Georgetown University hosted students from the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities around the country as well as students of international Jesuit universities at the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference (NJSLC) 2017 from July 19-23. The student-run planning committee included McDonough School of Business undergraduates Clara Cecil (B’18) and Zac Schroepfer (B’19), who coordinated logistics and the conference’s Advocacy Day.

During the conference, students came together to share ideas about how to improve their schools, learn from others, and develop important professional and leadership skills. They participated in discussion groups, attended presentations, engaged in community service, and explored the sights of Washington, D.C.

Paul Almeida, dean and William R. Berkley Chair of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, delivered remarks at the opening ceremony at Gaston Hall on Georgetown University’s campus. He encouraged students to focus on moving ideas into action and inspiring service in fellow Jesuit leaders.

“Whatever you may believe and whatever are your political and religious affiliations, one fact is irrefutable,” said Almeida. “There is a need for principled leadership guided by Jesuit values that will point to goals and a path forward.”

The conference theme was “Set the World on Fire.” Given Georgetown University’s combination of history and Jesuit values, the planning committee of NJSLC decided that this theme uniquely represented the goals and outcomes of hosting NJSLC in the nation’s capital.  

“After working for more than a year to organize the conference, it was rewarding to welcome over 300 student leaders from Jesuit colleges and universities to Georgetown,” said Cecil. “From sitting in on student-led workshops to having conversations with conference attendees, I was struck by the way in which each person is leaving his or her own mark on the traditional Jesuit values to make a difference on their campuses and in the world.”

While in the nation’s capital, conference attendees participated in an “Advocacy Day” on Capitol Hill. Students engaged with members of Congress and talked about issues important to higher education. This conference event allowed the leaders of tomorrow to connect with the political process of which many of them will participate in after college.

“NJSLC was an inspiring experience not only for the delegates, but also for those of us who had the opportunity to serve on the planning committee,” said Schroepfer. “From organizing a day of advocacy for student issues on Capitol Hill, to listening to impactful speakers from a variety of backgrounds such as the media, academia, and even larger movements such as the women's march, to engaging with different students who shared a common goal of bettering their communities, NJSLC was an event that left a lasting impact on my Georgetown experience.”