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2014 Service & Justice Trips Newsletter

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Words of Wisdom: Dr. Roger Bergman

Dr. Roger Bergman of the Justice and Peace Studies Department.

Dr. Roger Bergman of the Justice and Peace Studies Department.

I often tell my Creighton friends that if I had time to take extra majors beyond my double-major in journalism and theology, I would probably tack on a psychology major, along with justice and society, English, and social work. I’m kind of a dork.

The beauty of my theology major is that it gave me the chance to incorporate the things I love about the justice and society and social work majors into my course repertoire. I could take theology classes that emphasized Catholic Social Teaching or the application of spirituality into ministry work.

One such class like this was Dr. Bergman’s Christian Ethics of War and Peace class, which conveniently overlapped with both the theology and justice and peace studies majors. Perfect.

Dr. Bergman began the Justice and Peace Studies program in 1995. Because he dedicated his professional life to teaching students how to work for social justice in their communities and the world, and because of my interest in continuing with some kind of social justice work beyond Creighton, I decided Dr. Bergman would be a good person to ask for words of wisdom.

I walked into Dr. Bergman’s office out of breath after climbing the four flights of stairs in Creighton Hall at record pace (I was running late after leaving the CCSJ later than I expected). If he noticed, he didn’t say anything, but simply greeted me with a friendly smile and asked the question all seniors love and hate to answer: “What are you doing after graduation?”

After catching up for a few minutes, I expected Dr. Bergman to dive into his words of wisdom with something profoundly social-justice oriented. I was surprised when, instead, he started talking about the Ignatian Examen.

“Pay attention to your deepest promptings, your deepest desires,” Bergman said. “If you can get to that truth about yourself then that’s ninety percent of the battle. It’s a vocational question: Who are you in the world?”

When I asked Dr. Bergman how we can keep up this practice of reflection in the midst of pressures to be practical, to have everything figured out and be focused on being successful (not bad things, but they can be if they consume us), he pointed to the Examen. The Examen is a Jesuit mode of reflective praying through your day.

“I’m a big fan of the Examen as a way to look at where your spirit was in the day and how it met other people’s spirits, it’s a way to look at highs and lows,” Bergman said. “You find the one time/moment of the day when it seemed like something happened and you think about why it stands out to you, why it’s significant.”

Bergman pointed to Fr. Dennis Hamm, S.J.’s article “Rummaging for God: Praying Backwards Through Your Day” as an example of a good way to approach the Examen.

Having done the Examen for many years, Bergman believes that if you reflect and pray with it consistently over time, you can start to see patterns developing, patterns that tell you who you are and where you’re headed. Bergman emphasized the way the Examen can lead to greater self-knowledge and awareness of what it is we are truly called to do with our lives, and the importance of realizing this first before looking at logistical questions of careers.

“Once you’re centered in that discernment, you can move on to the practical stuff and it doesn’t seem so stressful,” Bergman said. “It doesn’t happen all at at once. Sometimes you have to tell those who are pressuring you to make practical decisions to give you a break.”

Along with promoting greater self-awareness and discernment, the Examen can also help you carry an attitude of attentiveness throughout the day and can even lead to praxis-focused reflection, Bergman explained.

Praxis is the act of reflecting on hard social injustices, asking questions about them and then acting on the energy those questions raise. In the CCSJ, we do this by asking “What?” “So what?” “Now what?” What is the issue I’ve just encountered? Why does it matter? What am I going to do about it now that I care about it?

“Without this kind of deeper reflection that the Examen creates, action might not be as well-grounded,” Bergman said about the intersection of the Examen and Praxis.

“I would to say to students, especially, that it’s not about what you do tomorrow or next week, it’s about what you do for a lifetime,” Bergman said. “It’s about forming yourself by the things you participate in.”

For those specifically interested in pursuing social justice work as a vocation, Bergman had a couple of quotes to share:

1) When sharing the story of a friend who lost her house for resisting taxes as a form of social disobedience to promote peace, Bergman passed along a phrase she still lives by: “Be of good cheer. It’s better than being bitter and resentful.”

2) Along with this, Bergman shared a favorite Wendell Berry quote that speaks to staying positive in a world where so much work is needed: “Be cheerful, although you have considered all the facts.”

Finally, Bergman encouraged social justice workers to surround themselves with people of like commitments and goals.

“If [social justice work] becomes who who you are, than you can’t not do it,” Bergman said.

Bergman shared a quote with me from one of his former students, Holly Fuller (CU grad, ’03), that I think is appropriate to end with:

“It’s hard to be in solidarity with the poor but I can’t imagine not trying. If I don’t try then I am failing myself.”

Fun facts: Dr. Bergman has been a professor at Creighton for 25 years. If he could have one superpower of choice it would be that his knees were good enough to play basketball again.

 

Words of Wisdom is a blog series started by Student Coordinator Anna Ferguson, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. Each blog is an interview that poses the question to various faculty, staff, Jesuits and friends: If you had to give words of wisdom to someone, or if there was one phrase or sentence you think people should live by, would would that be?

 

 

 

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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Weekly Update March 01- March 27

Sunday, March 01

World Cafe Dialogue: Unpacking Race
All Creighton students, faculty and staff are invited to engage in a campus-wide dialogue on the implications of race in the Creighton community, facilitated by the Werner Institute. Due to the February winter storm, the event was rescheduled for 3:00pm in the Skutt Student Center Ballroom on March 1st. You are an important part of this conversation and we hope to see you there! Please contact Mike Rios with any questions.

Tuesday, March 03

Prayer Service for Fr. Schlegel
Creighton’s 23rd president, Father John Schlegel, S.J., left a legacy of a beautiful campus that grew considerably during his tenure. The campus was transformed with the addition of many new buildings, the mall renovation and the gorgeous landscaping we enjoy every day. In support of Father Schlegel, the Staff Advisory Council with the support of the President’s Advisory Board invites you to join them Tuesday, March 3, at 11:45 a.m. at the fountain in front of St. John’s Church. You’ll receive a purple ribbon, in awareness of pancreatic cancer, and a group greeting will be videotaped to be shared later with Father Schlegel. Following, everyone is invited to attend the noon Mass which will be offered on his behalf. The service will include the prayer Father Schlegel has asked us to pray in support of Pedro Arrupe’s canonization. Following Mass, you will have a chance to send a smile, wave or comment on videotape to Father Schlegel. Let’s show him he is in our thoughts and prayers! Please contact Joann Crinklaw with any questions.

Wednesday, March 04

Cold Toes Warm Hearts
Cold Toes Warm Hearts is a drive to raise money for the biggest homeless shelter in Nebraska, the Siena/Francis House. Swanson Hall at Creighton University encourages you to build solidarity by giving you a perspective of our increasing homeless population. On March 4, please join us in going barefoot (or wearing sandals) throughout the day. There will be a Hospitality Room in the Swanson Lobby with food and drinks for those who have generously donated to our cause. A donation of $5 will purchase you a pin that guarantees you access to the Hospitality Room, though any donation will be graciously accepted. The event will take place throughout the day, with the hospitality room in Swanson Hall from 7:30 am – 4:30 pm Donations can be made at the Swanson front desk. If you would like to learn more about Siena/Francis House you can visit their website. Please contact Katie Breedlove with any questions.

Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty will hold a Lobby Day on March 4. Registration and Orientation is at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church across from the Capitol. Lunch will be provided in Room 1023 of the Capitol. A bill to repeal the death penalty (LB 268) will be debated before the Judiciary Committee at their 1:30 meeting. All are invited to this free event. Take action to end the death penalty in Nebraska. RSVP at www.nadp.net/lobby or 402-477-7787.

Thursday, March 05

CCSJ Spring Break 2015 Service & Justice Trips Send-Off Service
Please join us to pray with and send off the students participating in a week of service during spring break. There is a short ceremony then a short reception in Lower St John’s. Students participating in Service & Justice Trips, their friends and family, and the Creighton community are all invited! The Send-Off Service will be held in St. John’s Church from 9:00-10:00pm on Thursday, March 5. Please contact Jeff Peak with any questions.

Upcoming Events

Friday, March 20

Justice Walking Applications
Join us in Justice Walking 2015-2016! Justice Walking is a year-long commitment to weekly service, education, immersion and faith sharing. Applications are due March 20th. Click here for more information. Please contact Jen Kennedy-Croft with any questions.

Friday, March 27

Project Homeless Connect Omaha
Project Homeless Connect is a one-day event (8:30 am – 3:30 pm in the Kiewit Fitness Center) that serves as a one-stop shop, connecting homeless individuals to needed services, including: employment, housing, healthcare, legal resources, haircuts, Social Security, etc. There are many opportunities for Creighton students, staff, faculty, alumni/ae, and friends to volunteer. General volunteers are needed for set up, clean up, greeting, directing, registering, serving food, or whatever else is needed to help the day flow. Most volunteers will also serve as “navigators” by helping our guests to fill out a basic in-take form and by staying with our guests through the process of accessing professional services offered that day. You can sign up online to help in the morning, afternoon, or all day. All Volunteers will register for a one hour training session, and you are invited to join fellow volunteers for a follow-up session of reflection, social analysis, and ways to become more involved. To register to volunteer click here. For more information on Project Homeless Connect Omaha, Contact Ken Reed-Bouley at the Creighton Center for Service and Justice with questions at 280-2754 or visit the website.

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Words of Wisdom: Dr. Carol Zuegner

Dr. Carol Zuegner from the Journalism Department.

Dr. Carol Zuegner from the Journalism Department. Photo credit: Don Doll, S.J.

When I first met Dr. Zuegner, or Carol, as her upperclassmen journalism students affectionately call her, I was a sophomore in a 12-passenger van on my way to Washington, D.C. We were both heading to the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice with thirty or so other students, faculty, Jesuits and staff from the Center for Service and Justice. Carol as a faculty participant, myself as a student leader of the trip. Ours was just one of three large passenger vans braving the 20 hour trek to D.C.

To make things even more interesting, I was sick. I was about halfway through a bad cold and doing everything I could to not cough every two minutes. Trying to sleep in a van is hard enough as it is, but sleeping in a van when you’re sick is near-impossible. That first night on the road, Carol was sitting beside me, I barely knew her, having not taken a class from her yet, but she offered me her pillow. That small gesture, combined with the animated stories she told me about the CU Backpacking Trip she’s a part of through the journalism department, stood out to me and made me excited to take a class from her.

Since then, I’ve been fortunate to take both International Communications and Social Media with Carol, I’ve worked with her on communications projects for the Institute of Public Leadership in Omaha, I’ve worked at the Omaha World-Herald with her, and I’ve even attended one last IFTJ with her before I graduate. In all the ways I know Carol, she is warm, funny and has an energy for incorporating social justice into journalism and media, something I love.

I love visiting Carol’s office, where our interview took place, because it’s a room filled with a few of the usual professor things–bookcases filled with books, a desk, computer, etc.–as well as fun artifacts like a nun wearing boxing gloves, a cartoon-style picture of Super Man and a sock monkey puppet. Meeting with her feels more like sitting down with a friend to chat.

It took Carol very little time to come up with her words of wisdom for me: “Do what you can, where you are.”

I couldn’t help but smile when I heard the phrase. It’s one I’ve heard several times in the classes I’ve had with Carol.

“It comes from Teddy Roosevelt, of all people,” Carol said. “You know, he’s not like Mother Teresa or Gandhi, but those words have just always resonated with me, especially since getting involved with  CU Backpack.”

The CU Backpack Trip is a summer study abroad option where students spend a few weeks in a different country, or sometimes, a different state (like Alaska) and put together a documentary based on some kind of social justice issue present there. The program is a collaboration between the Creighton Theology and Journalism departments. Along with the hours of prep and work before and after the trip, the countless interviews, filming, editing and media things participants do, they also get in-depth experience and education about an important problem facing a particular society.

Backpack helped Carol realize that doing small things really can make a difference. Partaking in the trips, she shared, has truly changed her life.

Other words of wisdom from Carol:

“Take a risk. Do something out of your comfort zone. CU Backpack Journalism was definitely out of my comfort zone.”

“Every human life has value. It sounds so simplistic, but when you go to different parts of the world and the country, even, you realize that that’s not always taken into account.”

Carol’s words seem to strike at something important to both life as a journalist, which she definitely has experience with, as well as life in general. It’s certainly uplifting talking with her. If you don’t know her, I encourage you to get to know her. She’s great!

Fun facts: Carol has been at teaching at Creighton since 1997. If she could be any flavor of ice cream, she would be Butter Pecan.

Words of Wisdom is a blog series started by Student Coordinator Anna Ferguson, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. Each blog is an interview that poses the question to various faculty, staff, Jesuits and friends: If you had to give words of wisdom to someone, or if there was one phrase or sentence you think people should live by, would would that be?

 

 

 

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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Weekly Update February 20-27

Friday, February 20

Spring Career & Internship Fair
Career Fairs are the easiest way for recruiters and students to meet face-to-face and discuss students’ goals and information to reach those goals in the corporations, organizations, available internships, graduate volunteer and full-time positions represented at the fair. The fair will be held in the Harper Center, 4th Floor Ballroom from 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm . Please contact Cheri Jackson with any questions.

February 20

Graduate Student Government Food Drive
A Food Drive hosted by the Graduate Student Government. Proceeds will benefit the Open Door Mission’s Feed Omaha Now drive. Along with the Lydia House the Open Door Mission provides 2,000 meal every day to those who are hungry and homeless in the Heartland. Help support this great organization by donating some of your non-perishable food items and dropping them off at one of our boxes located across campus. Boxes located in Harper, Skutt Student Center, Creighton Hall, Criss II, and Hixson Lied.

Saturday, February 21

International Student Association Banquet
The International Student Association Annual Banquet is the most significant annual event that furthers ISA’s objective of celebrating the diversity and promoting the rich heritage of international world at Creighton University. During the banquet there will be food from all around the world and many cultural performances. This is annually a great chance for students and faculty at Creighton to exchange different cultures represented on campus, fostering our ever growing diversity on campus. The event will be held in the Harper Center, Ballroom from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. Please contact Prem Vichienwanitchkul with any questions.

February 21

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers free tax preparation services to people who make less than $53,000 a year. This service is offered by IRS-certified volunteers to students and the community. Please bring all relevant tax documents when you come. The dates and times are located below. This event will take place from 9:00am to 5:00pm in the Harper Center 3023 and on Sunday March 1st. For more information, please contact Fang Zheng or Brian Kuehner.

Tuesday, February 24

Post-Grad Volunteering- Financial Fitness Workshop
Perhaps you’ve wondered about the following when thinking about post-graduate volunteering:“What do I do about my loans during my volunteer year? Is there a difference between deferment, forbearance, and income-based repayments?” “What is public service loan forgiveness? Is this a good option for me?” “I heard that faith based programs no longer get the Segal Americorps Education Award. Is that true?” “At my program I know my room and board will be covered, but how am I supposed to survive on $100 a month?” Dean Obenauer from Creighton’s Financial Aid Office and Jeff Peak from the CCSJ are teaming up for a Financial Fitness Workshop to provide answers to these questions and more. Don’t let your desire to do a post-graduate volunteer program be derailed by questions about finances. Space is limited. Don’t miss out. It will be from 5:00-6:00pm in CCSJ (Harper 2067). Please RSVP to Jeff Peak.

February 24

Justice for Sale Documentary
Justice for Sale follows the young, courageous Congolese human rights lawyer Claudine Tsongo who refuses to accept that justice is indeed “For Sale” in her country. When she investigates the case of a soldier convicted of rape, she becomes convinced his trial was unfair and uncovers a system where the basic principles of law are ignored—and when the system fails, everyone becomes a victim. The documentary not only provides a glimpse into the failings of the Congolese judicial system but also raises questions about the role of the international community and non-governmental organizations in reforming it. Does their financial support cause justice to be for sale? And who pays the price? The film will be shown in the Office of Multicultural Affairs in Harper at 6:00pm.

Friday, February 27

A Certain Grace: Ignatian Spirituality Through the Eyes of Women
Lunch with Sr. Julia Prinz, VDMF. Sr. Prinz, a faculty member of the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA, and director of the Women of Wisdom and Action initiative at the School. Sr. Prinz is also the Provincial of the US branch of her religious community, Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity which was founded in 1963. Lunch will be served at the event. It will take place in the Skutt Student Center, East Ballroom from 11:30 am – 12:45 pm. Please contact Maureen Waldron with any questions.

Upcoming Events:

Wednesday, March 4

Cold Toes Warm Hearts
Cold Toes Warm Hearts is a drive to raise money for the biggest homeless shelter in Nebraska, the Siena-Francis House. Swanson Hall at Creighton University encourages you to build solidarity by giving you a perspective of our increasing homeless population. On March 4, please join us in going barefoot (or wearing sandals) throughout the day. There will be a Hospitality Room in the Swanson Lobby with food and drinks for those who have generously donated to our cause. A donation of $5 will purchase you a pin that guarantees you access to the Hospitality Room, though any donation will be graciously accepted. The event will take place throughout the day, with the hospitality room in Swanson Hall from 7:30 am – 4:30 pm Donations can be made at the Swanson front desk. If you would like to learn more about Siena-Francis House you can visit their website. Please contact Katie Breedlove with any question

Sunday, March 22

Hand in Hand
Campus Ministry is in need of 150 CU students to serve as Partners: Two-to-one or one-to-one companions for the Guests who will join us for Hand in Hand. It’s an exciting opportunity to give of yourself personally and touch someone’s life. What is a partner? A CU student who is matched with one of our guests from the Omaha community that has a developmental disability to share an afternoon at the Hand-In-Hand Event. Together they get to enjoy games, crafts, bingo, food,and even some karaoke! Be part of the fun as we welcome Omaha-area adults with developmental disabilities for an afternoon of food, fun and being together! Click here for more information.

Events to be included in the Weekly Update must be received by the Wednesday of the week prior to the event. All events should relate to service or justice and should include name, date, time, and a short description. The selection of events is limited by space and the discretion of the CCSJ. Please, send to ccsj@creighton.edu with “Weekly Update” in the subject line.

A 20 minute training on Creighton’s Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy is now required of all student doing community service with our office or on your own. Please click here to find an upcoming training that works for you.

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Dorothy Stang: Sustainable Justice

RachaelSchwartz_Bio_Pic

CCSJ Student Coordinator Rachael Schwartz reflecting on Dorothy Stang

In honor of Dorothy Stang’s life and martyrdom (remembered on on February 12), Student Coordinator Rachael Schwartz reflects on Dorothy’s commitment to sustainable justice.

Dorothy Stang is a woman all justice workers and people should strive to be like.  She decided to devote her life to God as a sister of Notre Dame de Namur.  When I read her story, I was impressed by both her versatility, as well as her persistence.

Originally wanting to do missionary work in China, Dorothy found herself traveling to Brazil to do charitable works there instead.  The Amazon Rainforest is the lungs for the earth and also home to some twenty million people.  Dorothy was angry to see it constantly pillaged and becoming destroyed by ranchers and other exploiters.  She took it upon herself to protect these lands.

As a result, Dorothy was put on the “kill list” for environmentalists and advocates for the forest.  Two men gunned her down as she was their prime target. Dorothy was chosen to be killed because she put together self-sustaining programs in communities committed to their own independence and the sustenance of the rainforest.

Dorothy worked for justice until she was literally taken from this earth; that is what I strive to do. To be so selfless is amazing and I cannot begin to know where to start.  However, instead of getting overwhelmed, I will start with a single act for justice every day and gradually increase it.  No person is too small to make a difference.

 

 

Rachael Schwartz
CCSJ Student Coordinator
Class of 2017

 

 

 

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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