Boston College students from various service and faith groups around campus came organized FAST week (Faith, Action, Solidarity Together) on March 15 thorough March 21. A sustainability event and challenge hosted by the Puebla trip and a traditional Central American dinner and storytelling hosted by the Nicaragua trip were included among the many events.
On Tuesday night, Arrupe kicked off the week with an event that included a Skype meeting with the Puebla in-country coordinator, Arturo, who works with Community Links International. Arturo discussed the practical benefits of sustainability in the Puebla community, where composting and recycling rainwater are a regular part of their everyday lives. He also described the importance of BC students accompanying their partners in Puebla in the effort towards sustainability. The video discussion with Arturo was followed by a panel of professors from the sociology and environmental science departments, who discussed various ways students here can make small lifestyle changes that have a potentially huge impact. Professor Schlor talked about the importance of simply spending time outside, getting to know your ecosystem, and becoming acquainted with what’s around us. She also discussed the importance of composting, emphasizing the fact that the conveyor belt in Lower offers composting all the time, though many students don’t know that. All three professors talked about the emissions caused by the production of meat and dairy, and suggested cutting back on meat—especially beef—as a great way to significantly reduce one’s carbon emissions.
The event Tuesday was followed by five days of sustainability challenges in which students could take on one task each day and share it with the Puebla group using a Snapchat account.
On Monday night, the last night of FAST week, Arrupe Nicaragua gathered in the Cabaret room for a night of storytelling and pupusas. Participant Isaiah Anderson, MCAS ’17, welcomed everyone and served as a host for the night, passing the microphone off to various other students to share their stories of the moments that broke their heart and the people they fell in love with around Nicaragua. Kyle William, MCAS ’18, shared a story of their bus driver, who had survived an accident several years earlier. His story illuminated the man’s strong faith and his desire to serve and protect the students in his van. Abbie Clavin, CSOM ‘18, talked about her experience at the Miraflor women’s community, in which they got to see and learn about a coffee farm, as well as the scholarship program they have to put local young women through school. Finally, Catherine Coffee, MCAS ’16, talked about her host sister, a young girl who—though she spoke no English—bonded deeply with Coffee, reminding her of the unequal opportunities between children in Nicaragua and children in America. Participant Cameron Howe, MCAS ’18, said that he was “very moved by the number of people who really came with open hearts and open minds ready to not only hear our stories but engage us in discussion with their own stories and experiences,” and that “the event allowed for the dialogue to continue and, in some ways, really take off rather than come to an end.”
Overall, these two Arrupe groups embodied the purpose of FAST week, by inviting people at BC to stand and act in solidarity with those they met in Latin America.