More than 250 students from Jesuit schools around the country converged on Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus July 28 through Aug. 1 for five days of workshops and community service in the Jesuit tradition.
The event marked the first time that Fordham hosted the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference (NJSLC), an annual gathering of student leaders from the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States.
The annual conference helps student leaders develop ideas, explore student issues and build leadership skills in the Jesuit tradition. This year’s conference theme, “Ignite the Leader in You,” was designed around the four Jesuit tenets of cura personalis, unity of heart and mind, men and women for others and magis, and focused on one tenet each day.
“Each day of the conference [offered]different keynotes and different reflections, all based on St. Ignatius’ way of thinking and how it applies to student leadership,” said conference co-chair Michael Trerotola, CBA ’10. “A lot of students who attend Jesuit schools don’t realize the influence that the Jesuits’ history has on who they are, what they do and why. This conference gives them a great understanding of that, while exploring ways to become better human beings.
“These Jesuit tenets can be applicable in whatever religion you are part of,” he added.
Scheduled keynote speakers included:
Day One: Ed Gerety, co author of five books on leadership and personal development, on “Make Your Mark! Light the Way to Greatness;”
Day Two: Tim Muldoon, Ph.D., professor of theology at Boston College, spiritual guide and author of seven books on theology, spirituality, sexuality and marriage, on “Heart Speaking to Heart: a Spirituality for Jesuit Education”;
Day Three: Dart Westphal, president of Mosholu Preservation Corporation and publisher of the Norwood News, speaking on “Introduction to the Bronx,” a primer on service opportunities and their Ignatian contexts.
Day Four: Alison Donohue, FCRH ’94, GSAS ’98, New York Project Manager for Contemplative Leaders in Action and the first female chaplain at Regis High School, on “Magis: An Ignatian Approach to Decision-Making.”
In addition, Day Three, July 30, was dedicated to Bronx community service. Students volunteered at a dozen non-profits across the borough, including the Bronx Green Up urban farm, the Cerebral Palsy Association, the Concourse House for the homeless, the Teen Health Center at St. Barnabas, and the Fordham-Bedford Busters Garden, an abandoned lot developed by the surrounding community.
The conference wrapped up with a special mass by John Cecero, S.J., celebrating the Feast of St. Ignatius (July 31) and a closing banquet with remarks by Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham.
The five-day event was sponsored by the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators, with corporate sponsorship from The New York Times, Northwestern Mutual and others.