Alpha Sigma Nu (ΑΣΝ), the only honor society permitted to bear the name Jesuit, recognizes students who distinguish themselves in scholarship, loyalty and service. ΑΣΝ encourages its members to a lifetime pursuit of intellectual development, deepening Ignatian spirituality, service, and a commitment to the core principles of Jesuit education. The ΑΣΝ vision is of a dynamic society whose members embrace Ignatian values as guides and challenges to be collaborators in the Jesuit mission through the ideals of scholarship, loyalty, and service.
In ΑΣΝ’s current structure, any student attending a Jesuit college or university with a chapter at their institution is eligible. Junior-, senior-standing, and graduate students who are in the top 15% of their class academically, and have a demonstrated record of service and loyalty to the Jesuit ideals of education, are considered for membership. Only 5% of each class may be inducted. Currently, ΑΣΝ has 32 chapters internationally and over 90,000 members throughout the world. ΑΣΝ strives to connect members in its network via programs and events and expand its international collaboration.
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. This year, ΑΣΝ the Triennial conference was hosted at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, from October 6-9, 2022, 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. 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.
Discernment Day Student and Alumni Program, presented by the Alpha Sigma Nu Young Advisory Council
Summary: With the goal of facilitating deep thought and conversation about vocation and desires, for example, the two-hour program creates space for candid conversations that fosters community and encourages organic connection between current students and alumni. Discernment Day encourages students to ask questions in connection to Alpha Sigma Nu’s three tenets of scholarship, loyalty, and service:
When I think deeply about personal priorities, what determines how I make life choices? What is the purpose of my education? For alumni, what are the core values instilled by my Jesuit education? What are the values that have played out in my personal and professional life?
How does one participate in critical, sustained dialogue regarding personal connection with others in the Alpha Sigma Nu chapters, clubs, and network?
What is my role, personal and professional, in serving the greater societal good? For the greater glory of God? For alumni, how might my personal and vocational trajectories assist others and how do I provide discernment support to others?
Dr. Sarah Walker, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Creighton University
Summary: Dr. Walker presented “Equity as Cura Personalis, Inclusion as Mission,” as an integral part of the history of Jesuit education. Engaging interactively, and surveying the conference participants, Dr. Walker posed important questions such as, how do we acknowledge the many ways each person is unique? How do we recognize the humanity of each person? How do we focus on local and global concerns?
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.
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.
Alpha Sigma Nu (ΑΣΝ), the honor society of Jesuit institutions of higher education, recognizes those students who distinguish themselves in scholarship, loyalty and service. ΑΣΝ encourages its members to a lifetime pursuit of intellectual development, deepening Ignatian spirituality, service to others, and a commitment to the core principles of Jesuit education.
A dynamic society whose members come from the 27 Jesuit institutions in the U.S. and five countries (see full list here), members are honored for embodying scholarship, service, and loyalty to the ideals of Jesuit education, embrace Ignatian values as guides and challenges to be collaborators in the Jesuit mission.