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”

Augsburg Women Engage Philanthropy

AWE logoAugsburg Women in Philanthropy (AWE) is excited to formally create the AWE-Inspired Philanthropy Council. The Council functions in an advisory and support capacity to the Office of Advancement. Our goal is to strengthen the culture of philanthropy among Augsburg women of all ages. We will focus on ways to educate, engage and celebrate Augsburg’s alumnae donors.

Just two years ago, a small group of AWEsome women put up a bold goal—to raise $100,000 and sponsor a student study lounge in the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. We went on to surpass our goal and to date have raised $126,000. There is still time to be a part of this landmark campaign that will close on December 31, 2015.

This shows what a committed group of women can do. It is no surprise that the secret to making positive and lasting change in the world is hidden in plain sight. In fact, it is more than half of the population. Women vote more, volunteer more, and give more to charities than men. They control more than half of the total wealth in America!

Brick5Buy a Brick, Build a Legacy
This campaign has generated so much enthusiasm and renewed so many wonderful memories and stories of Augsburg legacy. Before the campaign closes on December 31, there is still time to honor a special person, a faculty member, Auggie family members, and classmates. The personalized brick wall will have a prominent space in the new building.

Some inspiring examples include:

Brick4“Thank You, Dr. Norma Noonan” • “Our friendship is a Phoenix: Britt, Wendy, Jen, Tash, Steph, Jodi” • Delta House ’72-’74: Lien, Lus, Tesmer, Turrittin • Mrs. Pete, Teacher, Mentor, Friend” • “Psalm 25:  O Lord … teach me your paths” • “Thank You Augsburg College!”; AWE-Inspired!

There is still time to participate! Visit augsburg.edu/csbr or contact Donna McLean at mclean@augsburg.edu to plan your tribute.

We are women.  We are Auggies.  Leading the way – creating confident, joyful donors!

The AWE-Inspired Philanthropy Council: Lisa Zeller ’82, ’89 MAL • Shelby Gimse Andress ’56 • Kris Pearson ’78 • Elizabeth Tweeton Odegaard ’04 • Rachel Olson Engebretson ’98

Auggies Give and Share Thanks

staff thank you note writingCelebrate Philanthropy Week March 30-April 2

Did you know that 95% of Augsburg students receive financial aid? Or that student support services like tutoring, the Writing Lab, and the CLASS office are available to all students at no extra cost? Financial aid, student support programs, faculty-student research and more are all made possible thanks to generous donors to Augsburg. Each year, more than 2,400 alumni, parents, and friends give more than $1 million to The Augsburg Fund. Philanthropy Week is an opportunity to teach current students about how their education is supported by donors, and thank current donors for their generosity. Come to the Christensen Center to write a thank you note. Staff will be tabling at the following times: Monday, March 30, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Tuesday, March 31, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.; Wednesday, April 1, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Want to get involved?

  • Share what you love about Augsburg and why you support the College on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #auggiesgive.
  • Join us for a special Philanthropy Week lunch on Thursday, April 2, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in East Commons to help thank donors for their support and encourage them to make a gift this year (RSVP to Ben Krouse-Gagne ’11 at 612-330-1179 or krousega@augsburg.edu)
  • Become a donor to Augsburg! Make your gift online at augsburg.edu/giving.