Students Attend National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference

    University of Scranton students in Detroit, Michigan, for the NJSLC conference.
    July 30, 2019
    By: Maria Marinucci, Director, Cross Cultural Centers

    In mid-July, 14 University of Scranton student leaders joined nearly 200 other students from Jesuit universities across the country and from Belize for the four-day National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference (NJSLC) held at the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, Michigan. The students, accompanied by track & field coach Ozzie Brown and me as their advisors, represented several departments across campus.

    While in Detroit, the students participated in a number of leadership sessions, listened to a variety of impactful keynote addresses, learned about and engaged in a service project in the local community, explored the Detroit RiverWalk, and connected with their fellow Jesuit student leaders over meals, late-night activities, and in functional-area specific conversations. 

    For some of our students, the interaction with others was a key aspect of the conference.

    “My favorite part about NJSLC was getting to know people. We all come from different parts of the country, but we’re tied together through the Jesuit values. We are all so different, but those values bring us together and that was amazing to see,” said Bridget Pynn, a rising junior occupational therapy major representing the Center for Student Engagement. 

    Jeff Colucci, a rising junior accounting and finance major and Student Government vice president, agreed.

    “I had the privilege of attending the Jesuit Student Government Association (JSGA) luncheon which allowed me to learn more about Student Government initiatives at other schools, and I look forward to bringing ideas back to our campus this year," he said. "While this was a valuable learning experience, we also had fun and bonded as students at The University of Scranton."

    The conference was certainly full of fun and connection, yet deep reflection about the work of student leaders was also central. Student Government president and biology and philosophy major Fahad Ashraf attended his second NJSLC this year, and he left it with a renewed sense of purpose for his role and the organization he leads.

    “Through important conversations pertaining to different issues and areas on our respective campuses, we are able to celebrate ways in which our campuses excel, but also take note of where we might need some more work," he said. "After speaking with representatives from other student governments and hearing about their varying initiatives, I look forward to building on our progress and further expanding our focus on diversity and inclusion efforts in the coming year.”

    Aubrianna Rice, a rising senior physiology major with a concentration in women’s and gender studies, represented the Cross Cultural Centers and also attended her second NJSLC. This year, Rice proposed, developed, and co-facilitated a leadership session with me about healthy relationship programming at Scranton. 

    She reflected on how the “conference allowed me to make connections to other Jesuit institutions,” and also spoke of her decision to create and propose her session.

    “My intention with presenting was to share our program with other schools so they could be inspired to create programming like it on their campuses. I am grateful for this fantastic opportunity to share what we do at Scranton with schools all over and also learn from what other schools are doing so we can continually improve our campus," she said.

    Rice and I (pictured at left) presented on the first full day of the conference, which left plenty of time for feedback from session attendees.  Several individuals who attended their session approached Aurbi to tell her how much they appreciated the information they learned, and how excited they were to bring ideas back to their campus.

    NJSLC was an incredible opportunity for students to learn with and from their Jesuit student colleagues from across the country and beyond, but also brought together a diverse group of leaders on our own campus.  We look forward to seeing the ways they come together to apply their learning n the coming year and beyond, continuing to set the world on fire and making our campus an even better place!

    Maria Marinucci is director of the Cross Cultural Centers at The University of Scranton.
    Maria Marinucci is director of the Cross Cultural Centers at The University of Scranton.
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