University of Detroit Mercy to host 2019 National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference, bring hundreds to see city’s revitalization

University of Detroit Mercy to host 2019 National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference, bring hundreds to see city’s revitalization
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Hundreds of students, faculty and administrators from more than 28 Jesuit colleges and universities throughout the U.S. will gather at the University of Detroit Mercy’s McNichols Campus in July 2019.

They’ll be attending the 2019 National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference (NJSLC) hosted by Detroit Mercy.

“The city of Detroit is at a pivotal point in its history and represents the perfect location for this conference,” says Pamela Zarkowski, Detroit Mercy provost. “Participants will not only enjoy their visit to Detroit but gain valuable insights about themselves and our community.”

Bringing the conference to Detroit came about when six Detroit Mercy students attended the five-day NJSLC conference at Georgetown University last summer. Ben Westphal from Fraser, Sarah Hirschmann also from Fraser, DeRoss Cullens from Detroit, Tavala Luciow from New Boston, Kortney Hepting from St. Claire Shores, and Justin Elsesser from Wyandotte, came back inspired and lobbied to bring the conference here.

L-R: Drew Peters, Sarah Hirschmann, Kortney Hepting, Justin Elsesser, Tavala Luciow, Ben Westphal and DeRoss Cullens in Washington, D.C.

They wanted to expose students from other schools to Detroit Mercy and give them an opportunity to experience Detroit’s resurgence through the university’s display of its Jesuit and Mercy values.

The students worked with Detroit Mercy staff and authored school’s proposal. It was the first time Detroit Mercy submitted a bid.

“Going to Georgetown was a really great learning experience,” says Hirschmann. “We met so many new people and share ideas with other leaders from fellow Jesuit schools. The energy, environment and community the conference created was what inspired us to want to put in a bid for Detroit Mercy.

“We’ve never hosted something like this, but Georgetown’s theme was ‘Set the World on Fire,’ and so we just went for it using the inspiration from the conference and the inspiration we feel from our university community and in Detroit as a whole,” she says.

The bid captured everything about Detroit Mercy and the city of Detroit, Westphal says.

“This is a huge opportunity for the students, staff, and faculty of Detroit Mercy, and, of course, for the city of Detroit.” he says. “We will be able to create many leadership opportunities with NJSLC 2019. We plan on reaching out to all different organizations, departments, and academic colleges to assist with this massive endeavor as well as the Detroit community.

“As a community, the University of Detroit will come together in this year and a half journey to inspire the hundreds of Jesuit student leaders through the revitalization that the city and the surrounding areas are going through. We cannot wait for where this journey will take the students, the University of Detroit Mercy and the city,” he says.

The conference is sponsored by the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators (JASPA) and hosted by a different university each year. Its purpose is to provide student leaders with collaborative opportunities to develop ideas, explore issues and build stronger leadership skills to better serve their institutions in the Jesuit tradition. During the conference the students will be part of workshops, group discussions, social programming, a day of service and opening and closing banquets.

This year’s conference (NJSLC 2018) is at Le Moyne College (Syracuse) from July 18-21. etroit Mercy students will announce the theme and name of the 2019 conference there.

To learn more about this year’s NJSLC 2018 conference, please click here. 

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