The Joy of Circling Back

Awale Osman wears a blue shirt and smiles in front of a hedgeFor a young man born in a Kenyan refugee camp and immigrating to the U.S. at age 12 through the persistent efforts of his hard-working mother, to now be chosen as one of 31 young Fellows from 25 countries to participate in the 2017 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Learners’ Voice Program may seem unlikely. And for Awale (“Wally”) Osman ’15, it is “surreal.” But this opportunity is one of many that have energized him.

And, for him, this year’s conference topic is very close to home—Global Forced Migration and Refugee Crisis.

Osman has just returned from the first residential session, held in Athens, Greece, where the Fellows had a chance to study how Greece was handling its own refugee crisis and the challenges that affect a refugee community. The group heard from established experts on the topic, studied where crises were occurring, and proposed possible solutions. They heard from those working “on the ground” and did volunteer work with individuals having to go through the process of seeking asylum. The session in Athens (“an extraordinary experience,” says Osman) and a second residential session, to be convened during the summer in Madrid, Spain, will culminate in the WISE conference in Doha in November.

As Osman looks back on the many opportunities he has been granted, he is consistently motivated to give back. He mentions his ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers in the U.S., who played a pivotal role in conquering his first major barrier (and that of most refugees)—language. Those teachers also put him in touch with Boys & Girls Club, where he became involved; Upward Bound, which prepared him for college; and TRiO/Student Support Services, which helped him persist in earning his bachelor’s degree. These are part of the Federal TRiO programs funded through the U.S. Department of Education and focusing on providing comprehensive academic support, integrated learning courses, learning communities, academic English enhancement, and leadership development for low- to moderate-income, first-generation college students and students with disabilities.

Awale Osman with TRiO studentsOsman sees these TRiO programs as the “main pillars” that helped him grow personally and professionally. They enabled him to set goals and find connections to resources. They evaluated his progress, held him accountable, and served as a source of emotional support. And they kept him connected, even as he worked to support his family (most of whom now live in the States). Continue reading “The Joy of Circling Back”

Campus Kitchen Reaps New Grants

Augsburg College Campus Kitchen was founded in 2002, and is now the most comprehensive Campus Kitchen organization in the United States, and is one of only two colleges in Minnesota offering the program.  Augsburg Campus Kitchen provides 18,000 meals annually to the surrounding neighborhoods, mostly derived from overages in Augsburg’s student food service—food that would otherwise go to waste.Campus Kitchen collage

Campus Kitchen provides free meals and healthy food through three different activities: meals created from the overages of the on-campus dining facility and served at neighborhood non-profits, produce gathered as donations from local farmers at area farmers markets and brought to local food shelves, and an on-campus food shelf that students in need can access from a student-run food shelf.

Foundation support:  

The success and growth of Campus Kitchen is strongly supported by local corporations, who value the opportunity for their employees to engage more deeply with their communities, and live their values as corporations. Ameriprise Financial awarded Augsburg College Campus Kitchen a $5,000 grant in September 2014. Ameriprise understands that small nonprofits require consistent streams of general operating support, and has supported Augsburg College Campus Kitchen since 2009.

Land O’Lakes also awarded Campus Kitchen a $10,000 grant in October 2014. Land O’Lakes supports programs that alleviate food insecurity, and this is the first grant award from Land O’Lakes for Campus Kitchen. Thank you!

Interested in learning how to get involved?  Check out the Augsburg College Campus Kitchen’s website and Facebook page.  Don’t forget to support Campus Kitchen on Give to the Max Day!  Give or schedule your gift here.
Continue reading “Campus Kitchen Reaps New Grants”