Still Accepting Applications – Class of 2019 Apply Now!

If you’re looking to live your CU experience differently, then Cortina is the program for you.  Come and join us in Deglman Hall and explore service, faith and justice in our intentional living community.  Please complete the application no later than June 20.  Direct your questions to

Public Policy, Elections, and Making Legislative Change

For this Sunday’s Formation Time, we welcomed Creighton and Cortina alum Patrick Carter to speak to the community about public policy and how it can create justice for all. Patrick graduated from Creighton in 2010 with a degree in Justice and Society. Upon graduation, he completed a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota. Patrick currently works with Minnesota Department of Human Services as a legislative liaison. Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 9.27.00 PMPatrick provided great insight into the legislative branch and emphasized that you have to understand the system before you can make change. He shared ways how everyone can make an impact on public policy, from bringing ideas to legislators to meeting with your congressperson about a certain issue to contacting an executive leader with your concerns about a new law.

Patrick’s talk was fitting because of Election Day on Tuesday. As Patrick said, every election has a lot at stake, making it especially important that we exercise our right to vote. Here are a few resources to help educate you about important local, state, and federal elections this year as well as important voting information:

Douglas County Election Commission — find your polling place in Omaha, sample ballots, and more.

Voting Requirement/Process by State

Nebraska voter guide — the Omaha World-Herald‘s guide to elections in Nebraska. Nearly every major newspaper has a site like this, so non-Nebraskans can find a similar guide at other major newspapers.

Ballot Hero — sign up with an account, input your voting location, and learn about the candidates looking for your votes on Tuesday. (for Nebraska voters only)

League of Women Voters — create a personalized ballot to take with you to the polls on Election Day!

NBC News Decision 2014 — a nifty guide to this year’s Election Day that will be great for tracking key races across the country. Keep a close eye on Republicans to see if they takes control of the Senate.

Thank you to Patrick Carter for sharing your knowledge with Cortina. And remember to vote this Tuesday!

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?

JPS Seminar Series: “Nervous Conditions”

Thank you all for your participation in discussion over the Nervous Conditions presentation during Community Time last week. Our group wanted to provide a little bit of information and a couple resources in order to keep the discussion going. During this semester, because of the Nervous Conditions novel as well as a supplemental book called Privilege, Power, and Difference by Allan Johnson, we discussed multiple topics but mostly focused on racism, sexism, gender inequality, and educational advantage. In Nervous Conditions especially, we found that gender inequality was a profound theme because the main character constantly felt the struggle of trying to get one leg up in the world, despite being a woman in a male dominant society. We also talked about the fact that many of us don’t even realize that we are privileged, and the effects that that has on us and the rest of the world.

A bit about the Rhodesian culture and government at the time:

“The colonial education system in the then Rhodesia did not have a specific policy for the education of women and girls.  Policies were race specific and gender neutral.  There were two systems of education namely the European Division and the African Division.  The European Division of education was non-fee paying, compulsory and of higher quality.  It was meant for white, coloured and Asian children while the African Division of education, which was neither free nor compulsory and had inadequate provisions was meant for black children” (Chabaya, Dudhlanga 2013).

In case any of you are further interested in learning more about either book that we read, here are some links regarding both the authors, the books, and other writings that they have produced:

Privelege, Power, and Difference


Nervous Conditions


Here is a link to the TED Talk that we showed during our presentation:



A Reflection on the Importance of Nature: Dom Dongilli

Unsurprising to most, elementary and middle school aged Dominic had interests and activities that fell on the unique end of the spectrum. I opted for writing seminars at the local art museum and city libraries in lieu of traditional summer camp. I was more concerned with gardening, studio art lessons and playing piano than video games. I read in my tree fort, caught lightening bugs with my sister and volunteered at my neighborhood library instead of attending school social events. I was a solitary child who preferred my own company and made little effort to form connections and friendships with my peers. In the sixth grade, I decided to fill some of the free time participating in my local zoo’s youth volunteer program.

I ended up spending every Monday of my summer vacation and many weekends for the next 5 years at the zoo working with a wonderful collection of animals and an even greater group of people. More importantly, I finally started coming out of my shell and connecting with my peers. The zoo and the nature it hosted gave me part ownership and responsibility for the natural world around me. In addition to showering me with benefits, I finally had a message to share with others, a message of conservation and love of nature. I formed and developed relationships with my fellow youth volunteers, little kid campers, and nursing home resident over Nancy the sloth’s once-a-week bathroom schedule and Jackson Brown the skink’s blue tongue. Outside of the zoo, time in nature provided me instant relief and a sense of calm when my worrisome personality blossomed into an anxiety disorder and I struggled to complete mundane tasks. Nature and the environment has played a crucial role in my life and I’ve made it a point to do all I can to share it with others. I’ve been inspired to share the same opportunities that I have had in nature and help others reap its benefits.

I’ve been blessed to continue my work at my local zoo, which allows me to share this love of nature and see its impact on others. I’ve seen nature work its magic as I’ve conducted “sensory safaris” for children with disabilities and countless summer camps with preschoolers, high schoolers and all ages in between. I’ve also witnessed nature’s ability to serve as a bridge between cultures and languages when I spoke to a group of immigrant women from Africa participating in a program that helps immigrant women run childcare centers in their local communities. This program ensures that immigrant communities have safe and licensed childcare centers that operate with the trust of the community and full knowledge of cultural and community practices. Even though most of these women did not speak English, we spent an afternoon enjoying the benefits of nature and discussing (via translator) how nature and backyard experiences can create wondrous opportunities for themselves and the children for which they care.

Unfortunately, opportunities to experience nature and reap its benefits are disappearing or being disregarded. Children and families are spending less and less time outdoors and are not taking advantage of opportunities for natural interaction and exploration. Richard Louv, in his international best-seller Last Child in the Woods addresses these problems. He synthesizes research from a multitude of disciplines to explain our current cultural disconnect with nature and why we are suffering as a result. (Some staggering excerpts from his book are listed below)

The great thing about natural play and our relationship with the environment is that it permeates all areas of our lives and has the potential to make a profound impact no matter one’s struggles. Nursing homes have raised garden beds and adaptive gardening equipment so that their residents have opportunities to interact with nature. Rehabilitation hospitals provide patients with all types of permanent disabilities equipment so that they can continue to participate in the natural activities that they enjoy. Shelters can provide green spaces and natural play areas on their campuses so that their adult and child residents have another tool to cope with the stress and burden of poverty and homelessness. There are limitless opportunities in which one can experience nature. I encourage you all to think about the impact that nature can make in your lives, the lives of those you serve and how you can use it as a tool for positive change in your field of study and line of work.

Excerpts from Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv:

– “Another emerging body of scientific evidence indicates that direct exposure to nature is essential for physical and emotional health. For example, new studies suggest that exposure to nature may reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and that it can improve all children’s cognitive abilities and resistance to negative stresses and depression.”

– A study was conducted with at-risk sixth grade students who attended outdoor education programs over a several month period. “Students who experienced the outdoor education program versus those in a control group… displayed a 27 percent increase in measured mastery of science concepts; enhanced cooperation and conflict resolution skills; gains in self-esteem, problem-solving, motivation to learn, and classroom behavior.”

– “Children who experience school grounds with diverse natural settings are more physically active, more aware of nutrition, more civil to one another, and more creative.”

– “A study shows that children and parents who live in places that allow for outdoor access have twice as many friends as those who have restricted outdoor access due to traffic.”

– “Nancy Wells, assistant professor in the New York State College of Human Ecology at Cornell and her colleague Gary Evans found that children with more nature near their homes received lower ratings than peers with less nature than their homes on measures of behavioral conduct disorders, anxiety and depression.”

List of Resources

Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv
A captivating read that synthesizes research from many different fields to explain and solidify the importance of nature on the health of children, adults and communities.

Children & Nature Network,
Website of the network Richard Louv founded. Contains reading lists as well as recent research articles regarding children and nature.

The Sierra Club,
In addition to promoting environmental stewardship, the Sierra Club hosts outdoor outings coordinated by local chapters. They also run a campaign called “Building Bridges to the Outdoors” where they strive to give every child in America an outdoor experience.

Nature Explore,
A collaboration between Nebraska’s own Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, this website contains resources, research and supplies for connecting children with nature.

Immigration Resources

Below is an ever-expanding list of resources to further our understanding of immigration and issues surrounding immigration. Please comment below if you have additional resources to add to the list!

Enrique’s Journey
The Devil’s Highway
Dead in Their Tracks
Down by the River
Hard Line: Life and Death on the U.S.-Mexican Border
Crossing Over
Twilight on the Line
Across the Wire: Life and Hard Times on the Mexican Border
Forging the Tortilla Curtain
By the Lake of Sleeping Children: The Secret Life of the Mexican Border
Nobody’s Son
Wandering Time
Children of Immigration
National Research Council: The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration
RAND Corporation: Immigration in a Changing Economy: The California Experience

Strangers No Longer, Together on the Journey of Hope -U.S. Catholic Bishops
Welcoming the Stranger Among us: Unity in Diversity -U.S. Catholic Bishops
N.Y. Times Photos of the U.S.-Mexico Border
Centerfor American Progress: Facts on Immigration Today
Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration and the Movement of Peoples
Immigration Policy Center: Giving Facts a Fighting Chance
KinoBorder Initiative: Documented Failures: The Consequences of Immigration Policy on the U.S.-Mexico Border
I’m Here but I’m There: The Meanings of Latina Transnational Motherhood
Potentially Traumatic Events Among Unaccompanied Migrant Children from Central America
WorldBank: The Effect of IMF and World Bank Programs on Poverty
Pew Hispanic Center: Unauthorized Migrants: Numbers and Characteristics
The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market
North America Free Trade Agreements

Dying to Live
Miracles in Mexico

Kino Border Initiative
Youth Empowerment Services
Annunciation House
Casa de Proyecto Libertad, Harlingen, Texas
Casa YMCA in Piedras Negras, Mexico
Grupo Beta
No More Deaths
Comité de Derechos Humanos
Corrections Corporations of America
US Border Patrol
United Nations Development Programs (across Latin America)
Humane Borders
Drug Enforcement Agency

Information/Research Centers:
US Department of Homeland Security: Office of Immigration Statistics
Pew Hispanic Center
Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego
US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
Mexico Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Central American Resource Center, CA
National Migration Institute of Mexico
Centro de Derechos Humanos Tepeyac del Istmo de Tehuantepec
Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica
US Department of Health and Human Services
Notre Dame Center for Latino Studies

Community Development Resources

Here is a link to inCommon Community Development’s website:

This is a great explanation of community development (and look at how others do community development):
Scottish Community Development Centre:
Community Development Exchange:

Check out other organizations in Omaha doing community development:
– NeighborWorks Omaha:
– Midlands Latino Community Development Corporation:
– The Empowerment Network:

Community Development through art. So cool:

Interested in community development as a career? Check out these degrees:
– Loyola Chicago’s MA in Social Justice and Community Development:
– Clark University’s MBA/MA in Community Development and Planning:
– UC Davis’ MS in Community Development:


Human Trafficking Resources

This week, do not forget to reflect on how, in our own quests to feel more human, more alive, we dehumanize and objectify others. Before hard work and healing can begin, we must recognize our own complicity in the problem.

Below are resources to help build our awareness of an appallingly large, global issue. See what others are already doing, and what remains to be done. Practice breathing reality and hope in the same breath.


International Justice Mission
Tiny Hands International
Polaris Project
Slavery Footprint
Not For Sale
Slavery Map
Próyecto Esperanza
Walk Free
United Nations – Agency Project on Human Trafficking
CNN Freedom Project
Free the Slaves: An American anti-slavery organization
Buddies Along the Roadside
MTV’s EXIT Campaign (End Exploitation and Trafficking
Shared Hope International
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women
Night Light Designs
Hagar International
The Global Fund for Women
Campaign against Bonded Labor
World Vision
Department of Justice – Fight Trafficking in PersonsRadiant Cosmetics


Half the Sky


Soujourner’s March 2007 article: CRY FREEDOM

Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves by Kevin Bales (2007). University of California Press.

The Slave Ship: A Human History by Marcus Rediker (2007). Viking Press.

Trafficking in Persons Report 2007

Data and Research on Human Trafficking: A Global Survey edited by Frank Laczko and Elzbieta Gozdziak (2005). International Organization for Migration, Geneva, Switzerland.

The War on Human Trafficking: U.S. Policy Assessed by Anthony M. DeStefano (2007). Rutgers University Press.

A report on best practices in ending child trafficking

Sex Trafficking: The Global Market in Women and Children by Kathryn Farr (2005). Worth Publishers.

Woman, Child for Sale: The New Slave Trade in the 21st Century by Gilbert King (2004). Chamberlain Bros.

Disposable People by Kevin Bales (1999). University of California Press. International Child Sex Tourism: Scope of the Problem and Comparative Case Studiesby the Protection Project (2007). John Hopkins University.

Gender, Trafficking and Slavery by Rachel Masika (ed.) (2002). Oxfam.

United Nations’ Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery

Understanding Global Slavery: A Reader (2005). University of California Press.

The Ongoing Tragedy of International Slavery and Human Trafficking: An Overview (2004). Hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness of the Committee on Governmental Reform. Government Printing Office.

Children of the Sun: An Ethnographic Study of the Street Children of Latin America by Jerry Hollingsworth (2008). Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery by E. Benjamin Skinner (2008). Free Press.

Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the Global Economyby John Bowe (2007). Random House.

Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery edited by Jesse Sage and Liora Kasten (2008). Palgrave Macmillan.

To Plead Our Own Case: Personal Stories by Today’s Slaves (2008). By Kevin Bales & Zoe Trodd. Cornell University Press.

Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves (2007). By Kevin Bales. University of California Press.

Multimedia Resources

Born into Brothels Documentary
Not for Sale Documentary
Dreams Die Hard [a documentary available through Free the Slaves]
Amazing Grace (
MTV EXIT Documentaries)
Half the Sky
Sisters and Daughters Betrayed: The Trafficking of Women and Girls and the Fight to End It [documentary by the Global Fund for Women]
Silent Revolution: Sankalp and the Quarry Slaves [documentary by Free the Slaves]
Hell on Earth: Slavery Today [documentary by Anti-Slavery International]
Trade[major motion picture]
Human Trafficking [a Lifetime Channel miniseries]
Slavery: A Global Investigation [documentary from Free the Slaves]
Child trafficking
Child trafficking USA
“Using your gifts to end slavery”
Tiny Hands Video
The day my God died