Gathered in front of St. Joseph’s Chapel on Upper Campus stands a small group of students, Charlie Cards in hand but unsure where the remainder of their Saturday evening will take them. They are a part of one of Boston College’s newest clubs, focused on spontaneity and stepping outside of the BC bubble.
Led by co-presidents Mike Wenger and Mike Kotsopoulos, both A&S ’17, s’Upper T Club is a new opportunity for the BC community to explore the potential of the areas outside of Chestnut Hill. As referred to in its name, this club centers around dinner and the MBTA on its weekly Saturday evening excursions.
Each excursion begins on the piazza outside of St. Joseph’s Chapel before it gets onto the T, unsure of where it will get off or what it will be eating that night. Wenger, Kotsopoulos, and the club’s faculty sponsor, Rev. Casey Beaumier, S.J. are the only ones who know the evening’s location until the group steps off of the T and into a restaurant.
“It could be the Red Line, the Green Line, anywhere,” Kotsopoulos said. “The goal is to find somewhere random, somewhere spontaneous, to have good food and good conversation. As long as we are with good people, that’s all that matters.”
The club’s excursions began in late March with a trip to the North End for an Italian dinner, however, it has had a longer history at BC than just this past semester. S’Upper T Club was originally created five years ago with the help of Beaumier. As its leading students graduated however, it fell into remission over the past two years. Wenger and Kotsopoulos contacted Beaumier to reestablish the club, finding value in the spontaneity and fun that characterizes each excursion.
Aside from a dinner outside of the dining halls, s’Upper T Club provides BC students an opportunity to both encounter a new place as well as new people as it brings together anyone who wants to hop on the T on a Saturday evening.
“The main focus group is freshmen, but it is an opportunity for the entire community to get off campus and to be immersed in a different community of people than you might normally be with,” Wenger said. Wenger and Kotsopoulos note that despite living together on Upper or Newton campuses, it is very easy to become stagnant within a friend group later in one’s freshman year-a problem they think that s’Upper T Club can fix.
“The club is able to extend that first initial feeling as a freshman where you are very willing and open to meet new people,” Wenger said. “As freshman year progresses, you can get into a group of friends, but people aren’t necessarily content with that, so this is an opportunity to continue to be open to new and different people who you aren’t necessarily entrenched with on a day-to-day basis.”
Wenger described the true mission of the club that he hopes to continue in the future. “It continues a kind of spontaneous community like the beginning of freshman year but the emphasis is to know that you don’t need an established group of friends or a Facebook event to grab new people and get to know them over a good dinner,” he said.
Kotsopoulos and Wenger always encourage new students to join them on their excursions, which have been located in the North End, Chinatown, and most recently at a burger joint in Harvard Square. “As long as you are open to the night, you will have a great time,” Kotsopoulos said.
“Aside from building community, it is just really fun,” said Wenger, describing the club’s interesting experience on its April excursion to Chinatown, in which the members struggled with an un-translated menu. “We were asking the waiter’s son to try and translate, but what I thought was supposed to be noodles came out as a full pigeon, so that was definitely something new, which was great.”
While the club only has one more excursion planned for the semester, on April 26, Kotsopoulos and Wenger are already excited about the continuation of the club in the upcoming school year. Aside from already discussing potential excursions, they eventually hope to pass their leadership down to incoming freshman and continue the community-building efforts for future years.
“Not only does it give kids an option if they aren’t in to one type of night life, but it is just a great sense of building community,” Kotsopoulos said. “The club is an opportunity to come out, explore Boston, and meet some new people.”