Sept. 25, 2019

Sept. 25, 2019

Presidential message

I would like to update you on upcoming programming that speaks to the heart of our Jesuit, Catholic mission, related to Campus Sustainability Month and the Feast of St. Francis in October and World Day of Migrants and Refugees at the end of this month.

The Catholic Church throughout the world will celebrate World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Sept. 29. In support of this effort, Creighton’s Division of Mission and Ministry and the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice (SCSJ) will host an informational and advocacy event on campus on Monday, Sept. 30.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 30, students and staff from the SCSJ will be available in the Skutt Student Center, near the fireplace, to answer questions and provide information on the Catholic and Jesuit position on the issue of forced migration. For those interested in calling their Congress members to advocate for more humane treatment of individuals seeking asylum, contact information for congressional offices and a sample script will be provided.

In a recent statement, the Jesuit Provincials of Canada and the United States wrote that the Universal Apostolic Preferences established by the Society of Jesus “call on us to walk with the marginalized, which includes reforming the social and political systems that lead to injustice. Advocacy for just policies is an integral component of living out a faith that does justice.” The statement reflects the four themes that Pope Francis outlined in last year’s message for the Day of Migrants and Refugees: welcome, protect, promote, and integrate.

The Very Rev. Brian Paulson, SJ, the provincial for the USA Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus, in advance of World Day of Migrants and Refugees, writes: “In these vulnerable migrant families today, we can see the plight of the Holy Family in the least of our brothers and sisters, created in the image and likeness of God.”

In addition to the event mentioned above, a “teddy bear display” is planned that day for the mall outside the Skutt Student Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The purpose of the display is to raise awareness about children being held in U.S. detention facilities along the southern border, and children who have died while in detention.

I encourage you to take the time to learn more about this pressing national issue, and reflect upon how you can make a difference. I appreciate the work of Mission and Ministry and the SCSJ in hosting these important activities.

Then in October, the Office of Sustainability Programs will sponsor a variety of events in recognition of Campus Sustainability Month, including the Feast of St. Francis Lunch and Awards Presentation on Friday, Oct. 4. The celebration includes a special noon Mass at St. John’s Church, which will include the St. Francis/Laudato Si’ pledge, followed by lunch and an awards ceremony, from 12:45-2 p.m., in the Skutt Student Center, Mutual of Omaha Ballroom. During lunch, students from the SCSJ, Creighton Students Union (CSU), Inter Residence Hall Government (IRHG), and Energy Technology will provide short updates on initiatives they are undertaking in regard to sustainability, and the Spirit of St. Francis Sustainability Award will be presented. View more information and register for the lunch and awards ceremony.

We continue to make great strides in our sustainability efforts, with a variety of initiatives across campus. We have successfully integrated classroom scheduling and energy management software in a few of our buildings to save on cooling when classes are not in session and we are implementing this capability across campus now; we continue to convert to LED lighting, both indoor and outdoor; and we have developed energy dashboards and energy analytic tools used by Facilities Management to track and manage our energy usage. Of note, I would like to commend our students for their participation in the inaugural Residence Hall Energy Competition, sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, Student Life and Facilities Management in partnership with Omaha Public Power District and Optimized Systems. We have seen promising results in the first full week of the competition, which began Sept. 16, and I am encouraged by the campus community’s impact

I also am pleased to announce that we have elevated the role of sustainability coordinator to director of sustainability, and a search will commence to fill this important position. A search committee composed of faculty, staff, and students will be named through a nomination and application process. Stay tuned for more information.

In addition, we have formed a new Sustainability Governance Committee, which will have administrative authority over key action areas relating to sustainability and be able to update the Creighton Climate Action Plan. The committee is composed of the following University leaders.


  • René Padilla, PhD, vice provost for Global Engagement
  • Director of Sustainability (TBA)

Committee members:

  • John Jesse III, associate vice president for finance
  • Jan Madsen, executive vice president
  • Pam Mortenson, interim chief communications and marketing officer
  • Derek Scott, associate vice president for Facilities Management
  • Tanya Winegard, PhD, vice provost for Student Life
  • Daniel DiLeo, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Cultural and Social Studies and director of the Justice and Peace Studies Program
  • Becky Crowell, administrative support, Office of Sustainability Programs

I am excited about these developments, which promise to advance our sustainability efforts in significant and meaningful ways.

I hope your schedule allows you to take part in the World Day of Migrants and Refugees event on Sept. 30, the Feast of St. Francis celebration on Oct. 4, and other Campus Sustainability Month activities during October. Watch Creighton Today for dates and times of upcoming events.

Let us recommit ourselves to living out the mission of the University, and our own personal calling, to care for all of God’s creation and create a more just world.


Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD