35th Alpha Sigma Nu Triennial Conference
ΑΣΝ 2022 Triennial at Creighton University
Every three years, ΑΣΝ, and its Board of Directors, invite its current chapter leaders, chapter advisers, alumni club presidents, and young alumni advisory council leaders from its 32 chapters to attend its Triennial conference at a member Jesuit institution of higher education. In 2022, the Triennial conference was hosted at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, from October 6-9, after postponing the 2021 celebration due to the spread of Covid variants.
Alpha Sigma Nu Board President, Rev. Seán Michaelson, SJ, echoed in his welcome letter to the Triennial participants the words of St. Peter on the mountaintop to Jesus, ‘it is good that we are here.’
It was good, indeed, that the members convened in person to reflect on where the honor society has been and how it is evolving into the future. Creighton President Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, SJ, welcomed the participants with an introduction to the new Vice President of Mission and Ministry at Creighton, and ASN Board Member, Dr. Cindy Schmersal.
The following presenters shared challenges and ideas of how to continue growing into a global organization and to discern with God at the center.
Rev. Dani Villanueva, SJ, Executive VP @Entreculturas - Fe y Alegria & Alboan, http://Jesuit.Network coordinator.
Summary: The Universal Mission of the Society of Jesus has been discussed for some time, but it is not so long ago that it began to test truly international structures of collaboration. In recent years, there has been an explosion of networks and opportunities for working together on a global level that allows all of us in the network to dream and plan innovative ways of responding to new apostolic challenges. Fr. Dani Villanueva, SJ, challenged the Alpha Sigma Nu network to consider itself as an important part of this discerning apostolic body that dreams and envisions future possibilities together. Are we clear about our calls? Our contributions? Our real possibilities for transformation as part of the global Jesuit network?
Alpha Sigma Nu and its 90,000 members have been called to continue reflecting on how we can continue to partner with the Jesuit network worldwide in sustainable, contextually relevant ways.
Rev. Sam Beirão, SJ, General Coordinator, Magis 2023
Summary: In preparation of Magis 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal leading up to World Youth Day with Pope Francis, Fr. Sam Beirão, SJ, challenged the audience to do the magis by leading by example, being prudent, and putting one’s self in their neighbor’s shoes. How does one live for the greater glory of God? He challenged the participants to live in an attitude of discernment that includes prayer to God, deliberation of oneself, and consultation with other.
At this Triennial Conference, two new student board members are elected to serve three year terms on the Board of Directors. In 2022, Mashaal Shameem (Seattle University, ’21) and Brandon DaGrosa (University of Scranton, ’21) were voted upon by the participating members. Read more about Mashaal and Brandon at our ASN website.
The Triennial Conference closed with a farewell to Ms. Kate Gaertner, who has been with Alpha Sigma Nu since 2002. You can read more about the history with Alpha Sigma Nu during Kate’s tenure in the fourth issue of the ASN magazine. Remarks were provided by Ms. Penny Menge, RN (Vice President, Board of Directors) Elena Pérez Velasco (Co-President, Young Alumni Advisory Council, Universidad Loyola de Andalucia), and Dr. Paul Fontana (Chapter Adviser, Seattle University) thanking Kate for her dedicated service and commitment to the organization.
See the full Triennial program with speaker bios here.
Testimonies from Alpha Sigma Nu Triennial Participants:
The ΑΣΝ Triennial Conference serves as a unique on-campus immersion experience for alumni club, student chapter and faculty leaders to explore anew the intellectual and spiritual inspirations that can guide us in carrying out our honor society's core tenets of scholarship, loyalty and service in an ever-changing world. As an ΑΣΝ alumni club president who attends the Triennial in the hopes of bringing back fresh ideas to implement meaningful programs at the local level, I find myself equally nourished by forming wonderful new friendships and renewing others with those who reflect the diverse cultural, multi-generational and global reach of Jesuit education. Grateful for my own Jesuit academic experience and for the privilege of being inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu nearly 40 years ago, my continued involvement with ΑΣΝ, and the many enriching opportunities it provides to network with fellow members, truly allows me to further deepen my appreciation for Ignatian values as an essential presence in all that I am and in all that I do.
- Maria Mikula-Helm, Loyola University-Chicago, Alumni Club President
The 2022 Triennial Conference at Creighton University was my first experience of a national (or really, international) gathering of Alpha Sigma Nu. Bringing together some of the most talented and committed students from Jesuit schools across four continents, the meeting was a reminder to me that the transformative power of Jesuit education is still alive today and making itself felt in the lives of so many young people. At the same time, the conference made clear that ΑΣΝ’s challenge today is to harness that power for good by building the friendships and networks that connect the society to the wider Ignatian family of institutions and organizations that advance the Jesuit mission. That is no easy task, but it is certainly part of the magis, which ΑΣΝ is called to embody.
- Fr. Andrew Downing, SJ, Saint Peter’s University
I honestly went into the conference unsure of how it would go as I am an atheist and my university chapter's Alpha Sigma Nu president, but I left feeling uplifted, empowered, and with lifelong friends that made me feel accepted and welcome wherever I went. I never knew that this experience would be as impactful as it was, and that was largely due to not only the facilitation of the conference led by the amazing Alpha Sigma Nu leadership team, but also because of the kinds of people Jesuit universities attract. I am now graduating this year, May 2023, and will be carrying with me my strong belief in Jesuit education and the legacy of Alpha Sigma Nu to carry on and make more well known.
- Julia Lemmon, Loyola Marymount University, Chapter President
The Triennial Conference was an overall fantastic experience for me and left me inspired to become more active in the Jesuit community. Meeting everybody from all across the world and seeing how motivated these talented individuals were to promote participation and improve their own chapters was amazing to see. I gained a deeper understanding about what the society is and its purpose to those around us. I absolutely loved my time at the Triennial and I believe that it will hopefully serve as a spark for my chapter to become more involved, because I know that the experience will stick with me for life.
- Jack Pauly, Gonzaga University, Chapter President
The Triennial Conference was a phenomenal opportunity to connect with other Jesuit universities and the Alpha Sigma Nu chapter at large. From presentations on the Jesuit global network to walking with the youth, I got to see how various Jesuit values (including cura personalis, men and women for others, and magis) can be embodied in our roles as leaders. By promoting the talents and experiences of individual members, Alpha Sigma Nu can give back to Loyola University Maryland with programs and initiatives tailored to the strengths of its students. Furthermore, the opportunity for fellowship with other ΑΣΝ leaders and university chapter presidents allowed us to realize how collaborating under the ΑΣΝ values of scholarship, loyalty, and service can lead to a positive impact on others both in the larger Jesuit community and throughout our futures after graduation.
- Caroline Farrell, Loyola University-Maryland, Chapter President
These summaries only represent some of the presentations offered. We extend a thank you to all of our participants and presenters who brought their talents and gifts to renew the sense of the Alpha Sigma Nu mission. The success of ΑΣΝ’s 2022 Triennial conference could not have been possible without the support of President Daniel Hendrickson, SJ and the faculty, staff, and students at Creighton University.
This article was also featured in the January 2023 edition of the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU) newsletter and on the IAJU website.