By Sean Stebbins ’19
“AGAPE” is a Greco-Christian term that means “love”. It has its origins in one of the most widely-known verses in the Bible, John 3:16. It reads, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” For centuries, Christians have used “AGAPE” to describe the unconditional love expressed here. Appropriately, it is where Bellarmine’s largest service club gets its name.
Eli Gordon ’19, one of the members of AGAPE’s leadership team, provided an overview. “AGAPE Club is a community service club on campus that plans and runs all major fundraisers on campus, like the Winter Warmth Drive, CRS Rice Bowl Drive, and the Canned Food Drive. Every single member of the club is involved in the logistical planning and promoting of these fundraisers,” he said. The ultimate goal of AGAPE is to “work to give aid to the San Jose community and stand up against injustice,” he added on.
Eli also explained the way AGAPE works, and how its functions go far beyond community service. “We have a four-leader team, including Ted Fuell, Conor Gallivan, Patrick Fox, and myself. I communicate with the club about upcoming meetings and events and the other leaders help run club meetings. We recently had a retreat on campus where we brainstormed upcoming events and set goals for the year. However, AGAPE’s ‘activities’ and drives are run by the club as a whole. All the club’s members are required to be part of at least one leadership team for an event per semester. We foster leadership skills as well as marketing skills and community engagement,” he said.
Going into the mission of AGAPE, Eli discussed the importance of the organization. “The best thing about this club for me is the connections it has made with the San Jose community. Our work with Casa de Clara allows for local homeless individuals to have a safe place to park and stay the night in the winter and enables them to shower and have a warm meal. We are able to help with large donations in food and funds that help Second Harvest Food Bank provide healthy food for people all around the area. The meaningful experiences this club fosters are very special and important to humanize marginalized individuals,” he said.
AGAPE truly involves its members with the mission of the school, creating ‘men for and with others’. “Bellarmine’s motto is deeply embedded in everything we do. Not only do we work to help others, but we work alongside socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, listen to their stories, and initiate connections that society may be too afraid to maintain. What we do truly makes a difference, and we hope to engage the entire Bellarmine community to contribute, even just a little, to help those in need,” Eli said.
If any student is interested in joining AGAPE, you can email Eli at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to their email list. Meetings are every Wednesday at lunch in the AGAPE lounge in O’Donnell (the room across from Mr. Pinkston’s office).