Connect with other students and staff who have a shared passion for understanding and creating change in ourselves and our communities.
You will meet inspiring Tufts faculty, peer leaders, local leaders and service organizations while and exploring identity, antiracism, interfaith understanding, and community organizing. We will travel to nearby neighborhoods such as Davis Square, Cambridge, and downtown Boston to visit important organizations and spiritual centers. You will also have the opportunity to strengthen your leadership skills!
There will be time to explore these neighborhoods, eat good food, and relax on the beautiful Tufts lawns before the start of the year. Over the five-day program, we hope to create your first community at Tufts - one that is caring, thoughtful, and passionate.
CAFE seeks incoming student participants from diverse religious, non-religious, spiritual, and ethical identities. All are welcome to join this award-winning program!
CAFE is organized and led by staff members from the Tufts University Chaplaincy and a team of student leaders. Together we represent a diversity of religious and philosophical backgrounds and traditions.
2022 Student Coordinators
John Cioci Lazur, 2022
John Lazur (they/them) grew up in a Unitarian Universalist Humanist congregation in Minneapolis, MN, and came to Tufts through the 1+4 Bridge Year Program and CAFE. They are studying anthropology and working on a thesis that examines the history of Universalism at Tufts and its relationship to the vision of religious pluralism on campus. They have been involved with the University Chaplaincy over the last four years in the Interfaith Student Council, the Humanist Community, and the Student Worker program. In their downtime, John can be found fiddling with fountain pens, biking around Somerville, or seeking out feline company wherever it can be found. They are incredibly excited to welcome incoming students into CAFE 2022 and to be a part of the community once more after graduating.
Ariel Kayton, 2023
Ariel is a junior from Los Angeles, CA, majoring in religion. She has participated in CAFE as a first-year and as a Peer Leader and has continued her involvement through the Tufts Chaplaincy's Interfaith Student Council and Interfaith Ambassadors program. She also is involved with greater Boston Jewish and interfaith social justice initiatives. In her free time, she loves to paint, go to concerts and the movies, and explore Boston. She is so excited to be involved with CAFE this summer and is looking forward to an amazing program!
Program Manager, Tufts University Chaplaincy
Nora Bond is a new member of the CAFÉ family, since joining the staff at the University Chaplaincy in 2019. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Holyoke College in Psychology, and a Master’s in Child Study and Human Development from right here at Tufts. Previously, she worked as Interfaith Advisor at the Mount Holyoke College Religious & Spiritual Life Office, and as Director of Training and Facilitation with Convergence on Campus, an organization dedicated to enhancing institutions for religious, secular, and spiritual identities. Nora is a certified spiritual director, a role that lets her accompany questions of meaning and purpose with folks of all ages. She sits with Quakers in Cambridge, MA. Nora is a proud and grateful sister, daughter, cousin, niece, friend, and godmother. She most enjoys sharing meals, and training her enormous, friendly dog, Samson.
Program Coordinator, Tufts University Chaplaincy
Shelby Carpenter joined the University Chaplaincy team as Program Coordinator in July of 2019. Her undertakings include overseeing the Conversation, Action, Faith, and Education (CAFE) Pre-Orientation program, which involves implementing the programmatic vision with the Student Coordinator. In February 2020, Shelby graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in History. She first joined the University Chaplaincy team as a student in the role of the Chapel Sexton in 2013. In 2015, she co-founded the CAFE Pre-Orientation Program as the first student coordinator and then continued to support the department’s work as the Program and Outreach Student Assistant in 2018. Outside of the office, Shelby spends her time in adult ballet and gymnastic classes at local community organizations and acting as an Assistant Educator at the Royall House & Slave Quarters in Medford, MA.
Program Dates: August 26 - August 30
A Typical Day of CAFE
The schedule varies slightly each year but the following schedule, based on the past two years, will give you a taste of what to expect.
|8 a.m.||Wake up in your residence hall room and get ready for the day|
|9 a.m.||Fresh breakfast and opening words from the CAFE staff|
|10 a.m.||Visit local spiritual sites, such as the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center or Sri Lakshmi Hindu Temple|
|12 p.m.||Lunch from a nearby restaurant|
|1 p.m.||Return to campus or venture off campus|
|2 p.m.||Participate in a service project with the Humanist Hub in Harvard Square, or meet community activists around Boston|
|5 p.m.||Relax on the President’s Lawn or play frisbee on the Tufts Green|
|6 p.m.||Dinner and good conversation|
|7 p.m.||Personal time|
|8-11 p.m.||Enjoy a different activity each night on campus or nearby Davis Square|
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I have rarely felt so at ease as quickly as I did as a CAFE planner and peer leader last year. CAFE attracts an exceptionally kind, welcoming and interesting group of people, and they broadened my world view and taught me so much every day of my experience. I am now a better person with a stronger support system because of CAFE, and I highly encourage anyone to give it a shot.
Lisa Meehan, Class of 2017
My CAFE experience taught me more than I thought there was to learn, and I am immensely grateful to have been part of such a warm, thoughtful, and intelligent community. In addition, my transition back into the school year was so much easier with the support of my peers and incoming students because these friends have fundamentally changed my perspective and stimulated my growth as a person - I'm more uncertain than ever, and more okay with that than ever.
Marina Rakhilin, Class of 2018
CAFE was such a supporting and welcoming community filled with people from all different types of religious, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. I learned a lot from the incoming students and appreciated the comfortable environment and intimate community.