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The Milton Measure

Texting Less, Reaching More

The Campaign Continues

by on Friday, October 17th, 2014

TextLess enters its second year.

On Monday, October 6, the TextLess Live More organization held its first event of the school year, with over 50 schools around the country participating. The campaign, started after the tragic death of Merritt Levitan (‘13), aims to decrease phone dependency by organizing phone-free days such as the one last Monday, detaching communities from the virtual world and reattaching them to their real ones.

At Milton, the day began with a school-wide assembly run by members of the Levitan family along with Erika Lamere (I) and Sam Madden (‘11), both close friends of Merritt. The organization has gained the attention of major and local news networks, such as ABC and Fox news, both of which filmed the assembly.

To celebrate how Merritt lived her life to the fullest, Erika, Emmie Atwood (’14), Kaitlyn Gately (’14), and Abby Lebovitz (’14) founded TextLess Live More last year. “Merritt hated crying and sadness,” says Erika, so the campaign avoids mourning her loss and focused instead on her life and legacy. This year, Erika, Olivia Bell (I), Lucy Nachmanoff (I), and Cassandra Rice (I) are leading the effort to text less and live more both on and off campus. The initiative goes far beyond Milton, however—these four students are also responsible for organizing TextLess days at more than 50 other participating high schools and colleges. “Our goal is to get into 500 this year,” said Anna Levitan, Merritt’s mother, during the assembly on Monday.

Head of School Todd Bland said, “The reaction to the TextLess campaign is interesting because we have mixed emotions. It’s connected to a loss and yet at the same time using that as an inspiration to do something. I was at a meeting with other Heads of Schools, and they were blown away by what Milton students had started.”

Milton has seen very high participation in the past TextLess days—100% of Milton’s high school students signed the pledge during one of last year’s events. Many other schools, including Milton’s rival, Nobles and Greenough School, have almost complete participation. The leaders hope to see more students wearing blue bracelets that delineate participants and supporters around campus during upcoming events. In the future, Erika anticipates that everyone in the Milton community will “not have to think twice about it, [and] just know it. The first Monday of every month is a TextLess day. It’s just what we do.”

Many students view the TextLess events as a means to revitalize their relationships with the Milton community. Justin Schwaitzberg (II) says the campaign is “a great initiative that really connects everyone on campus in a great way. I think it was a great way to honor Merritt’s passing.”

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