Project Pumpkin will be held with a twist this year, as Wake Forest students go off campus on Oct. 28 to provide fun activities and candy for children.
Students will partner with the city to host fall festivals at five Winston-Salem recreation centers. Even though the annual event won’t be held in its traditional on-campus location, student leaders are excited about it.
“The pandemic has allowed us to redesign the event so that we … participate in a Fall Festival hosted by the city of Winston-Salem,” said Camden Jordan, a senior psychology and communication major from Raleigh. “While this new event has similar characteristics to previous years, it presents an opportunity for Wake students to go out into the community.”
Jordan and Morgan Jacobi, a senior economics major, statistics and art history minor from Bethesda, Maryland, are serving as head pumpkins for Project Pumpkin, which is sponsored by the Office of Civic & Community Engagement.
“We’ve been working hard with our adviser, Brad Shugoll, steering co-chairs, Wake Forest faculty and local community leaders to ensure this event is successful,” said Jacobi. Among her specific duties are overseeing fundraising and transportation.
Money raised by Project Pumpkin supports the Wake Forest Freedom School, a free, literacy-based summer program that brings rising third through eighth-grade students to campus and encourages a love of reading and learning. With a theme of “I Can Make A Difference,” the Integrated Reading Curriculum affirms scholars with engaging literature and exposure to the broader community.
Donations may be made to Project Pumpkin by going here. You can also buy an event t-shirt with proceeds benefiting The Freedom School. Shugoll, associate director of service and leadership in the OCCE, said holding Project Pumpkin on campus this year wasn’t feasible given the pandemic and the fact that COVID-19 vaccines only recently became available for younger children. Started in 1988, Project Pumpkin traditionally brings hundreds of local children to celebrate on the University’s Hearn Plaza.
“We identified what was already happening in the community and how we could partner with the city,” Shugoll said. “Our students will set up booths, hold fun activities and distribute candy at recreation centers where the city of Winston-Salem is sponsoring Fall Festivals.”
Project Pumpkin will support Fall Festivals from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 28 at the following Winston-Salem recreation centers: Hanes Hosiery, Sprague Street, South Fork, Carl H. Russell, Sr., and William Roscoe Anderson, Sr. In addition, private school-based events will be held in the afternoon at Kimberly Park Elementary School and Speas Elementary School’s after school program.
“There are so many things about Project Pumpkin that I love, especially this year … when we’ll get to interact with children in the community in a way that brings so much joy to everyone involved,” Jordan said. “I think it’s very important to plant roots wherever you’re living, even if it’s only for a short time. Project Pumpkin allows me and other Wake Forest students to give back to Winston-Salem and build deeper connections with our world while we’re here.”
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