Azeb Freitas '17: No Community Without Unity

February 16, 2017

Azeb Freitas

We caught up with Azeb about the importance of community service.

What's your major at Simmons?

I'm majoring in business management and minoring in organizational studies, music history and arts administration.

What made you choose Simmons?

Eventually I want to become a CEO or an influential leader in the world and Simmons has a great undergraduate business program for women. I believe there needs to be more representation of women and women of color in leadership positions. I want to help create pathways for all people to have a chance at what they want to achieve. Simmons has allowed me to have experiences and opportunities that make me feel equipped, qualified and ready to take on the challenges that come with that goal.

Tell us about your experience with community service. 

I started as a tutor in the America Learns program at the Tobin School through the Scott/Ross Center. In the spring semester of my first year I became the Undergraduate Assistant in the Scott/Ross Center, a role I currently hold. Right now I'm working on finding ways to increase the number of Alternative Spring Break programs available at Simmons.

My sophomore year I joined Alternative Spring break and co-led last year's trip to Thibodaux, LA. Alternative Spring Break consists of traveling to another state and working with Habitat for Humanity during spring break to build houses. Throughout the year we did a lot of fundraising and team bonding in preparation for the trip.

As Sister of Community Outreach with the Black Student Organization (BSO), one of my duties is to ensure we do one community service event each semester. We've volunteered with Belle of the Ball and worked with Strong Women, Strong Girls to teach their students about why groups like BSO exist and are important. Currently we're having a Haiti Relief Drive to send items to Haiti in response to the natural disaster that recently occurred.

I've taken three service-learning classes that have allowed me to work lots of organizations in Boston. One of my favorite experiences was working with Best Bees. We learned about the bee crisis and what's being done to support urban beekeeping in Boston and nationwide. We helped construct new beehives, chap-stick and candles out of beeswax — and created a proposal for the city of Cambridge to refer to when they created their urban beekeeping laws.

What made you get involved in community service?

I believe in giving back to those who have helped me get to where I am. A small action can make a huge difference and now more than ever the world needs more love. You can't spell community without unity and service unites us.

What are some lessons you've learned from community service?

There are so many ways you can contribute to service and not even notice you're doing it. You can do service in a community garden or volunteering at a food bank. It can be raising money for a cause through an event or leading an activity that educates people on a topic that socially impacts a community. It can be having a clothes swap or a potluck with the people who live on your floor. It's all about demonstrating inclusiveness and support for each other.

What's your Simmons moment?

The post-election response from the entire Simmons community. There were so many events the day after the election that gave people space to process what just happened. The panel discussion led by the Political Science Department was the part of the day I realized how lucky I was to be part of this community. I don't know who I would have gone to for support if I wasn't here. Being immersed in a room with respectful, like-minded individuals was affirmation of the people who make up Simmons and I was proud to be a part of it.