are feeling depressed or anxious for any reason. To make an appointment with the University Counseling Services (UCS), students can call (608) 342-1891 to schedule a HIPAA-compliant Zoom meeting.
Also available to students, are the mental health events held by UCS. These events can be found near the bottom of the Pioneer Portal website, or by going to One current event being held is the “Drop-in Anxiety Skills Group” which meets at 4:00 pm on Wednesdays. Because of the coronavirus, these meetings are held through Zoom rather than in person.
Despite the current situation, people still care and are looking to help others. Mental health is a priority to many in the UW Platteville Community.