Meet Madeline Freeman, a current student at CU Boulder and Founder of the NoSo November campaign. NoSo November is a campaign that challenges individuals to log off all social media accounts for the entire month of November in order to educate the public on the impact social media has on mental health and in an effort to spread suicide awareness.
Madeline is from Littleton, Colorado, and is studying Management at the Leeds School of Business. During her freshman year at CU Boulder, she found herself drawn to innovation and entrepreneurship programs on campus. Prior to pursuing the NoSo November campaign, Madeline ran a small business on Etsy selling scrunchies with hidden velcro pockets and competed in the New Venture Challenge and Get Seed Funding (GSF) competitions. She was awarded funding through GSF. Madeline continued her entrepreneurial pursuit by running her scrunchie venture on her own after the competitions ended.
Madeline came up with the idea for NoSo November after watching the informative documentary, The Social Dilemma. She signed herself up for the documentary’s mailing list and learned about a competition they were hosting, titled the LookUp/Social Dilemma competition, that encouraged people to submit technology-related innovations that could benefit communities. Madeline pitched the NoSo November campaign, and was selected as the winner! She received grant funding and now works alongside The Social Dilemma team! They have been working nonstop to prepare for the nationwide launch of NoSo November this fall.
About NoSo November
During high school, Madeline lost a number of friends to suicide. She felt that her high school was not proactive in taking measures to prevent suicide or bring awareness to it. She wrote a petition to her school district voicing her concerns which resulted in the school allowing her to generate ideas to address the issues. Madeline and the school district created new programs for students, made more of an effort to bring awareness to suicide, and even implemented a trial run of NoSo November. The trial run was proven to be extremely successful as students’ mental health improved as they replaced their time on social media with healthier activities.
Since winning the LookUp/Social Dilemma competition, The Social Dilemma team has been advising Madeline while she has been preparing to launch NoSo November nationwide in fall 2021. Madeline is in charge of all marketing efforts and the development of the campaign. Madeline interviewed the Director of The Social Dilemma, Jeff Orlowski, for the campaign’s official educational video that will be shown in schools across the country. The video addresses challenges with social media and the mental health crisis and encourages viewers to participate in the challenge. They hope to educate students and schools on suicide awareness and take action to prevent it.
The NoSo November campaign will launch nationwide this November. Madeline encourages everyone to sign up for the campaign through their website and challenges each individual to take part in the movement.
Madeline will also be guest speaking at various high schools to educate students about suicide awareness and prevention. She has also participated in an MTV interview which you can view here!
During the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic quarantine, Madeline lost five friends, most being to suicide. Coping with the loss of her friends has proven to be extremely difficult. Losing her friends during the pandemic played a large role in the creation of NoSo November. Madeline elaborated on this challenging time,
“One of the biggest challenges was dealing with the grief of losing five friends while running a project of this scale. This project has helped me mask the grief, especially with how successful things have been, but at the same time, things behind the scenes are really complex. The Covid-19 quarantine contributed a lot to my personal mental health crisis.”
Madeline also explained that remaining motivated was a challenge, despite how passionate she is about the NoSo November campaign.
Advice For Current Students
Madeline provides the following advice for students,
“Really put yourself out there! I think a lot of people try to stay behind the scenes or are too nervous to participate. It’s understandable but it's challenging to grow as a person that way. If you want to succeed, you need to reach for every opportunity that comes your way. It’s trial and error that will get you where you want to be.”