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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

REFLECTING ON THE JESUIT GLOBAL ACTIVITISM LEADERSHIP SUMMIT

Sofia Rivera
Over five days in early August, five RJ students and three teachers participated in the Jesuit Global Activism Student Leadership Summit held virtually and coordinated by St. Louis University High School. Regis Jesuit was one of 21 Jesuit schools across 11 different time zones that took part in the summit, which focuses on  a "common mission and vision to collaboratively explore solutions to the challenges and injustices we face as a global community."

Reflection on the Jesuit Global Activism Student Leadership Summit
By Sofia Rivera '24

This summer, some students including myself were given the opportunity to CHANGE THE WORLD! We all were lucky enough to participate in the 2022 Jesuit Global Activism Leadership Summit which is geared to engage students from different countries to participate in an action to collaboratively explore solutions to the challenges and injustices we face as a global community. More than 150 students came together over Zoom from different countries and Jesuit schools to create an inspiring community.
What personally drew me to join this program during my summer was the opportunity to be a part of something bigger. It was crazy to believe that so many students from multiple backgrounds all believed that we need to change how we are living now to save our future, and it was something I couldn’t miss. Another RJ student who also participated, Rhegan McCall '24, said, “I was really interested in being involved during the summer because it gave me the chance to meet many people from around the world, which normally would be more difficult in the school year. It also gave me the opportunity to spend much more time on the project my group was assigned to have an amazing product!”

Although it sounds like we got the hang of the different time zones quickly, there were definitely some fears in the beginning. What was most terrifying to me was the pressure to create a project with a group of strangers that could make an impact on the world ALL IN A WEEK! But we have all proven that it can certainly be done. 

On the first day, I already learned at least one thing from everyone in my group. Everyone was so kind and respectful, not to mention their English was almost better than mine. It was exciting to see how easy it was to communicate with someone who was completely different than me. One of the coolest things I learned was from my teammate Lorenzo. His school is actively taking steps into lowering its usage of emission gasses, and it inspired me to see what I can do here at Regis Jesuit.

Every participant chose a Universal Apostolic Preference (UAP) group to focus on during the summit. with 6-7 students working together to create an action plan that is special to their UAP. The four UAPs are Showing The Way To God, Walking With The Excluded, Journeying With Youth and Caring for our Common Home. My group chose Caring for our Common Home and created a presentation on different reusable energies that could be used to inform global leaders. The most significant thing that I learned from my group’s UAP is that even small actions that help the fight against global warming are important. You don’t have to donate thousands of dollars a month to an organization that recycles (although that would be outstanding) but reducing your plastic usage also makes a difference. 

Fellow RJ student Rhiann Johnson '24 who also focused on the same UAP stated, “Now that I’ve participated I see myself having a more conscious behavior of how much I take from the environment around me. I’m more aware of how much electricity and water I use as well as the people around me. I’ve started using LED lights around my house because they use less energy and have started filtering my water, so I don’t use as much.” 

As students, we need to understand that we are the future. If we want to continue to live in the beautiful environment we have today, we must lead by example. I ask that students around the world realize that if you start to use less plastic, walk more than drive, take those above and beyond steps, people will notice. Then they can join you, and more and more people will start to care for our earth. 

You don’t realize how huge the Jesuit community actually is until you see it. I only saw a small piece of the Jesuit connection, but it was heartwarming to know that there are other people that share the same ideas and want to be and do better together. I learned so much about the challenges millions face around the world, I dove deep into new perspectives and was able to meet so many nice students. I really am grateful for this opportunity and hope to share it with others next year!
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