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Our Mission and Values

Our Mission

As an integral part of a Jesuit Catholic university education, the John P. Schlegel, SJ, Center for Service and Justice awakens hearts and lives of solidarity to build a more just world.

The SCSJ seeks:

A. To involve students in direct service with persons who suffer and experience injustice in order to awaken the desire and develop the capacity to act with and on behalf of the poor and marginalized;

B. To promote and facilitate education and understanding of causes of domestic and international poverty and injustice and the moral obligations and principles for social and political action found in Catholic Social Teaching;

C. To promote student participation in advocating public policy and organizing on behalf of justice together with persons and groups locally and around the world active in bringing “the justice of the Gospel to society and culture” (Jesuit Social Apostolate mission statement, Rome 1998);

D. To form leaders for service and justice;

E. To promote and encourage the building of communities of faith, service, solidarity and justice while at Creighton and beyond.

Values and Assessment

University Learning Outcome: The Creighton graduate will demonstrate deliberative reflection for personal and professional formation.

Schlegel Center for Service and Justice (SCSJ) Goal: As part of the SCSJ Service & Justice Trips program, student participant and coordinators will demonstrate meaningful participation in reflection during their three preparation General Meetings, on four to eight nights during their trip, and at the reunion.

Objective: After their SCSJ Service & Justice Trip, each student participant or coordinator will identify one reflection method he/she participated in on his/her trip on his/her written evaluation.

University Learning Outcome: Ignatian values to include but not limited to a commitment to an exploration of faith and the promotion of justice.

SCSJ Goal: After completing a SCSJ Service and Justice Trip, students will embrace and show evidence of the call to ‘be a whole person of solidarity for the real world.’

Objectives:

  • After completing a SCSJ Service & Justice Trip, each group will identify one advocacy step they can take to remedy a social injustice they learned about on their trip.
  • After completing a SCSJ Service & Justice Trip, participants and coordinators will show solidarity and an on-going commitment to their community by indicating a desire to do more service during their undergraduate college experience. If students are on campus more than one semester after their trips, they will show an increase or deepening in their involvement in community service.
  • After completing a SCSJ Service & Justice Trip, participants and coordinators will continue to discern their life’s vocation (e.g. career choice or academic studies) in light of the needs of the world.
  • After completing a SCSJ Service & Justice Trip, participants and coordinators will show solidarity and an on-going commitment to their community by thinking and acting on behalf of social justice concerns.

University Learning Outcome: Students will work across race, ethnicity, culture, gender, religion and sexual orientation.

SCSJ Goal: As part of the SCSJ Service & Justice Trips, student participants and coordinators will listen to stories from and work alongside persons who suffer injustice and marginalization (especially with those priority groups identified by the US Jesuits: forced migrants (refugees, migrant workers, undocumented immigrants), inner city populations (racial minorities, elderly, homeless, persistently poor), indigenous peoples, and the globally destitute (more than 800 million people who go to bed hungry each night).

Objective: After a SCSJ Service & Justice Trip, student participants and coordinators will identify one relationship with someone who they consider different from them (culturally or socio-economically).

The praxis spiral is a representation of “reflection in action.” It is one way of living the “examined life” that Socrates spoke of when he said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” The people around the spiral are a representation of both our togetherness as a national and global community and the fact that we are social creatures who need each other’s care and love to sustain us. In the tradition of Catholic social thought, we are always “individuals in community.” The spiral represents the cycle of having an experience and reflecting on that experience, deepening with each rotation. Experience, reflection, and action are part of the same process, one informing the other.

See how our students are "becoming" while engaging with our work

In 2016, Creighton graduates Mike Rios and Nico Sandi helped create a video of our students reflecting on the October 6, 2000 speech from Fr. Peter Hans-Kolvenbach, S.J., on “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education”. In this speech, he says, “The real measure of our Jesuit universities lies in who our students become.”

What?

  • The “what” is the experience: What did I experience today, both from the outside and from the inside? What did I see? Hear? Smell? Taste? Touch? Feel? Because we recognize that our lives are a group experience, we begin by bonding with the community of people in our lives. This is an ongoing process, but we need to establish a safe environment around ourselves where people feel open but never forced to share or unjustly excluded. Next, we stay with the experience by using techniques such as the examen and journaling to grasp the “what” and understand our experience on the outside and inside.

So What?

  • The “so what” is the reflection, and the process of seeking answers to deeper questions about this experience: So what that I felt this way about this experience? What does it all mean? How can I integrate the experience into the rest of my life? How will the experience change me? This stage involves social analysis. Social analysis is about looking at structures and systems to ask why things are the way they are. Social analysis asks questions of social justice: Who has the power? Who makes decisions? Who will benefit? Who will be harmed?

Now What?

  • The “now what” leads us back to action. This means we ask questions about our future actions: What do I do concretely as a result of having this experience and reflecting on it? How can I think differently? Are there others that can help me in my efforts? How has my vision of what the world changed through looking more deeply? How do I think or act differently to make this world a better and more just place? These questions point to the heart of the matter and theological reflection. We discern key experiences (the heart of the matter) and place these experiences in dialogue with where we make meaning, especially religious traditions. This process of making meaning allows us to commit to some kind of action, however small or large.
  • This action leads to another experience, which leads to more social analysis, and the spiral continues to deepen. This process describes what is already going on and also offers us some suggestions about how to do reflection well. The order is generally correct, but the various stages of the spiral are not necessarily sequential, and any stage may be introduced or returned to at any point.
  • Taken as a whole, this process demonstrates: Bonding with People–> Sharing Life Experiences–> Social Analysis–> The Heart of the Matter–> Theological Reflection–> Action and Vision–> The circle begins again.