On Thursday, Sept. 11, ‘Alive and Loud’ (‘A&L’)hosted its first event of the 2014-2015 academic year. The event featured two King’s students, Wilton “Diego” Curiel and Jessica Lange, who both presented a short talk to the 65 students that were in attendance that evening.

The crux of the event focused on the question “How have you found your personal identity at King’s?” This question was decided upon by the ‘Alive and Loud’ team members, who unanimously agreed that such a question would prompt the chosen speakers to think and reflect on their journey thus far at King’s.

‘A&L’ is a student group that was spearheaded by senior Ryan Boyle. It was formed during the spring semester of the 2012-2013 year and, at its inception, was comprised of 14 students. Currently, 10 students make up the team. Father Daniel Issing serves as the adult monitor/mentor of the group and has done so since its formation.

The function of ‘Alive and Loud’ is, to quote Boyle, “promote faith on campus in a real way.” To do so, ‘A&L’ hosts events which involve electing a speaker(s) to speak on a certain topic. In the beginning, these speakers were the ‘A&L’ team leaders themselves, but the events have since then showcased individuals who aren’t affiliated with the group. In total, six events, including this one, have been held.

Past speakers have shared their stories of personal struggle, trials and tribulations, and how they’ve grown closer to God and strengthened their faith. Although the speakers’ talks don’t necessarily focus around faith and/or religion, such a focus is one of the driving factors of the ‘A&L’ group as a whole.

Both Curiel and Lange spoke about their own personal stories, with emphasis placed on how they themselves went about figuring out where and how they belonged in the social atmosphere at King’s. A common thread that bound both testimonies together was the feeling of uncertainty; both Curiel and Lange expressed that they did, at one point, second-guess their confidence upon coming to King’s.

During her talk, Lange admitted that she was “worried about whether or not (I) was going to make friends,” and shared that her reserved personality deepened that concern.

Curiel, on the other hand, was dealt a significant blow when his father passed away within months of his arriving to the United States from the Dominican Republic as a young teenager. His father’s passing deeply shook him, but he realized that he had to summon up the courage to continue growing accustomed to the language and culture of this country.

Like Lange, Curiel also felt unsure of himself at King’s upon his arrival freshman year. But he soon realized that his calling was to get involved with campus life and become an active member of the campus community.

Similarly, Lange is heavily involved on campus; she is a Campus Activities employee and has partaken in the college’s ‘SpringSERVE’ trip.

Following their talks, Ryan McCarthy, a senior ‘A&L’ team leader, lead a question-and-answer segment in which the 2 speakers were able to answer premeditated questions from the audience. This segment allowed Lange and Curiel the opportunity to share their knowledge outside of their scripts. Because much of the attending audience were first-year students, Lange and Curiel had the opportunity to give valuable advice.

The main idea of the ‘Alive and Loud’-sponsored events is to provide students with an opportunity to listen to their peers’ stories with the hopes of encouraging self-reflection. The format of the events is constantly changing, too, with the physical venue and talk topic always subject to change. One event featured a panel-type discussion, in which a panel of four King’s students of different religious backgrounds spoke on how they’ve practiced their own faith despite being at a Catholic institution. Another event exclusively featured seniors; four seniors were elected to speak on their overall experience at King’s, and were also asked to share some words of wisdom to the underclassmen.

The ‘A&L’ team is looking to fill some team leader vacancies. If you are at all interested in getting involved with this group, please contact Ryan Boyle at ryanboyle@kings.edu.