Next Year's Arrupe Leaders Announced
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 01:03
The Arrupe International Immersion Program has selected 18 students to lead service trips during the upcoming school year.
In addition to these 18 leaders, the program will send approximately 36 student participants on service, education, or community-based immersion trips to Belize, Mexico, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, or Nicaragua.
Kevin McGovern, an Arrupe Leader for next year and A&S ’14, went on his first Arrupe trip to Belize was during his sophomore year.
“We really got in touch with the culture itself and the community,” McGovern said. “At first when you’re going through the process, you recognize all the differences and dissimilarities between your in-group and what you consider to be the out-group, and between your culture and their culture. By the time we got down there … you realize the similarities between the two groups of people.”
McGovern and his group built a house for a woman named Miss Alice, who was traveling for over two hours per day into Belize City for cancer treatments. She had 27 grandchildren and desperately needed better housing. McGovern’s group worked with a charity called Hand in Hand Ministries, which supports low-income families in need of housing.
“We truly felt that we were really good friends by the time we had finished building her house ,” McGovern said. “Your relationship builds and flourishes really fast.”
After returning from his trip, McGovern felt that something was missing from his junior year experience at BC and realized that the Arrupe program had significantly impacted him the year before.
Now, as a leader, he and the 17 other students hope to facilitate a similarly meaningful experience.
“People really cared for each other and for how they could impact the rest of the world … I felt like there was no better way to get back into that than to lead and facilitate that for younger students,” he said.
Each service trip is led by two BC students, who plan extensively before the trip and meet with the adult mentors who will also be present during the trip.
“There’s this journey of figuring out how you believe or what you believe God is,” McGovern said. “There’s a really big push in the Arrupe program that God is love. There’s different ways to facilitate those things.”
Leaders are responsible for designing reflection and meditation activities around certain key points, periodically checking in with participants during the course of the trip, and helping them deal with the strong emotions that arise during the experience.
Participants are able to debrief after each day during their trip, allowing them to share their experiences and work through the complex emotions that many feel. These sessions are informal, which McGovern said allows for more much more meaningful conversations and reactions.
McGovern said that the program as a whole strives to build in students a belief in the world itself and the power that love can have in shaping it, as well as an awareness of how people in the rest of the world live and what each person’s role is in it.
“You lead a different role in the world than you might think, being in your BC bubble,” he said.