Service & Justice Trips Reflections Archive

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Confessions of a Meataholic

Aaron PonceOne of my biggest passions is meat. I’ve found the sport of eating a tender slab of steak, or dining on a succulent chicken to be most riveting. Not once have my forefathers contemplated the significant impacts of the possibility of human existence without ample protein. It was sir William Shakespeare who made the profound statement, “A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age,”. So if I am to love meat, why beith the distress of our crops? Our community? A service trip on sustainability right at home in Omaha and Lincoln has answered the unspoken question that has long been hidden in my head. I love meat, but do I really need it?

Within a month, we probably encounter enough waste to fill a building. It’s become an undeniable truth that waste is simply everywhere. Culture has taught us to mass produce and take on efficiency and profit over sustainability and renewable sources. But we transported ourselves to Shadow Brook Farm in Lincoln, and we experience life on the farm side with the Loth family. Their organic farm had a major emphasis on concepts of sustainability. Waste was kept to a bare minimum, and you would be surprised with what you think would be waste, could be food for a new crop of plants, or could be recycled into a new tool or decoration.

Now comes the meat. On our service trip, we decided to go VEGETARIAN. That’s right, no meat, for five days. Sustainability advocates for vegetation, as the amount of energy we acquire from meat requires a lot more energy input, than acquiring the same energy from a plant. Animals require food (plants), water, and maintenance. A plant only requires water, good soil (unless you have an aquaponic system), and sunshine. Plants are simple, and surprisingly, quite delicious. Not once on the service trip have I had a dream of lambs jumping over the fence, turning into a lamb chop, and falling into my mouth. In fact, I would be confident to say that the change in diet left me feeling more fresh and clean than usual. Harvesting energy from plants and other products instead of meat is definitely much more simple and renewable for the community and healthy for the individual. The people in my group actually became closer to each other, and the community by embracing vegetarianism. We worked together to create all vegetarian dishes that were still very delicious.

My meat cravings after the trip did not subside, however, coming back, I now know that vegetarianism is not really for eccentric hippies or tree huggers. Vegetarianism is for everyone. Working more vegetables like beans, fruits and leafy plants into a diet, and cutting back on the meat, will still keep you nutritionally sound, and not starved for life of meat. The key is in balance. I don’t need to splurge on meat, a diet with a healthy balance is perfect. I still indulge on a moist steak, but throw me some carrots, potatoes, and a salad, and I couldn’t be any happier.

Aaron Ponce
Class of 2017
College of Arts and Sciences

The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.

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The Friends of The A-B-C “Abased”: Because That was the Pun Guys

Shannon Fuller

These young men [people] constituted as sort of family among themselves, through friendship. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

 

 I’m sort of a French literary buff, so, I’ve read Les Miserables almost in its entirety. So, anyone who has read about the Friends of the ABC will understand the irony in this quote.

There are nine people in this picture. There were nine Friends of the ABC. The Friends of the ABC worked to serve the poor and disenfranchised in Paris in the 1830s. These faces worked to serve the poor and disenfranchised in Albuquerque, NM in 2014. These nine very different people became like a family through friendship, the same way these nine different students in a novel did nearly 200 years ago.

I don’t really know if they ever reflected on the hardest of the hard days together. I, however, can only imagine they did. They might have done this over a coffee or watered down wine in a cafe, and we around a small candle on the tile floor of a hospitality center. I can only imagine, though, that the results were the same. I can only imagine that justified anger, tears, and poems came out of their reflections the same way ours produced the very same. In fact, due to the strong similarities I see between the nine of us and the nine of them . . . I cannot imagine otherwise.

Reflection was so very powerful for me. It changed the way I view myself, and the way that I view the world. I am a different person because of the things that we discussed around our tiny candle in the late hours of the night and sometimes wee hours of the morning.

Reflection opened me to the person I am and where I fit into the puzzle of life. Reflection was more than just a discussion of what we could do to fix the problems in Albuquerque, or even homelessness in general. It allowed me to express my vulnerability. It allowed me–a relatively closed book–to show who I really am beneath all the layers that I carried. I know where I fit. I am a poet. I am unique, and I don’t have to cover that up.

I’ve now come back to campus with this new and enlightened perspective of myself. I was talking with one of my friends who I knew well before service. She said that she’s seen me around campus this past week and mentioned that the change she’s seen in me is huge.

I notice I’m more confident in myself. I’m not closed off to the rest of the world as I’d been before. I’m stronger. I notice it everyday when I wake up and look at myself in the mirror, and I think: “If nothing else, you’ve made a difference in one place. You have eight other people out there who love you for the person you are. So, you can’t give up because at the very least your friends in Albuquerque are counting on you. You are Steve’s angel and Dennis’ artist. You are Andrew’s friend…”

Then I smile. Today’s gonna be good.


Shannon Fuller
Class of 2017
College of Arts and Sciences
Service and Justice Trip Participant – Spring 2014

The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.

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Dear Reader

Baldovino 2
Throughout the service trip we became more and more informed about different aspects of the West Virginian society that affected public health: black lung disease, prescription drug abuse, child poverty, strong family values, the new Affordable Healthcare Act, and even state pride. Every day we immersed ourselves in West Virginian public health.

The day before we left West Virginia we had a discussion with West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition Executive Director, Stephen Smith. He is a part of a team that creates beneficial change in the lives of children and families. He taught us his job in six, simple steps: 1) have a real story, 2) organize a team, 3) set your goal, 4) find your target, 5) act with courage, and 6) evaluate. Being on an immersion trip and learning all that we have, I expected to discuss a situation on the elimination of child poverty West Virginia, but we didn’t. He asked us to use our story, our own personal story.

Why would I use my life to outline change when for the past week I’ve been learning about other lives that I could help change?

In six steps, a complete stranger told a small group of students how to create change—on an entire state’s lifestyle or in an individual’s story. Then it hit me. Change is personal. The idea of change may start with a single individual with a personal story and may grow into a massive corporation. The service trip allowed me to encounter an experience that I would not have normally had. On the trip, I became a part of others’ stories, but their stories also became a part of mine. The service trip was no longer mine. Perhaps the most important part of the service trip was realizing that there are real people with real stories outside of my community and outside of my life. Through the service trip, I learned that there are no ordinary, everyday experiences, because each one of us lives a different life and follows a different path. We can only grow by breaking out of our community bounds and meeting someone new. I was able to share an experience with the people of West Virginia. We both grew by understanding the differences in each of our lives, and overcoming the obstacle of distance in order to find a connection and grow in a personal relationship.
Baldovino1

Michael Baldovino
Class of 2016
College of Arts and Sciences
Service and Justice Trips Participant

The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.

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Being Simple isn’t Simple

Bridget Su CasaSimplicity was emphasized on my trip because of the simplistic practices we engaged in while we were at the Su Casa Catholic Worker House. The food supply for the house is provided solely by donations from community organizations that have food that they cannot sell. So during the week – along with living on less shower time, less connection to electronics, less make-up, fewer clothes – the group also ate food that was either out-of-date or damaged. I was struck by the way people can and do live on simple diets and how that is a way of simple living in which I could easily engage, in addition to the others. Even if I don’t eat damaged or out-of-date foods, downsizing my menu options to become a simpler, more ethical eater is something I can do.

I internalized simplicity on my trip by recognizing that the simple is not so simple. Our group confronted issues regarding hunger, violence, and immigration. When you initially meet someone with these struggles, you see a person who is hungry, who has lost a loved one to guns, who cannot gain legal status. But each person has policies, an event, a story that creates the situation he or she is in. Simplicity in the form of a simple existence – little money, few resources, little food, few electronic devices, no personal transportation – can really be a vision of a very complicated existence. And I think that is worth noting and taking into account whether you become a lawyer, a doctor, a business person, a teacher, an artist, or a politician. No person has total control of circumstances. No person is unaffected by the plight around them, even if they do not acknowledge it. Simplicity can be the facade under which complexity thrives.


Bridget Battafarano
Class of 2015
College of Arts and Sciences
Service and Justice Trips Participant

The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.

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Simplicity: FBST 2K13

1375206_10202375059445792_664084645_n“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
- Hans Hofmann

This fall, I had the privilege to lead a service trip to the White Violet Eco-Center in Terre Haute, Indiana. I chose this trip because of my desire to be more informed about sustainability and passion for advocacy work in environmental issues. The White Violet Center is run by the Sisters of Providence and is focused around eco-spirituality, or the cooperative interworking of all creation. Our service included working with alpacas, gardening, trailblazing, and cleaning the White Violet Center. For someone who is usually not interested in manual labor, I actually loved this trip. The service we did each day during the week was quite relaxing. Simplicity of the mind was the nicest thing, as we were able to put our worries and cares aside and serve on the farm each day.

Our living quarters were more comfortable than the sleeping bags on cold floors I had experienced on my past trips. Nevertheless, we made the effort to incorporate simplicity. I was impressed with each of my participants’ ability to set technology aside. We had a television in our house, but we played Bananagrams and Fish Bowl in the evenings iinstead of watching it. We went vegetarian for the week, and also made the effort to be simplistic in the way we utilized the food we were given. Giving up technology for the week, we grew closer as a group because we only had each other without our phones and laptops. Our group also did a great job of using our resources before purchasing more, which was perfect for the food justice aspect of our trip.

I was impressed with the intentionality of each participant on our trip to be simplistic. As a group of academically-motivated Creighton students, we all knew it was not easy to go an entire week without studying, checking e-mail, or looking at our cell phones. Reaching the end of the week, however, we all realized it was beneficial to be simplistic. Growing closer as a group and being able to clear one’s head without distraction were positive outcomes of living simply on our trip. Simplicity has always been the pillar I feel most strongly about and the one I have been able to incorporate into my daily life. I have now been on four service trips, each of which has inspired me to be intentional about de-cluttering my life in order to be present to relationships and other aspects of my life that matter.

Mary Clare Lally
Class of 2014
College of Business
Service and Justice Trips Core Team

The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.

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My NOLA Days

NOLA
Over fall break, I went on a Service and Justice Trip to the Duchesne House in New Orleans, Louisiana. Our service was working for the St. Bernard Project, rebuilding homes that have not yet been repaired after Hurricane Katrina. The thing that I enjoyed most about volunteering for St. Bernhard Project was that we were able to see the three different houses at different stages of repair. In the last two days of service, the house we were working on had just started being rebuilt. The first two days, we were all putting the finishing touches on a house. On our last day of service, we were invited to a homecoming celebration for a family whose house was now complete. Seeing three different homes in three different stages of repair made me realize that the St. Bernard Project is with the victims of Hurricane Katrina through every step of the rebuilding process.

The members at the Duchesne House made my experience in New Orleans extraordinary by welcoming us into their community, as well as educating us about the affects Hurricane Katrina had on the city and people of New Orleans. The sisters at the Duchesne House immediately invited us to join in all of their activities, such as daily prayer, meals, and after-dinner games of Catch Phrase. Their welcoming environment quickly made me feel at home in New Orleans. Also, the Duchesne House gave us many opportunities to learn about the city of New Orleans. On the first day in New Orleans, one of the volunteers living at the Duchesne House, Julie, took us on a tour to see the levees and some of the various rebuilding projects around New Orleans. This tour made me extremely excited to being working for the St. Bernard Project. During the evenings, Sister Ann scheduled different events for us to attend so we could see other aspects of New Orleans culture. These activities included a tour of the Saint Louis Cathedral, a visit to the Washitaw Indian tribe chief, a drum lesson at Congo Square, and a tour of a lighthouse that was recently restored after the affects of Katrina. All these activities showed me the rich culture of New Orleans and made me appreciate each different aspect of the culture.

Just as in my previous service trip, I became very close to the other members of my service trip. Over the week, we bonded during the long car rides, daily reflections, and various tasks at our service sites. Every day, I was proud of the work we accomplished and how well we worked together, both in pairs and as a group. Through the endless studs to paint and numerous fiberglass splinters, every member of our group worked diligently to complete each task we were given. Whether we were working on a project together or talking over dinner, I loved getting to know every member of our group. I am so happy that I was able to become friends with each person on my trip and I will always remember them as a key part of the wonderful experience I had in New Orleans.

Michelle Baumann
Class of 2015
College of Arts and Sciences
Service and Justice Trips Participant

The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.

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