Cortina Field Trips!

This weekend, the Cortina Community began a new tradition: Cortina Field Trips! Cortinians had the opportunity to explore different sites in the Omaha area. Formation Group Leaders led small groups of students to their favorite places around the community, from restaurants to parks to churches. Students had the chance to see parts of Omaha they may not have ventured to before and experience the diversity and liveliness of this city. Here are a few pictures from the day. We hope to continue this activity throughout the year!

What did you discover about Omaha? What are some of your places in the city?

What’s Up in the World Wednesday: Feminism and Air Strikes

Actress Emma Watson extended the formal invitation for men to join the fight for gender equality in a United Nations address on Sept. 21, launching the HeForShe campaign. In her role as the new UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Watson spoke about the necessity for the sexes to work together in order to achieve universal equality. You can find a transcript of the speech here  or watch the full video here. In her speech Watson said “Gender equality is your issue, too,” in reference to males. Do you think that gender equality is an issue for both men and women? Do you think that the definition of feminism needs to be more inclusive? Post-address, Watson was met with sexualized internet backlash that you can read about here. What does this type of bullying say about climate of gender issues?

Another hot-topic this week was the United States’ airstrikes against Syria on September 23. The U.S. military said that their aerial bombardment of Syria was the beginning of a prolonged strategy that will continue over the next few months. The campaign is likely to become more difficult as the targeted ISIS militants retreat into populated areas. You can watch a Pentagon briefing about the Syrian airstrike campaign here. Said President Obama of the military action in Syria, “We will do what is necessary to take this attack to this terrorist threat. The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone.” What do you think about the airstrikes? Is it a necessary step to combat a foreign terrorist organization or irresponsible for the United States to target populated areas of Syria?

Monday Meditation: Vocation

The first Cortina Formation Time of the year focused on the topic of vocation. Freshmen and sophomores were split into separate rooms to hear from members of the Creighton and Omaha communities who shared their vocational journey and gave advice to students as they find their own vocation.

Our panelists were: Kyle O’Reilly, video editor at West Corporation; Scott McClure, Vice President of the Magis Program at Creighton; Dr. Andy Gustafson, Associate Professor of Business Ethics and Society at Creighton; Dr. Corey Guenther, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Creighton; Becky Nickerson, Assistant Director for Leadership and Retention in Creighton’s Office of Multicultural Affairs; Amanda Drapcho, Director of the Lieben Center for Women at Creighton; and Kate McKillip, an internal and pediatric resident at UNMC. We thank them so much for taking the time to spend their Sunday evening with us!

As you begin to reflect and meditate on your passions and career calling, here are some great resources to help you continue thinking about vocation:

“Something’s your vocation if it keeps making more of you.” — Gail Godwin, Evensong

What does vocation mean to you? How do you see your time at Creighton informing your vocation? What can you do/are you doing to make your time here meaningful? How do you balance your inner voice and the demands of society/college culture when it comes to discerning your vocation?

The Start of a New Year

Welcome to our new and continuing members of the Cortina Community! After a busy start to the year full of new student orientation and the beginning of classes, we couldn’t be more excited for the year to come.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 11.22.09 AMOur first community meeting of the year was the annual Community Partner Bash where students learned who their community partner for the semester would be and met their fellow Formation Group members and leaders. Cortinians are eager to go to their service sites and learn about the Omaha community.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 11.22.53 AM The following weekend was the Cortina Fall Retreat, held at Carol Joy Holling Camp, for a time of learning, reflection, relationship-building and plenty of fun.

Students learned about Fr. Jon Cortina and were given a glimpse into his life of faith and service. In addition, we were privileged enough to see the premiere of a film made by Nico Sandi, second-year RA in Deglman, called “Faith That Does Justice,” which tells about the Jesuit martyrs tragedy in El Salvador that occurred 25 years ago. The incident shocked the world and spurred Fr. Cortina to fight injustice during a time of civil war in the country and for the rest of his life.

Cortinians also heard informative and inspirational talks from Ken Reed-Bouley, director of the Creighton Center for Service and Justice; Kyle Lierk, director of Campus Ministry at Creighton; and Dr. Faith Kurtyka, assistant professor of English at Creighton University, who all gave greater insight into the Cortina Community and how it will challenge students to think and to grow during their time in the community. We thank them for taking the time to speak to us, and we are looking forward to discussing and reflecting on what they shared with us as we continue to learn about ourselves and our world during the year.

In these first two weeks, we faced our fears, thought about our own beliefs, met new people, and shared laughter with wonderful people.

Here’s to the start of a life-giving year.

Meet our new Resident Director – Kate Macan!

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Greetings Cortinians and Happy Summer!

My name is Kate Macan and as a former Cortinian and a Creighton grad, I feel blessed and honored to be a new member of your community.  While at Creighton, I studied theology and Spanish and minored in Justice and Peace Studies.  I was abroad for a semester in the DR, passed many wonderful hours facilitating ESL courses in the Omaha community and spent my mornings on Carter Lake with the Crew team. 

Following my graduation, I volunteered with Cap Corps Midwest in Managua, Nicaragua from 2009-2011.  I worked with underprivileged youth in an inner-city neighborhood teaching English courses, facilitating retreats and after school activities.  Most recently, I was working on a master’s degree in theological studies at the University of Notre Dame. 

I very much look forward to the conversations we will have this year, as we consider issues of power, privilege, and injustice.  I look forward to being a resource for you in your journey at Creighton and beyond. 

Be well.  I’ll be seeing you soon!

-Kate

Letters to a Future Young Cortinian: “Challenge”

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Dear Future Cortinian,

You are about to embark on a new chapter in your life that will forever change the way you view things and people in the world.  You are going to meet people who have different values than the ones you believe in. As a result you will be challenged. Many people don’t like to be challenged, mainly because most of us don’t like to think that we could be “wrong” or that we could be the “bad guy” in someone else’s eyes. The think to keep in mind though, is that it’s not about being right or wrong. It is about making the effort to get to know the other person, and hearing their story to understand where they are coming from and why they hold the values that they hold. In doing this you will open yourself up, and consequently open upother people to a whole new world of new experiences, new life lessons, and new friendships. Remember to just keep an open mind and to make yourself vulnerable. When people see your vulnerability, they are seeing the truest manifestation of yourself. Most importantly, remember to love, and love deeply. Never let a moment pass you by that allows you to tell someone how you feel about them. You’ll be amazed by the warmth in your heart that you’ll feel throughout the year. Your face will hurt from smiling so much and sometimes your eyes will hurt from crying with and for others. All of this will lead you to understand that you have acquired a new family in your life. Good luck with this coming year! Welcome!

Much love,

Victor Diaz

Letters to a Future Young Cortinian: “Who am I and whom shall I become?”

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My dearest Cortinian,

“Who am I? And whom shall I become?” This is a question that has come to the hearts and minds of every single person I know. We are on a constant quest to know the path in which we belong, but thankfully God doesn’t tell us. He instead guides us, and lets us go on a journey that sometimes seems fruitless but shall become fruitful. So although you may think you joined Cortina because of your friend, your parents, or to boost your resume; in all actuality you were meant to be here. God, or whomever you believe in sent you here. You belong. I unfortunately am not a poet, so that’s the end of my eloquent speaking, of the words in my heart. Now I will speak simply and honestly. Enjoy your journey! There will be hard days and easy days. Through it all remember you are strong. Going to your service site will almost always brighten your day, it is an escape, and a time to give of oneself. Go to Community Time, someone worked hard to put it together, by someone I mean a fellow Cortinian, show them you care and attend. It is a time to share with your fellow Cortinians or just a time to listen. Don’t miss a retreat. It is a time to think; nothing else, but peace and quiet to think about that question of “who am I and whom shall I become?” Remember we all make mistakes, and that’s the beauty of it, we all are flawed. Take care of yourself, college is hard yet wonderful, “you can do it!, si se puede!” You are loved my dear and you deserve love! Seek guidance when needed, listen, be patient, and show the love you receive by loving others.

Sincerely,

AM – a fellow Cortinian

Letters to a Future Young Cortinian: “Embrace”

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To a Future Young Cortinian,

I’m not going to write you a letter assuming your year, your gender, your past. I am not going to tell you what you ought to do. I am merely giving advice I wish someone would have told me and my advice, in general, for anything, anytime, is to embrace it.

Embrace your friends and family. Embrace them so warmly that their loveliness joins yours. Embrace their thoughts and ambitions because it will fire yours. Embrace their hardships and sorrows, their triumphs and celebrations because they deserve it.

Embrace the situations you’re in for; you will learn and grow. Embrace the good. Embrace the bad. You need to know both before you can understand. Embrace the challenge. You do not need to be afraid. Embrace all that is around you. Especially embrace yourself. Embrace your best qualities, they should not go unrecognized. Embrace your faults because that will make them falter. Embrace your wisdom, your shortcomings, your fears, your humor, embrace all of you. Appreciate all of you. No matter who you are, what you’ve done, where you’ve come from, what others have done to you. You are you and there’s no one else like you. Embrace yourself because you deserve it. You deserve it like the opportunities you encounter, the friends you make, the family you love. Trials and tribulations may come, but you will survive, no, thrive because you embrace challenge. You challenge hardships. So like I said, there is nothing to fear. We’re all here to grow, to learn, to love. If you embrace anyone here, they will embrace you back, and invite you for another.

Cortina is a place to test yourself, but you will only get out of the community what you put in, which is why I say embrace it all.

X

Letters to a Future Young Cortinian: “Vocation”

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Dear Future Cortinian,

Welcome to the family! Your year will be full of ups, downs, and all sorts of experiences. A comforting fact is that you are a part of the Cortina family and support system. The key to making your college experience great is to have an open-mind and be flexible. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. I’ve survived my freshman year and you will too! I came into college hoping to become successful, and I had my heart set on majoring in biology to become a doctor. Now I’m still pre-med, but I’m majoring in Theology, something I’m actually passionate about. Through service, I realized that success is not being the smartest or getting a high-paying job. Success is doing something you’re passionate about. Wherever I am led on this path of life, I will be flexible and keep an open-mind. Maybe I am meant to be a doctor, maybe I’m not. I will let myself be vulnerable and listen to my heart. My prayer is that you will do the same. Sometimes all you need is a little patience and a whole lot of faith. Best of luck!

Love,

Kristin

Letters to a Future Young Cortinian: “Growth”

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Dear Future Young Cortinian,

To explain my experience in Cortina, I can use the Cortina symbol of a tree to represent what I have learned this year. I think one of the most important factors for experiencing growth is the need for strong roots, as the symbol reveals the tree’s roots to us. Cortina has given me a wonderfully positive community (or soil) to grow from. I have developed a strongly connected network of friends who appreciate who I am and deeply care for me. They make me feel safe and grounded. The trunk of the tree represents the growth I have been able to produce from this positive community. I feel that I have become more patient, more self-aware, and more vulnerable, just as a tree is vulnerable to its surroundings as it reaches out. The leaves of the tree represent how I have been able to reach out to other people, giving a part of myself to them. From serving others at my service site, to listen to other people’s stories, I have been able to share the nutrients I have gained just from being with others. While each part of the tree represents a stage in my Cortina experience, they are all necessary to creating a better community for myself and others.

Sincerely,

Erika Bowman