For many students, these upcoming weeks are filled with visions of friends, family, delicious food and holiday cheer. The members of the on-campus club Arrupe, however, have a little something extra to look forward to; these next few weeks will see them gearing up for the trip they’ve been waiting for all semester.
“It’s sort of in the back of my mind,” says Arrupe member Mike Mostowy, MCAS '18. “But every time I see the people in my small group around campus, I get so excited thinking about the trip.”
You’ve seen them: the Arrupe tables that appear in dining halls entrances, manned by eager club members and a card swiper ready to take donations from students’ meal plans. However, the club is so much more than what many Boston College students see of it in these limited bursts of mealtime fundraising.
Arrupe is a club with a focus on small group communities that partake in faith-based reflections every week. The close bonds formed in these small communities are what draw many people in to join, but it’s no secret that a key component of the club is the series of immersion trips taken by the different small groups during the last few days of winter break. Not to be confused with service trips, Arrupe’s expeditions aim to provide an immersive experience in the realities of other countries.
“A lot of people associate immersion with service,” says Mostowy, who is headed to Belize at the end of the break in January. “But we aren’t promising to be like, ‘Oh, I’m a student from Boston College, and I’m here to come in and revolutionize your life,’" he says. "Immersion is just as important as service because we need to see how these people live in order to assess their problems.”
As far as fundraising, Arrupe holds “point drives” that extend far beyond the reaches of just tables in Mac, Lower or Stuart dining halls. “My group sold baked goods at a tailgate this year for our first fundraiser, which honestly wasn't bad and felt more like a bonding experience,” says club member Shanzi Mahmood, MCAS '18.
Now, with finals week flying by and the immersion trips quickly approaching, Arrupe members are setting all the final pieces into place and focusing on the logistics of the trip. “I can’t believe that I had my last meeting before the trip just a few days ago,” says Mahmood. “It definitely seems surreal that I'll be in Belize in less than a month.”
With Mahmood and Mostowy both heading abroad in the upcoming weeks with their Arrupe small communities, neither can seem to contain their excitement for what is to come. The exact agenda of what Arrupe members will do during the day is unclear--but that’s the point. The trip leaders maintain an air of mystery about the specific details to ensure that club members will go into the experience with an open mind.
“I just know that no matter what my experience is, it’s gonna be great, even if I don’t get out of it what I thought I was going to,” says Mostowy. “Honestly, I’m more excited for my Arrupe trip than I am for opening my presents on Christmas morning.”