Cortina Vision Statement:
The Cortina Community prepares students to connect their passion for social justice with their academics and future goals by challenging them to investigate social inequalities and difficult realities in a new way. We do this through service, examination of faith, purposeful learning, and living in community.
We are comprised of sophomores, living in community on Creighton University’s campus in Heider Hall, freshmen serving and growing with us in the Creighton and Omaha communities, and juniors and seniors dedicated to participating in and leading the formation of our community.
As a community, we care about things like social justice, compassion, service, faith, conversation, advocacy. We question, we discuss, we grow, we learn. We don’t think we have all the answers, but we are trying to work out what truth is, communally. We work against the idea that we could find out what truth is (and how to live it) by forsaking interaction with the world.
We want to be aware of the world, and its many perspectives. So we go into it.
So, what does this look like (practically speaking)?
Community Service (freshmen and sophomores, led by upperclassmen) It is quite possible that we work with some of the coolest people in the city of Omaha. We are so thankful to them for allowing us to come participate in their work, weekly.
Our students go participate in what we like to call “relational service” every week. Students go to the same place each week so that they can build relationships and learn from what they do and who they meet. Because of our great partnerships, we get to learn from people that we meet at community meals, community gardens, bike shops, after school programs, ESL classes, GED classes, homeless shelter drop-in centers, & recovery celebration meetings. Students do about 3 hours of service at their site each week. All students are transported to-and-from service in a Creighton van with a van-certified driver.
Formation Time (all community members): Once per week, the Cortina community convenes together to grow in knowledge about the injustices in our world. Students will be divided into groups based on their interest to research a particular social justice issue with their peers. These groups will be led by a junior or senior leader and the students in the group will be the architects of their learning. The students will develop knowledge around the social justice issue (e.g. food deserts, homelessness, human trafficking, etc.) and they will become advocates about the issue. The group can grow in knowledge however they see fit: through reading and discussing scholarly articles, watching documentaries, engaging with local community leaders, etc. At the end of each semester, each research group will present on their issue to the larger community and host an advocacy effort related to the issue for the wider campus.
Monthly, the entire community will come together for a seminar session. Often the first hour will be filled with a speaker/panel, film/documentary, or activity. Many times that time will need to be processed or discussed in some way–so we break off into smaller groups to do so. Conversation is rich and time together is sweet. But also, we are a pretty diverse community, so sometimes we have a lot of work and processing to do during this time.
Cortina Sophomore Courses: Each Fall semester, all sophomore students take Philosophical Ethics (PHL 271). This is a core requirement for Creighton students but, (lucky us!) we get to take it in separate classes where not only are ethics discussed, but they are integrated with the experiences we are having at our service sites in the Omaha community and the topics covered in weekly Formation Time.
In the Spring, Cortina students take another course of the MAGIS core curriculum together, Social Justice in the Old Testament (THL 217). The course focuses on what the Bible says about social justice and how you can apply these principles to contemporary social justice issues, like the ones you see at your service site, and how we should respond to them.
Cortina Freshmen Courses: In the Fall, Cortina freshmen will enroll in one of two sections of Contemporary Composition (ENG 155). It is a service learning course, fits into the core and will help students develop writing skills, as well as new perspective on the power of words. This course is a great way to get acclimated to college life with your Cortina peers!
In the Spring semester, Cortina freshmen take Waging Peace in the Twentieth Century (HIS 171). This course helps you to radically reimagine the way history is understood and commonly taught. Rather than look at the twentieth century through the lens of war, students examine this century through the peacemaking movements of the time. This unorthodox historical perspective allows exploration into whether an alternative narrative of the past presents under-examined possibilities for promoting peace and justice in the present.
Retreats (freshmen, sophomores, and upperclassmen) Rest and celebration are important parts of life. So we go on retreats to rest, to celebrate, to envision the development of our community. Each semester there is a planned retreat for all community members. The Fall retreat is overnight and the Spring retreat is day-long.
Through this program, we hope that:
- Students will develop mutually beneficial and compassionate relationships with people who suffer injustices.
- Students will demonstrate awareness of local, national, and global social realities.
- Students will engage with and think critically about questions concerning the meaning of justice and causes of injustice.
- Students will reflect and act in the context of a faith that does justice.
- Students will grow in their understanding of what it means to live in community.
Besides the wonderful Corteama, the Cortina Community has a Coordinator, Lucy Hancock (email@example.com), an Assistant Director, Katherine Cole (KatherineCole@creighton.edu), and a Hall Chaplain, Br. Pat Douglas (firstname.lastname@example.org). Feel free to email them for any information or questions you may have.