Student Leadership Summit 2016

On Jan. 1, Loras College took nine students, four missionaries, and one college chaplain down to Dallas, Texas for the FOCUS national Student Leadership Summit (SLS). This five day conference had a life-changing impact on many of the 3,000+ college students that attended, including those from Loras.

SLS is a leadership conference for Catholic college students geared toward teaching students what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, first by following Him more closely and second by building up disciples for His eternal kingdom. The three main areas that the conference focused on were prayer, authentic friendship, and leading small group Bible studies.

Each of the nine students from Loras were impacted by the conference and grew in both their spiritual lives as well as their leadership skills. They come back to campus this spring ready to set the campus on fire with the love of Christ and His gospel message. Here is what some of them had to say about it:

“SLS was a life-changing experience that I will never forget. It completely re-directed my focus from myself to God. Thank you FOCUS for allowing me to go on SLS and see the world through God’s eyes,” said sophomore Kylie DeWees.

“SLS was different from other retreats because, rather than just discussing our personal relationships with God, it also gave us tools to help others deepen their relationship with God. I left SLS with a burning zeal to know more about God, and with a clearer idea of God’s mission for me,” said sophomore Stephanie Harpenau.

“The conference was all about teaching young people the basic roadmap for holiness. It was about fostering our own love of Jesus Christ and teaching skills to others to know and love him. At SLS, I saw the vibrancy of the youth of the church hearing that they don’t need permission to spread the gospel because they have been commissioned in baptism to do so,” said Father Dennis Miller.

The Student Leadership Summit takes place every other year, alternating with the other FOCUS national conference, SEEK. SEEK is a Catholic conference for all types of college students, no matter where you are in your faith!

Last winter, Loras brought over 75 students to SEEK 2015, making sure all the J-Term students still got back in time for their first class. In January 2017, SEEK will be happening in San Antonio, Texas. We hope to take over 100 students next year and you can register early at You won’t want to miss it!

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