Espresso Your Faith Week Asks Students To ‘Shake Off’ Fears, Worries, Insecurities

The promotional video for this year’s Espresso Your Faith Week features Boston College students and faculty “shaking off” their worries, fears, and insecurities. Taylor Swift’s lyrics are not only catchy, but they also embody the message of this year’s Espresso Your Faith Week. The “Shake it Off” video has already garnered thousands of views on YouTube, only days after it launched last Wednesday.

Espresso Your Faith Week runs from Sept. 29 through Oct. 3, and it features a host of different activities designed to get students engaged and thinking about their faith. The kickoff event was Parent’s Weekend Mass on Sunday, and the week concludes with Frisbee with the Jesuits on Friday. In between, a collection of events will aim to engage students at the intersection of faith and everyday issues, a guiding ideal for the Church in the 21st Century Center. “Thanks A Latte” stations will be set up around campus during the week, and they will offer free coffee and a performance from a BC dance, art, or theater group.

“While people are stopping to get coffee, they can see the passion of these groups and what drives them, and hopefully that will help students express passion themselves,” said John Campbell, A&S ’15, a member of the C21 staff and one of the two key students behind the “Shake It Off” video.

“We are so excited about Espresso Your Faith Week 2014,” said Karen Kiefer, associate director for The C21 Center. “Some of the best events and ideas come from the students, and that is definitely the case with Espresso Your Faith Week. It was the brainchild of a few of our C21 student board members in an effort to continue the contagious faith that Agape Latte brews up monthly and give our Boston College community a chance to reflect on the many ways in which they can realize and live their faith through their talents, passions, and actions.”

The week will feature additional events such as the traditional Tuesday night Agape Latte with The Jesuit Post, espresso milkshakes in the dining halls, and a Taize prayer. Although students may be hesitant about attending some of the more spiritual events, Agape Latte is trying to make these issues more accessible for everyone.

The conception of Agape Latte originally evolved out of the realization that students were so busy, and so over-programmed that they didn’t have time to think about things a little bit deeper than, “Am I passing my classes?” or “Am I making friends?”

“The whole goal of Agape Latte is so that students, when they are eating dinner, will say ‘Oh, there’s an Agape Latte event in Hillside right now, and I have six other things I could be doing but I’m going to go to that,’” Campbell said.

One student, John Walsh CSOM ’17, that lit the spark for the “Shake It Off” video. He originally got involved with Agape Latte last semester, through the influence of Meghan Hilger, CSOM ’16. This semester, Walsh originally thought of making a promotional video for Espresso Your Faith Week to the song “Fancy,” by Iggy Azalea.

“I brought the idea to John Campbell who immediately shot me down,” Walsh said, “as he should have.” They both agreed to think about a more appropriate song to use. “Once I thought of using ‘Shake It Off,’ and John said ‘Yes.’ It was like ‘Yes, we’re doing this.’”

The pair agreed that the video could not have happened without the precedent of Sean Casey and the “Happy” video.

“We couldn’t have walked into Bapst on a whim on a Tuesday night to film without the ‘Happy’ video,” Walsh said.

“Everyone wanted to be in it and help with it, which was overwhelming, and I think it just demonstrates agape, and what Agape Latte is, and what this community is, and what Boston College is,” Campbell said.

Espresso Your Faith Week and Agape Latte are just two of the examples of Jesuit ideals expressed on BC’s campus, they said.

“Agape in itself is a Greek word, and it’s unconditional love seeking nothing in return,” Campbell said. “That’s the whole tenent of Agape Latte, Espresso Your Faith Week, and hopefully BC. It’s going to be a fun week. We’re trying to make it fun but also spiritual and that’s the whole point, finding the intersection between the two,” Campbell said.

“We hope this video will meet its initial goal of promoting Agape Latte and Espresso Your Faith Week,” Walsh said. “We also hope this video will be a catalyst for conversation about the many ways faith invites us to experience deep joy, friendship, and community despite the struggles, loneliness and fear we all experience at times. We can choose to shake off those stresses and fears, and actively love others in order to experience the mystery we call God’s unconditional love for us. Agape—love that seeks nothing in return.”

Featured Image Courtesy of the Agape Latte Facebook Page