As CRS Global Campus, Creighton opening new outlets for service and justice

CRS-Global-CampusThinking globally while acting locally has always been a critical component of the mission for Creighton University’s Schlegel Center for Service and Justice.

Last year, Creighton University became one of Catholic Relief Services’ 12 Global Campuses, a designation recognizing Creighton’s significant outreach and fundraising when it comes to coming alongside refugees, migrants, the poor and other marginalized populations.

The new title also afforded Kelly Tadeo-Orbik, BA’06, associate director of the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice an opportunity in July and August to travel to Uganda to see firsthand the impact Creighton’s work is having. At the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement and the outlying countryside, Tadeo-Orbik said the spark of hope is found in the warm embraces of Ugandans and their refugee guests alike.

“There is hospitality at every level,” said Tadeo-Orbik, who spent 10 days in the East African nation that is fast becoming one of the world’s most welcoming sites for refugees and migrants. “We talk about the generosity of people with very little who are still able to recognize the need of those with even less. It’s very compelling.”

At the Bidi Bidi settlement, more than 200,000 refugees, mostly people fleeing war and famine in neighboring South Sudan, have been enthusiastically welcomed by the local Ugandans, many of whom remember their own flight during violence in Uganda two decades ago.

Encouraging agriculture, vocational training and small lending practices, CRS helps refugees and Ugandans work side by side to the betterment of their now shared community.

“They see the power of being together and not distinguishing between refugee and a citizen of the host country,” Tadeo-Orbik said. “The experience they have of resilience and integration is helping to build families, the economy, strengthen agriculture.”

And Creighton’s role in becoming an advocate and a donor for CRS programs around the globe is helping to foster that atmosphere. Most recently, four Creighton students took part in CRS’s Student Ambassadors Leaders Together (SALT) Summit in Washington, D.C., and spent time with lawmakers, telling them about the importance of continued outreach through U.S. government agencies and CRS’s 40 nongovernmental partners.

One integral partner in Uganda is USAID, which is helping CRS’s Farmer-to-Farmer program. The program, Tadeo-Orbik said, is looking to further its mission by recruiting business faculty and graduate students to help with the marketing and economic possibilities for farmers.

Tadeo-Orbik said the trip to Uganda with other CRS Global Campus representatives helps further bring home the importance of the work, especially in a world increasingly riven by turmoil and disaster. In addition to the University’s role, St. John’s Church and the Omaha Archdiocese are also vital partners in fundraising and mission for CRS’s international programs taking place in more than 100 countries.

“It was a privilege to see our work in action,” Tadeo-Orbik said. “The advocacy our students have done, asking for funding at the highest level for international development, it’s something that’s always in motion. We’re seeing the tremendous impact it makes.”

For more information on CRS programs or Creighton’s status as a Global Campus, contact Kelly Tadeo-Orbik at