By Collin Atwood
The mission at Springfield College is unique. It is very popular on campus and there are reminders of it everywhere one goes. That mission is to follow the Humanics philosophy.
The Humanics philosophy is about educating everyone on the spirit, mind and body for leadership in service to others. Springfield College has shown its commitment to this philosophy with the Humanics in Action club, alternative spring break program and much more.
Not only is it the mission, but it is also a way of life. Many people live by it and just about everyone is committed to it.
Max Pape is one of those people that is truly committed.
Pape is a junior at Springfield College who is majoring in Psychology and is very active in the campus community. He is a member of the baseball team, the Humanics in Action Club, the president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club (FCA) and has also gone on alternative spring break trips and has helped out with the process of the trips he can not go on.
The club that Pape is most active with is FCA. Pape joined FCA when he was a freshman and has been with them ever since.
“I joined the club as soon as I got on campus because I was really interested in exploring my faith,” Pape said.
He never thought about being the president of the club until the former president came to him and suggested it. Pape and everyone else in the club thought it was a great idea.
“The main goal of FCA is just to grow closer in our relationship with God, with Jesus Christ and to imitate his examples in everyday life…We’re constantly trying to grow spiritually and let our actions reflect our faith in that,” he said.
With a full E-Board staff and 15 consistent members, FCA won club of the year at Springfield College last year.
Not only does Pape practice the Humanics philosophy at Springfield College, but he also does a large amount of work in his hometown.
In Waterbury, Conn. Pape is the Vice President of the Step By Step Foundation. Step By Step is a non-profit organization that collects bottles and cans and exchanges them for money. They use that money to purchase items such as clothes and food that they donate to people in need.
It all started when Executive Vice President and co-founder, Matthew Keating made a donation to a food shelter in Waterbury. Matthew’s older brother, Michael, had just come back from an internship in Florida and was inspired by his brother and wanted to help out as well.
In June 2019, the two brothers officially started the Step By Step Foundation. It would be too difficult for two students to pay for all of the items they would need so they came up with the idea of collecting and accepting donations of cans and bottles. Locals supported with no hesitation and Step By Step was on its way.
Pape and Keating played on the same baseball team when they were younger, but were never that close. Their friendship grew after each of them had their own experiences that led to similar ideas.
“He went through this Disney program at his university and that was when he really grew in his faith and it was at the same time that I got plugged in with FCA and I was really growing in my faith,” Pape said.
After their experiences, Pape reached out to Keating and was interested in his foundation. Step By Step was in the early stages of its creation and Pape wanted to know how he could help. As time went by, the two became great friends and Pape also became Vice President
The members of Step By Step range from 15 to 21 years old; the college and high school students that keep this organization going all share one common goal.
“We’re just trying to live out our faith and give back and use the gifts and the blessings that we’ve been given and try to be a blessing to other people,” Pape said.
Step By Step has donated to a slew of different places and organizations in the past including: Friends of the Homeless in Springfield, Mass., Rock of Ages Christian Church Food Bank in Waterbury, Conn. and a family in Gambia, West Africa.
The newest plan for the organization is to partner with DCF and donate to foster families in the area.
“After Thanksgiving we’re all going to get together as a board team and go Black Friday shopping to get some Christmas gifts for those kids who typically aren’t able to get the Christmas that an everyday kid with certain privileges is able to have,” Pape said.
Step By Step has seen massive growth since they were founded in 2019. They also got some exposure from the Channel 3 Eyewitness News Facebook page when a picture of the team standing in front of a huge pile of bottles and cans was posted.
The comment on the post was: “How about some likes for this awesome group! These high school and college students collect bottles every week to help the less fortunate in the community. Last week alone they collected over 7,000 bottles!”
The organization is now up to 102,704 bottles and cans donated.
Much like the Humanics philosophy at Springfield College, the meaning behind the name Step By Step isn’t just a motto for the business, but it is the motto for people’s lives.
“It’s kind of our whole philosophy that we live by. Not only in our business, but just our everyday life,” Pape said.
Pape continues to live with that Humanics mindset by making a difference in his community at home and on Alden Street.
Photo: Max Pape