BY KELLY SWAN | August 31, 2022
From July 26-29, 2022, more than forty students from fourteen Jesuit and other Catholic colleges and universities gathered for the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s Ignatian Justice Summit, held this year at John Carroll University in University Heights, OH.
The summit offered two tracks—migration and environmental justice—and focused on providing formation and practical tools for students to take action as organizers on their campuses and in their broader communities.
The Summit provided grounding in just work through an Ignatian lens—setting the context of Jesuit mission, Ignatian spirituality, and Catholic Social Teaching. “When I think of justice work and Ignatian values and spirituality, I always remind myself that I am in love with this work because Jesus calls us to love, accept, and be in solidarity with every human from every walk of life,” shared Andrew Boeckman, a student at Loyola Marymount University, after the Summit. “I truly feel that by caring for and prioritizing the needs of those on the margins, I’m living my faith out through justice work.”
Students were guided through opportunities to envision what a just world might look like, then were provided with tools, training, and resources to put work toward that goal into action.
“I would say the education and the relationships are the biggest two things I have taken away from this Summit,” shared Nora McKee, a student at John Carroll University. “I feel a lot more empowered to be able to go back to campus this semester and be able to put my ideas into action both with my new relationships and with my new way of thinking about how to organize properly and effectively.”
Participants were also provided with opportunities to network with fellow students, both from their own institutions and from other colleges and universities nationwide in order to share ideas, best practices, and build connections.
“My favorite thing about the Summit was building community with other college students from Jesuit universities around the country,” shared Boeckman. “It’s always a great thing to have community and relationships on your campus when doing justice work, but when I got to talk with others who are doing similar work on their campuses I got to bounce ideas and thoughts off of everyone on how we can improve the issues specific to our campuses and cities.”
Presenters at the Ignatian Justice Summit included Brenna Davis, ISN’s director of integral ecology, Paul Campion, a Sunrise Movement organizer, Sr. Erin McDonald, a campus minister at the University of Detroit Mercy, Annie Fox, the provincial assistant for social ministry organizing for Jesuits West, and Melanie Minuche, the climate justice organizer for Alianza Americas.
“Something that will continue to stick with me from IJS is the passion I felt from fellow students about the importance of organizing others for justice,” shared Henry Glynn, a student at Creighton University. “I came away with an emphasized feeling of, ‘if not us, then who?’”
Schools represented include Creighton University, Fordham University, Georgetown University, Gonzaga University, John Carroll University, Loyola Marymount University, Quincy University, Saint Joseph’s University, Saint Louis University, Saint Peter’s University, Santa Clara University, Seattle University, the University of Detroit Mercy, Villanova University, and Xavier University.
Learn more about student impact at the 2022 Ignatian Justice Summit:
Kelly Swan has worked for the Ignatian Solidarity Network since 2016, first as communications director, and now as director of advancement. She grew up in West Virginia and is a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University. Kelly has worked in parish social ministry, child and family advocacy, community education and organizing, and publishing. She lives in the Cleveland, Ohio area with her children.