What’s Up In The World Wednesday

On this brisk, February Wednesday there is much going on in the world!

ISIS Kill List: A senior US official revealed that the United States has a secret list of the top ISIS personnel in Iraq and Syria it hopes to target in future airstrikes. This news has been divulged after the public executions of foreign civilians. Pope Francis has recently deemed the ISIS killings as “barbaric.” You can read more about the United States’ plan to attack ISIS members here.

2016 Presidential Race: While 2015 is only a couple of months in, the 2016 presidential election is already highly anticipated. Both republican Mitt Romney and democrat Elizabeth Warren have already announced that they will not be in running, but there is much excitement about who might run. Many see this race as belonging to Hilary Clinton, who a majority of Americans believes represents the future, which you can read about here. To see a full list of potential presidential candidates you can look here.

Cortina Podcasts – Listen Up! On BLUJ radio on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in February

Hello Cortina!

Last semester, the students in Cortina’s Composition class wrote, recorded, and edited podcasts about social justice issues. The podcasts include interviews with campus and community members, scholarly research, personal thoughts, reflections, and witty banter.

Throughout the month of February, they will be broadcast on Creighton’s student-run radio station, BLUJ radio.You can listen by  tuning in to BLUJ radio 7-9am Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month of February. If you can’t listen then, the podcasts will also be available to download. I am working with BLUJ radio on how to host them, and will let you know as soon as I find out.

The broadcast schedule is below! They are a great way to inform yourself about social justice and get to know your fellow Cortinians! Enjoy!

Tuesday Feb. 3

Smiley Kotob and Kyle Armstrong, Racism in the Modern World

Where does racism come from? Where does racism come from and what does it look like internationally?

Joey Wichep and Avelyss Roman, Misrepresentation of Minorities

What is it like to be a minority on Creighton’s campus? What are some of the beliefs people have about minorities on campus?

Shannon Mulcahey and Sheri Tochiki, Judging a Book by its Cover: The Real Truth about What’s Inside the Pages

What are some of the stereotypes students encounter at Creighton and how does it affect our educational experience?


Thursday, Feb. 5

Loriana Harkey and Kara Harvey, Striving vs. Surviving: Breaking Barriers

How do people feel about homelessness on Creighton’s campus? How do we break down barriers between ourselves and the people around us?

MaryAnn Rigo and Michelle Doyle, Hunger in America

What are the effects of hunger in America and what can we do about it?

Summer Nguyen, Jade Cameron, Natalie Lang, OMGMOs: Genetically Modified Organisms

Who controls our food supply? What are GMOs and why should we care?


Tuesday, Feb. 10

Eithne Leahy and Linh Tranh, Sudanese Refugees in the Omaha Community

What is the political situation in Sudan? What is life like for Sudanese refugees in Omaha?

Amy Dusselier, Delaney Peterson, and Jeni Obman, Dependent Adult Abuse

What is dependent adult abuse? Why does it concern us as Creighton students and what can we do about it?


Thursday, Feb. 12

Anna Gerze and Kaylee Zhang, Love is Love, No Matter What

What are some of the views of same-sex marriage around the world?

Ed Nunez and Sarah Guntz, The Care of a Community

What does it mean that Creighton recently extended benefits to spouses in same-sex marriages? Why did Creighton do this and how does it affect the campus community?


Tuesday, Feb. 17

Arash Hamidi and Peyton Schneider, Ending the Cycle of “Who Cares?”

How do issues like politics, immigration, climate change affect us as Creighton students and why should we care about them?

Cristina Marquez and Tommy Walther, Alcohol in the College Lifestyle

Why do college students drink? What causes and contributes to the drinking culture on college campuses?

Alex Banketov and Kareim Bakhsh, The Psychological Effects of Bullying

How does bullying continue to affect us as adults? What is the psychological effects of bullying on “bullies” and “victims” of bullying?


Thursday, Feb. 19

Rachel O’Neal and Kate Albrecht, Chemical Allure

What kind of chemicals are in the beauty products we use every day? What are the effects of these chemicals on our bodies?

Katherine Crowley and Maggie Cooper, What’s in Your Diet?

How does the food we eat relate to our everyday lives? How can our food connect us to our mind, body, and spirit?


Tuesday, Feb. 24

Mateo Le Noir and Calvin Senteza, Anonymity Online

What does it mean that people can be totally “anonymous” online? How does online anonymity affect the way we communicate on campus?

Carly Kenney and Katie Rasmussen, Gender Inequality on College Campuses

What are some ways that gender inequality is important on Creighton’s campus? Why should you care about feminism?

Mary Elizabeth Yeh and Sarah Kort, Sex Trafficking in the Omaha Community

What is sex trafficking? How does it affect us here in Omaha and what can you do about it?


Thursday, Feb. 26

Sydney Kidd and Katie Riedell, Gay Rights and Human Rights in Today’s Society

Why did Creighton University extend benefits to same-sex couples? Why is this a human rights issue?

Sydney Lynch and Matthew Tran, Historically Black Colleges and Universities

What role do Historically Black Colleges and Universities play in the lives of American college students? How do they work to achieve educational inequality?

Vincent Salazar and Kaylee Stankus, The American System and Pay Inequality

What are the causes and effects of pay inequalities in the United States?

Cortina Sophomore Application LIVE!

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Rising sophomores, the moment has arrived, drum-roll please… If you’d like to join the Cortina Community next year, please complete the New Sophomore application.

Applications are due by February 8!

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Kate Macan (katemacan@creighton.edu) or Sarah Peraud (sarahperaud@creighton.edu).

Also, Information Nights are happening next week in Residence Halls near you.  Come hear more about community life in Cortina February 1 – February 5.  Hope to see you there!


Love in the Ordinary & reflections on MLK Day

“Love doesn’t mean doing extraordinary or heroic things. It means knowing how to do ordinary things with tenderness.”
Jean Vanier, Community And Growth


As we begin this new year and continue our reflection on Sunday’s Formation Time, I wanted to share a few resources with you.  First, as Tom Shadyac shares, “We are all connected –   connected to each other and to everything around us.”  Thus, we really are powerful beyond measure.  What we do and say–no matter how great or small–has impact.  We truly can be forces of good in this world.

I know that I get caught up in the notion that I need to do something big and important and I let myself become entangled by my ego.  Often times, this results in my inaction because I become too overwhelmed by the prospect of actually achieving change, and I’m not too keen on failure.  So, it becomes easier to do nothing.  Yet, if I let myself step outside of myself (my way of being in the world) and take a good look at the world and those around me, it becomes apparent that every little action I do does have meaning–how I greet others, where I choose to shop and how I choose to get to the store.  Little things have big impact.

To inspire your continued reflection, I recommend the following podcast from On Being: The Art and Discipline of Nonviolence with Civil Rights activist, John Lewis.  In the podcast, Lewis talks about the power of love and the power of love in action.  I think he addresses the challenge we were left with in the Documentary I Am.  Both challenge us to pray with our feet, “to do all that we can do while we occupy this space” (Lewis).

You are the solution.  I AM the solution.  WE ARE THE SOLUTION.



Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Jesuit Martyrs of the UCA

jesuit-martyrs-poster-draft-2-2A Reflection by Loriana Harkey

On Sunday, November 16, Creighton University hosted a Salvadoran dinner and film to inform and honor the Jesuits martyred in 1989 during the war in El Salvador. Before the film, everyone was provided a homemade Salvadoran meal by a family who owns a local restaurant here in Omaha that consisted of pupusas and tamales. The film focused specifically on the six martyred Jesuits, the housekeeper and her daughter. The Jesuits saw their mission as converting Salvadorans to become Europeans Catholics, but upon arriving and experiencing El Salvador and the people they found a new mission: to unify faith in God with justice for the people. During this time of war, the church did its best to help and support the people. Unfortunately, the church suffered the same destiny as the poor.

Oscar Romero, a well-known bishop of the Catholic Church in El Salvador who was assassinated while giving mass, said earlier in his life that he did not fear death. He believed that if he died, he would be resurrected in the people. It takes a brave person to stay in a position of authority in the face of danger. The same goes for the martyred Jesuits. Many others fled and went into hiding when they heard that people were being killed, but these Jesuits held their ground. They had not done anything wrong and had nothing to hide, so they felt there was no need to leave. This is similar to Jean Donovan’s theory, an young American adult volunteer who was killed in El Salvador along with three Salvadoran nuns. She knew it was dangerous to go back to El Salvador, but she had to go back. She felt the need in her heart. In 1990, many Salvadoran students joined the military academy to help their country fight the communists, especially since the university was a definite target of the communists. They’d sing chants full of specific threats or “goals” such as, “We’re ready to kill heaps of terrorists.” Needless to say, peace wasn’t easy.

One point brought up in my psychology class was the fact that to punish people who kill people, we kill those people. It seems a bit backwards and odd. Some may justify this by saying that if you kill the killers, than they will no longer be. But then what does that make you? A killer? Or a peacemaker? A war was definitely not wanted by everyone. Though wars are hoped to end in peace, many realized that at the end of this war, there would no longer be suffering, but instead there would be something worse: death.

One student in particular named Espinoza came to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to be trained to fight in the conflict. The U.S. spent a total of $15 million under the Reagan Administration on the El Salvador war to help the people fight the guerrillas who were against the Salvadoran government. The methods these newly trained soldiers used on the FMLN guerrillas were cruel. They burned their already dead bodies and shouted phrases like “May Buddha keep you company in hell.” It is understood why these soldiers were so upset by these rebels, but they seemed to have been using just as cruel methods to fight back as had been used on them. Unfortunately, a group of these U.S. trained soldiers were responsible for death of the Jesuit martyrs. Espinoza was a witness to the murders of the Jesuits. He remembers the men being ordered to tell the Jesuits to come out onto the front lawn. They were then ordered to murder them. They were given specific orders as we find out that the Jesuits were purposefully shot in the head as if toMartyrs-Prayer-Card-Back-copy-772x1030 shoot out the brain or the control center of these Jesuits, as Jon Cortina explained. Cortina was good friends with the Jesuit martyrs. In fact, he lived with them. By the grace of God, he was not murdered because he was out of town during this tragic event. Knowing this makes it all the more special to be a part of the Cortina Community, a group of students who strives to live in Cortina and the other Jesuits’ footsteps by giving back to the community through service and social justice. The two women, the housekeeper and her daughter, were also killed, perhaps so there would be no surviving witnesses. They were brutally shot and died holding each other on the kitchen floor.

After the film and during discussion, one audience member shared her vision with us. She asked us, “Where does our faith meet reality?” It is great to talk about all of these injustices, but what are we going to do about it? She believes that in all of the classes we take, we need to think about the poorest of the poor and what we can do to help them, even if it is just a math class. Though this vision would not be easy to accomplish, we have to remember that peace isn’t easy. It is an incredible thing to know that we still honor the UCA/Jesuit Martyrs in 2014.

Mapping Arguments in Our Community

While we often think about words making an argument, spaces and places make arguments too. For example, neighborhoods make arguments about the values of the people that live there and public parks make arguments about how people should spend their time outdoors.

For the last two years, students in my English 155: Cortina Composition were challenged to work as a group to analyze how public spaces around Omaha make “arguments” that influence the way people think about a space. We practiced by visiting the Benson neighborhood to see for ourselves how the neighborhood demonstrates its values of local business, art, and community (and to drink delicious Aromas coffee).

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 2.41.01 PMTo conduct their own spatial analysis, students selected a site in the local Omaha area, photographed the site, interviewed local residents, conducted online research, collaboratively wrote their analyses, and posted their work to a publicly available Google Map. The end result is an exciting and interactive opportunity to explore the Omaha area.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 2.39.56 PMhttps://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=z-YT8QHakpmQ.k2XlbSmpJkx8

I invite you to click on the projects to see, read, and learn more about public arguments in Omaha.

Dr. Faith Kurtyka

“El Salvador: Another Vietnam,” A Reflection by Loriana Harkey

As we near the 25th anniversary of the murder of the Jesuit/UCA Martyrs, there are numerous events on campus to inform students of history behind this tragic day. In the 1981 film titled El Salvador: Another Vietnam, I learned core similarities between the war in El Salvador and the Vietnam War. Because the film was made before 1989, the Jesuit martyrs were still alive, but this film provided a solid background and understanding of why the murder would occur in the near future. Dr. Tom Kelly also further explained concepts that were brought up in the film.

One key similarity between the two wars was the use of the counterinsurgency method. This is when both combatants and their supporters, which includes innocent, unarmed people, are killed alike. Dr. Kelly compared this to the saying, “If you drain the pond, the fish will die.” Though we are not proud of it, the U.S. used this method during the Vietnam and El Salvador wars.

The war began when there was a group that disagreed with the Salvadoran government. There were people who supported the government, and there were those against it. Those against it were called guerrillas, or rebels. These guerrillas had no mercy on anyone associated with the government. They destroyed anything and anyone in their path. Similar to the rebels in Vietnam, they started in the sky and bombed people overhead from planes. Then, they came to the ground as groundtroopers and shot anything they saw.

In the film, college students just leaving class fell facedown on the ground to beg for mercy and not be harmed. Some even played dead. These attacks were much more severe than drive-by shootings. They were thorough, well thought out plans of murder, mutilation and destruction. Though some families were able to flee to Honduras, the remaining families were undoubtedly massacred. The guerrillas used tactics to get you to leave before killing you. One way, according to Dr. Kelly, was to take your child and cut his or her arm off in hopes that this traumatic experience would cause you to leave or join their side. To this day, there are still Salvadorans with only one arm. In one case, 136 bodies were found in a church, and 120 of them were children. But that is not the most depressing part. These children did not die of gunshot wounds, but of machete wounds. One woman from the film teared up as she retold the story of what happened to her son. He worked in agricultural business, a job completely unaffiliated with supporting or going against the government, yet he was taken by guerillas to the top of a mountain and cut into pieces. Needless to say, these deaths were highly gruesome.

Seeing these images from the film reminded me of the Holocaust. The limp lifeless bodies just piled like packages really helped me understand and have much empathy toward the devastating and plain evil nature of this war. Under President Carter, the U.S. eventually sent help to El Salvador and from 1971 to 1981 to train El Salvador soldiers. From 1980 to 1981, the U.S. sent more money to El Salvador than they had ever received in the past. Unfortunately, the money was not put fully to good use as the U.S. intended. Because the Salvadoran military officers received 1 million dollars a day from the U.S. during the war, they basically gave the guerillas weapons because as long as the war continued, the officers would keep getting money from the U.S. When a country is not financially secure, money-hungry actions such as this are bound to occur.

Though the Vietnam War did not exactly match the outcome of the war in El Salvador, the film and Dr. Kelly’s explanations show that even a couple of similarities, like the counterinsurgency method and no mercy fighting style, can be a red flag that any country is going down a fatal path.

For more information about the 25th anniversary of the Jesuit/UCA Martyrs, visit http://blogs.creighton.edu/jesuitjustice/

What’s Up In The World Wednesday

This Wednesday it was announced that the United States and China have created a joint plan to curb carbon emissions, in hopes that other nations will follow. While the plan was announced today, the two countries have been working on it secretly for over nine months. You can read more about the plan here. What do you think about this response to climate change? Is it enough? Do you think other countries will follow the lead of the number 1 and 2 contributors of carbon emissions and take responsibility?

Speech Communities: “So That’s a Thing” by Kaylee Stankus

“I have to write a paper for Cortina English on a word or phrase used in my speech community, so that’s a thing.” One phrase that I find myself, as well as my friends, using a lot is “so that’s a thing.” The literal meaning of the phrase poses a lot of questions. What qualifies as “a thing”? How do we know if it’s a good or a bad “thing”?

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In my community of friends and Creightas, the phrase is almost an ending to whatever we are discussing. Instead of just ending the statement normally, we find ourselves unnecessarily ending it with “…so that’s a thing.” For example, if I was talking with Sarah, she might say “Today my boss asked me to stay late at work, so that’s a thing.” In this situation, Sarah included “…so that’s a thing” because she was hinting to her audience that it was something that she didn’t want to do but felt like she had to do.

We use this phrase in many different ways. I often use this phrase in a form of a question. If someone explains something that I might not believe right away, instead of saying “really?” or “for real?” I might say, “that’s a thing?” Sometimes it’s used sarcastically when we are angry or annoyed with something that has happened recently. Such as, “Today my politics teacher assigned 100 pages of reading due by tomorrow, so that’s a thing.”

Personally, I don’t mind the usage of the phrase, though this paper makes me realize just how often we use it. Since I’ve been writing and discussing this topic with my friends, I started noticing just how often I say it. I also realize how some people outside of the speech community might be confused when we use it in our everyday conversations. Whether it’s used sarcastically, as just a statement, or as an expression of disbelief, “so that’s a thing” will always be “a thing” in my speech community.

Post-midterm election coverage

The Republicans took control of the Senate during the midterms elections on Tuesday. You can see a map of the Senate election results here.

Locally, Democrat Brad Ashford defeated the longstanding, Republican incumbent Lee Terry in the race for the District 2 Congressional seat. This was the first time a Democrat has won this seat in 16 years. You can read parts of Congressman Ashford’s victory speech here.

The midterm election might have had a record low. However, states in which races for the Senate were competitive- such as New Hampshire and Colorado- inspired higher voter turnouts. You can listen to broadcast about the low voter turnout here.