TextLess Live More Campaign
by Claire Russell on Friday, October 25th, 2013
This past month, three Milton Academy seniors, Emmie Atwood, Kaitlin Gately, and Abby Lebovitz, launched the TextLess Live More campaign. The campaign honors Merritt Levitan, a beloved member of last year’s senior class who passed away this summer when hit by a texting driver. Textless also serves as a way to raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving and to inspire our community and others to practice disconnecting from technology and living in the moment.
The initiative asked members of the Milton Academy community to pledge to spend one academic day, from eight in the morning to three-thirty in the afternoon, cell-phone free. The day began with a moment of silence and reflection as those who made the pledge tucked away their phones and opened themselves up to the people and experiences around them.
According to Emmie, roughly 490 people in the Milton community participated in the TextLess day. Students and teachers alike eagerly joined in on the movement, seeking out the three founders throughout the weekend preceeding the event to make the pledge. That day, light blue bracelets adorned the wrists of the many participants all across campus, signifying their dedication to the cause.
The campaign had such a lasting effect on its participants that some, like Caitlin Cheng (II), chose to leave their phones off for a full 24 hours. Caitlin proclaimed that the day without her phone allowed her to be “the most relaxed [she’s] been in a while” and to hold “genuine conversations” with the people around her.
The success of the TextLess Live More campaign goes far beyond Milton Academy. According to Emmie, “Other schools are already getting involved,” including schools from California, Georgia, and Vermont. Emmie is hopeful that, for the next TextLess day, “most of the ISL schools will join us.” The founders have created a Facebook page that already has almost 800 likes, and the feedback Emmie has received about the first TextLess day has been extremely positive. She claims that people, being less distracted and more present, “talked to more people that day” and “became slightly more aware of how cell phones affect our everyday connections.”
The next TextLess day will be November 18; the founders’ goal for this event is that as close to 100% of our community will participate, raising more awareness and continuing to keep the memory of Merritt alive. A close friend of Merritt, Emmie describes her as “vibrant… so happy, so excited about everything.” When Emmie says she feels down, she likes to think of Merritt and her positive spirit. Emmie sees that “with Merritt, we don’t break in her absence, but rather come together” and claims this campaign is a “testament to Merritt’s strength.”
The love that Emmie and many others in our community feel for Merritt is empowering. The TextLess Live More campaign, with its wonderful start, is the perfect way for our community and others to practice living in the present, just as Merritt truly did. Students feel an extreme sense of pride in the initiative that the leaders Emmie, Kaitlin, and Abby are taking to make a difference not only in the Milton community but also nationally as they continue to spread awareness about the dangers of texting and driving and the value of living in the moment.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=5303