Boston College will host the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference (NJSLC) for the first time during the summer of 2014. The three-member team of Maria Ireland, Kathryn Nowak, and Teddy Raddell, all A&S ’15, who all attended NJSLC at College of the Holy Cross last summer, recently learned that their 21-page bid, submitted last fall, was successful. “We got recommended for the bid by Holy Cross,” Raddell said. “They recommended us to JASPA [Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators], and told us that we were recommended as the top choice-the only choice.”
All other interested committees from the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States sent their bids to Holy Cross, whose co-chairs and staff advisors selected the BC bid in early October, recommending at the same time that other schools withdraw their bids. JASPA met in early November, and sent the trio confirmation that their bid had been accepted last week.
As planning for the 2014 NJSLC will last up until the conference itself, the three co-chairs are currently in the process of choosing students to serve on the small core planning committee that will work throughout the next year and a half. Each chair will end up with three to four committee members for the three sections of planning: logistics, headed by Nowak; education, headed by Ireland; and events, headed by Raddell. “As of right now, we are three separate chairs, but we’ll have interchangeable committee members,” Nowak said. “It’s a large planning committee, although we will break up occasionally into teams.”
Some committee members will be able to accompany Raddell, Ireland, and Nowak as they attend the 2013 NJSLC, hosted at Santa Clara-the chairs anticipate this summer as an opportunity to do research for their own conference.
In terms of administrative support, Jessica Graf, resident director of CKM (Cheverus, Kostka, and Medeiros) and RHA advisor, and Adrienne Dumpe, Student Programs Office assistant director, are both serving in an advisory role. “We are looking into getting more faculty, staff, and administrators to help, once we have committees,” Ireland said. “That’s kind of part of this process, is we’re branching out into the student community, to try to get more people on our committee, and we’re also looking into administration and staff to get more support there,” Nowak said.
Each NJSLC has a distinct focus. For theirs, the co-chairs picked the theme “First to Love.” After the welcome ceremonies on July 23, the remaining three days will center around different aspects of the theme: “First to Love Thyself,” “First to Love Faith,” and “First to Love Others.” The schedule includes keynote speakers, workshops led by students from BC and visiting Jesuit schools, and trips into the greater Boston area.
The application for the committee is currently open, and applications are due by Jan. 27. The co-chairs will then conduct an interview round, and hope to have their committee finalized within two weeks after interviews conclude. The chairs are looking mostly for sophomores and freshmen, as they will still be undergraduates during the 2014 conference-juniors can apply, but must commit to being at BC for the conference.
A few aspects of NJSLC have to be planned well in advance. Ireland is already working on finding keynote speakers for the conference, while Nowak is working to obtain local and national sponsors and coordinate housing. The trio anticipates a large group to attend BC’s conference: “Holy Cross accommodated 300 students and 50 Staff Advisors from 26 Jesuit schools,” read an excerpt from the bid. “Our hope for NJSLC 2014 is 350 students and 50 Staff Advisors from 28 Jesuit schools in 2014.”
For keynote speakers, Raddell said, they are looking for politicians who went to BC-“Not necessarily John Kerry,” he said-as well as coaches and other recognizable members of the BC community. “We thought it’d be really cool if we could get Jerry York to come,” Ireland said. Other possible speakers listed on the bid include former Senator Scott Brown, Rev. Michael Himes, S.J., and Mark Herzlich, BC ’11.
Apart from applying to be on the main committee, there are other opportunities to get involved in the 2014 NJSLC. Another round of applications will open up in the spring of 2014 for those BC students interested in a less time-intensive way to contribute to NJSLC. Student volunteers will be needed to lead small groups and facilitate the different components of the conference. In addition, Ireland is looking for members of the BC community to help with workshops. “We definitely want to get BC involved-faculty, staff, or BC students, if they have something they’re passionate about to present on, we would love to get a lot of BC people to run workshops at the conference,” she said.
Students interested in more information or obtaining an application can send an email to [email protected]