Beginning Monday on this week, students from Arrupe, Appalachia, 4Boston, Jamaica Magis, and the Volunteer Service and Learning Center will host a seven-day series of events in an attempt to help students find closure after returning from service trips. F.A.S.T. Week—Faith, Action, Solidarity, Today—brings together 10 events and numerous speakers throughout the week and addresses current issues such as immigration, gang violence, and homophobia.
“People get back from service and they have all these feelings, have all these questions,” said Maggie Moran, student organizer of F.A.S.T. Week and LSOE ’16. “These events are trying to figure out how to bring that into your daily life, how do you bring that into your career after BC.”
As opposed to addressing these questions as separate service groups—as has been the norm in the past—student leaders wanted to make the process of reflection as collaborative as possible by addressing overarching themes, said Jacqueline Parisi, one of the student organizers and A&S ‘15.
“Rather, the goal was to see what groups could come together first within the Arrupe program
and then beyond to other campus ministry and VSLC programs in order to more effectively respond to certain themes,” Parisi said in an email.
In a prayer that is often attributed to Pedro Arrupe, he says to fall in love and to stay in love, and that love will eventually decide everything. The most difficult aspect of this lifestyle is staying in love, according to the organizers of F.A.S.T. Week. When applied to service trips, Parisi said that the difficulty lies in remaining in solidarity with those being served after students return.
“The overarching question that is common to them all is that ‘We experienced all of this, we saw all of this, we’re angry about it, we’re upset, now what—what do we do and how to we honor what we saw and carry that with us, i.e. service beyond the trip?’” Moran said.
For Arrupe students, F.A.S.T. week is all about beginning to answer the questions of how students can practically and authentically incorporate their service experiences into their everyday lives. Parisi is hopeful that the spirit of F.A.S.T. week extends past the last event and into the lives of participants. The end goal is for students to be able to transition from living the questions they return with to living the answers they eventually hope to find, she said.
The organizers hope that bringing in alumni from the various service organizations to share their experiences in living in solidarity will be beneficial to students seeking answers to that question. Moran said that most people aren’t going to go and dedicate two years of their lives after graduation heavily involved in service, but that service doesn’t have to necessarily be the manual labor in a third-world country—it can be as simple as changing the way one interacts with colleagues and those around.
“The question is: Are you going to continue doing service during your daily life—or if you can’t, how are you going to live your life in a different way because of what you saw or did,? Moran said.
Featured Image courtesy of Kat Clarke