UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, OH – Thirty student leaders from more than a dozen Jesuit colleges and universities across the U.S. converged at the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s University Leaders Summit. The Summit is a 4-day/3-night program to form student in the areas of social justice leadership grounded in the spirituality of St. Igantius of Loyola and values of Jesuit education. This year’s summit took place on the campus of John Carroll University, a Jesuit university located in Northeast Ohio.
Student leaders represented the following institutions: Boston College, College of the Holy Cross, Creighton University, Georgetown University, John Carroll University, Le Moyne College, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola University Maryland, Loyola University New Orleans, Rockhurst University, Saint Joseph’s Univesrity, Santa Clara University, University of San Francisco, and Xavier University.
“I really learned a lot about how to connect with others and effectively make change on our campus,” said Ed Nuñez, a rising sophomore engaged with Creighton University’s Center for Service and Justice. Attendees like Nuñez were selected by staff in service learning or campus ministry offices at their respective institution to attend the summit.
“The University Leaders Summit creates the opportunity to form passionate leaders with a grounding in the Ignatian spiritual tradition and an understanding of the role social justice plays in their Jesuit institution,” said Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. On the impacts the summit has on student participants, Kerr noted that, “consistently ULS participants return to their campuses and engage their peers in meaningful social justice campaigns, using their new-found skills and understanding.” 2013 ULS participants from Loyola University Chicago became actively engaged in Loyola’s student campaign to support undocumented undergraduate students through the development of a student activity fee based scholarship fund known as the Magis Scholars Fund.
2015 Summit presenters included co-facilitators Natalie Terry, a graduate of John Carroll University and the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, and Shannon Hughes, a graduate of Xavier University currently working in Xavier’s Center for ; James Menkhaus, Ph.D., an assistant professor of religious studies at Gannon University; Ed Peck, Ph.D., vice president for mission and identity at John Carroll University; Fred Kammer, S.J., executive director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans; as well as ISN staff Kim Miller and Christopher Kerr. Attendees also had the opportunity to learn from a panel of Jesuit university alumni that included Hughes; Vail Kohnert-Yount, a graduate of Georgetown University currently working for Georgetown’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor; and Ivone Guillen, a graduate of Gonzaga University currently working at Sojourners.
View images from the Summit here.