Reflection, Leadership, and the “Cupid Shuffle”

There is something about the “Cupid Shuffle” which has a remarkable way of bringing people together. I sat in the Arrupe Community Room during the Campus Ministry Student Leadership Retreat and noticed the scene was particularly divided. Students wearing hijab sat in one corner, students with crosses around their neck sat in another, and various other groupings clumped in comfortable conversation. Someone also must have noticed this situation because all of a sudden the speakers started to blare those timeless lyrics, “To the right, to the right, to the right, to the right. To the left, to the left, to the left, to the left.” The room came alive. Suddenly, instead of a variety of self-segregated pockets, we were one. Dancing– or attempting to dance, in my case– to the beat of a familiar tune no matter your religion, faith, or philosophy.

Belonging. When the dancing portion of the evening came to a close, one of the students from the Latter-Day Saints Student Association asked if I wanted to join in a game of “Signs.” This game is essentially Monkey in the Middle, played with hand signs. Soon we had a group of 25 students laughing and playing. I looked around the group and was surprised to see people from all different faith traditions- the treasurer of the Muslim Student Association passed a sign to someone from the Hindu Student Association who passed a sign to the president of Catholic Daughters– but in that moment we weren’t thinking in those terms. We were just friends playing a game with other friends. Thirty minutes turned into an hour, an hour turned into two, and then two hours turned into four. At 2 AM the group had whittled down to just ten players, but after four hours of playing we felt delirious, giggly, and an incredible sense of belonging. This is community in diversity.

Over the rest of the retreat we learned an immense deal about leading teams, responding positively to failure, and opening meaningful conversations. I was encouraged by the words of Father Kevin O’Brien, S.J., who reminded us how easy it was to “have the experience, but miss the meaning.” The retreat represented a much needed chance to pause, reflect, and soak in the experience of being a Georgetown student involved in Campus Ministry. The new mission statement of Campus Ministry encourages us to “lead lives of deeper meaning, belonging, and purpose.” Those words are so stagnant when written on a postcard yet so vibrant when witnessed in real life. I am grateful for the Campus Ministry Student Leadership Retreat where I was able to see this mission lived out in a deep and authentic way.

I emerged from the retreat with a feeling of renewal and gratitude- a renewed commitment to serve my fellow students and gratitude for the experiences of formation that Campus Ministry provides.

A Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Mormon, a Catholic, and a Protestant go into the mountains… this either sounds like the start to a very detailed and long-winded joke or a typical Campus Ministry retreat. We are blessed that such an occurrence can be considered common at Georgetown.


Written by Reed Howard, C’17.

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