Matthew Coughlin '19: Winter Summit Reflection

    University of Scranton Student Government President Matthew Coughlin signing the Jesuit Student Government Alliance constitution as a founding member.
    January 8, 2019
    By: Matthew Coughlin

    President Matthew Coughlin recently represented Scranton in the inaugural Winter Summit for the Jesuit Student Government Alliance at Saint Louis University. The Winter Summit hosted student government members from 21 Jesuit colleges and universities!

    This past weekend, I attended the Jesuit Student Government Alliance’s first ever Winter Summit hosted by St. Louis University. The Jesuit Student Government Alliance (JSGA) is the newly created group of all Jesuit colleges and universities student body presidents. The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) recognized the JSGA this past Fall.

    The Winter Summit was the inaugural meeting of the alliance. Representatives from over 21 Jesuit colleges and universities were in attendance from all across the country. The summit had various topic sessions and smaller discussion areas. The three main topic sessions were Diversity and Inclusion, Sustainability and Structure/Organization. Each topic session was an amazing learning experience because it provided examples of successful funding initiatives, programs and general methods to improve home institutions. Beyond the successful, the sessions highlighted areas where other institutions struggled to improve. Often, it was realized that institutions were not alone on issues that proved difficult to overcome, and this is where the ability to have face to face conversations with leaders from the numerous Jesuit institutions was invaluable. In addition, the summit provided discussion sessions that explained what each institution does well and where their weaknesses might be. After each discussion session, I would text members from our Student Government’s Senior Staff to update them on ideas and programs that I want to bring to The University of Scranton.

    I think the importance of the JSGA cannot be emphasized enough. The ability to sit down and have conversations with student body presidents from numerous institutions gave insight beyond superficial conversations. Issues such as transforming student government associations’ images, racial incidents affecting campuses, the shootings in California, and so much more, touched Jesuit institutions in some manner and learning how different student governments addressed and attempted to tackle such problems on their campus represent why the JSGA will be so important. While our amazing community at Scranton might not be touched by some of the national headlines, we can always do more and help our national Jesuit family.

    Keep an eye on Student Government over the next couple months for some significant projects and changes! I want to bring our special community at Scranton to a new level. We have a unique opportunity with a plethora of information from Jesuit colleges and universities at our fingertips. It is our opportunity to take our own restless pursuit of excellence and push ourselves to do more, be more involved and take an active approach towards improving our campus and local community.

    • alt placeholderStudent representatives of the 21 Jesuit Colleges and Universities in attendance of the Winter Summit of the Jesuit Student Government Alliance (JSGA).
    • alt placeholderMatthew Coughlin and the men of the Jesuit Student Government Alliance.
    Matthew Coughlin is a senior political science and philosophy double major, President of student government, and a member of SJLA.
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