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Otterbein student makes music to fight for mental health

Music is used to cope following a friend's suicide

Otterbein student Whitney Burton makes music in hopes to keep the legacy alive of a late friend. 

Burton is a musician and has written music since 2014, playing music ranging from alternative rock, to folk, to punk. They are a guitar player who has recorded and played local shows in both their hometown of Marietta and in Columbus. 

Burton plays in the band Sadster, a group formed in their hometown. This past November, they played bass with the band Sparky & the Hills at Riley Auditorium in Battelle on campus.

“Music is a form of coping and is therapeutic for me,” Burton said. “Writing helps relieve some stress that builds up from being quarantined. I'm trying to work on some rough recordings of song ideas that hopefully I can elaborate on when it's safer." 

On Burton’s left arm is a tattoo of a circle and the date ‘1/6/17.’ On that day, Burton was a junior attending Marietta High School. Burton lost their close friend that same day. 

“My tattoo reminds me of him everyday so my memories of him are always in the corner of my eye,” Burton said. “You always have those people in your life who, intentional or not, guide you through things or are the reasons behind you doing things.” 

During the months that followed, Burton planned a concert in Marietta to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide. 

Very much like a tattoo, Burton still lives with the thought of their friend everyday. They are able to integrate their passion for music with what they do here on campus and at Otterbein.

Burton, a Junior Literary Studies and Creative Writing double major, has been an Orientation Leader and a member of Quiz & Quill on campus. In addition, they are an active member of the local fraternity Sigma Delta Phi. 

“All of those groups have led me to meet so many great people. A lot of my best friends have come from getting involved,” Burton said. “In the future if I get a job in higher education, which is the goal, I plan on doing the most I can to work with students who need someone to go to and help them the best I can.” 

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