Boston College has canceled Campus Ministry’s Arrupe International Immersion service trips that were scheduled for Winter Break due to concerns about COVID-19, according to an email sent to participants on Wednesday.
“The University came to the decision today that Arrupe International Immersions will not take place in January due to covid concerns,” the email, which was obtained by The Heights, reads. “I recognize this is extremely frustrating and disheartening for you, especially with such short notice and during the stress of finals.”
The Arrupe International Immersion program is one of BC’s hallmark service-immersion experiences. The program emphasizes finding faith that seeks global justice, according to its website.
With destinations planned for Mexico and the Dominican Republic, the trips this year were designed with a focus on migration, racial justice, and sustainability, the website reads.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists four risk assessment levels for COVID-19: low, moderate, high, and very high. The CDC classifies the United States as level four, or very high risk.
Mexico and the Dominican Republic are listed as a level three, or high risk, and the CDC recommends vaccination before traveling to these countries.
The Arrupe program involves a year-long commitment in addition to the week-long service trip over Winter Break. Student participants dedicate about five hours a week, while student leaders devote six to eight hours per week. The cost of the trip includes a $700 program fee and participation in a $1,000 letter writing campaign, according to its website.
The Wednesday email said that Campus Ministry will cover the cost of change fees for participants who had already booked flights back to BC during Winter Break, as groups were set to depart from the Logan International Airport together in early January.
Participants will now return to BC with the rest of their classmates for the start of the spring semester, though they will still meet for reflection in January despite the trip’s cancellation.
“Please continue to save the date for our January 29th day of reflection as we will still gather as a community at this time,” the email reads. “Prior to January 29th, you will meet with your group at your agreed upon spring semester time to connect and process together.”
Students will also receive a refund of their program fee, be given the option to refund friends and family who donated toward the trip, and explore possible immersion alternatives for the spring semester, according to the email.
The Heights was not able to confirm if the other service immersion programs planned for Winter Break will be canceled. These programs include the Jamaica Magis trip hosted by the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center, and the Gabelli Presidential Scholars trip to Latin America during the Winter Break of their sophomore year.
Feature Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Staff