Many members of the Freeman community have been forced to change their usual routines as a result of virtual learning this year. Most classes at Freeman have had a relatively smooth transition to virtual learning, but what about the class that requires being on campus more than any other? Thanks to sponsor Mr. Robjent and Co-Presidents Olivia Wallace (12) and Drew Bryner (11), The Freeman Project is no exception.
As a class that usually operates by improving the campus in various ways through community service, The Freeman Project had to take a different approach to virtual learning. The members of The Freeman Project are not able to be on campus every day like usual, so their community service tasks had to be expanded beyond Freeman’s grounds. The class now focuses on helping the community in and around Freeman.
At the beginning of virtual learning this school year, the Co-Presidents decided to use shared Google drives and Google Meets as mediums for brainstorming and solidifying members’ ideas for community service.
Senior and first-year member Jake Taylor is one member who came up with an idea to help the community beyond Freeman. His idea, which he shared on the first day of class, was to bake and deliver cookies for the residents of the Westport Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
Jake was excited to see his idea turn into reality so quickly. Jake said that he “was trying to achieve The Freeman Project’s goals, and the first idea I spitballed worked, so that was nice.” With the help of six other group members from the class, The Freeman Project baked and delivered over 350 cookies to the Westport Rehabilitation and Nursing Center on Nov. 3. The group of volunteers was energetic and willing to help the community as they represented Freeman. “We had a great, motivated group of individuals who were willing to give up their time to make cookies,” Jake said.
Not all of the Freeman Project’s tasks have been off-campus, however. In October, a team of members went to the campus to repaint railings outside the big gym, the architecture room, and the bike rack, where the paint needed a fresh coat after years of wear and tear. The Freeman Project also plans on continuing their usual on-campus duties once in-person learning returns.
The Freeman Project also expanded its social media presence in response to virtual learning. Senior and first-year member Jack Parkhurst took up the job of running the social media page for The Freeman Project. Since his leadership of their social media began, The Freeman Project’s Instagram page has gained over 30 followers, increasing awareness of the class and its mission. Jack said, “I’m trying to bring a new face to The Freeman Project, and I think people are receiving it very well.”
Co-Presidents Olivia Wallace and Drew Bryner, who have both been members since their sophomore year, faced the task of organizing the operations of The Freeman Project virtually. According to Olivia, “The Freeman Project has always [run] really well through the close relationships within the class and it was at first difficult to mimic this in an online environment.” To overcome the difficulties that come with online communication, Drew said that the class has been “traveling out in our community to help improve other schools along with ours.”
The Freeman Project was successful in its attempt to maintain its values of community service this year. Olivia said that virtual learning “has forced Mr. Robjent, Drew, and I to reconsider how this class could possibly run.” She continued, “It took a little bit, but through discussing old projects and new projects, and getting these new members involved, the class is starting to work super well.”