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May 06, 2019

National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference

University of Detroit Mercy will serve as host for the prestigious 2019 National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference (NJSLC). This year’s conference takes place on the McNichols Campus July 10-14, 2019. The theme for the conference is “Rising from the ashes” and student organizers are actively seeking sponsors to make this historic event a success.

Local businesses and corporations interested in sponsoring this event will receive access to hundreds of student leaders from across the country. For the past 22 years, the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference (NJSLC) has brought together student leaders and staff advisors from the 27 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States and Belize. The five-day conference includes talks from nationally-known keynote speakers, leadership workshops, breakout sessions, evening social opportunities, service in the community, an introduction to the city of Detroit and more. Hundreds of students, faculty and administrators from more than 27 Jesuit colleges and universities throughout the country and Belize will travel to Detroit Mercy.

The theme for the NJSLC at Detroit Mercy is Rising from the Ashes. This theme is rooted in the uplifting service that the Jesuit community performs each day and is tied to the importance of resurrection in the Catholic faith and Detroit Mercy’s outreach efforts. Students organizers say the theme is a forward-thinking approach to inspire young student leaders to recover and grow through acts of kindness. Additionally, the conference theme aligns with two Latin mottos written by Fr. Gabriel Richard following the 1805 fire that devastated the city: Speramus Meliora and Resurget Cineribus, which mean "We hope for better things" and "It will rise from the ashes.”

Detroit Mercy students Sarah Hirschmann, a senior, and Ben Westphal, a junior, both of Fraser, serve as conference co-chairs. They have established a team of 15 student leaders and five administrators to ensure the conference’s success.   

“The chance to surround yourself with hundreds of other passionate leaders is a valuable experience and having them visit our home is even more exciting,” explained Hirschmann. “Living in Detroit and getting to know the people and city’s personality has shaped so much of who I am. Now others are going to come here and be inspired too.”

The expected attendance of more than 400 students, faculty and administrators on campus for the conference mean new visitors to restaurants, museums, iconic attractions and other locations during their stay in Detroit. As a result, conference organizers seek sponsors who wish to support the event and market their products and services to people who have never visited the area.   

“This is such an amazing opportunity to expose the city of Detroit to hundreds of student leaders and faculty who have never visited before,” Westphal said. “We are extremely grateful for this chance to bring the NJSLC to our city for the first time ever.”

This is the first time Detroit Mercy is hosting the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference. To learn how you can sponsor this conference or for more information, please visit https://www.udmercy.edu/life/NJSLC/index.php.

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