Here is just some of what happens at Cedar Commons.
Public Work Projects
Cedar Commons is available to support collaborative projects through which students and community partners work in partnership to respond to community needs and opportunities. We believe that the wisdom and experience of communities most negatively impacted by society’s systems should be at the center of efforts to transform those systems. Therefore, our priority will be to facilitate opportunities for young people to learn and work with leaders from communities that are represented within the student body, but whose experiences, expertise, and perspectives are still underrepresented within the faculty, staff, and curriculum.
West Bank Open Mics
1st and 3rd Thursdays, 7-9pm
Twice a month, a team of students and community members host a youth-centered Open Mic at Cedar Commons. Each week we feature one local artist who performs a set and shares some of their story. In addition, we have one Cedar Spotlight – an up and coming young artist from Cedar whose work we also highlight. Throughout the night we facilitate dialogue around the theme for the night and the rest of the time is open for others in the room to share spoken word, music, and poems. We intentionally try to connect young people in attendance to opportunities to get involved in local justice work. West Bank Open Mics continue to draw 30-60 young people (both college students and other Cedar Riverside residents) each night.
Interfaith @ Cedar Commons
2nd and 4th Thursdays, 6:30-8:30pm
This bi- weekly gathering of community members is centered around building relationships across faith traditions and learning from each other’s experiences, stories, and convictions. As relationships are at the center, the content is flexible and evolves as new people get involved. Our multi-faith organizing team works with Augsburg’s Interfaith Scholars to plan and facilitate each gathering, most of which include a meal. Because our group shares a commitment to using the strength of our community to work against systems that are harming us, last Fall we began to incorporate skill-building opportunities into one of our monthly gatherings, in hopes of equipping our interfaith community to more effectively live out our values of justice.
Last Spring’s topics included Creation Stories, Faith and Human Rights, a celebration of Muslim/Christian/Baha’i Fasts, a mock Passover seder and an event about Climate Justice work. This Fall’s (2017) topics include: Perspectives on Gender, Atheism and Agnosticism, Faith and Disability, and Political Strategy of faith-based organizing. Our core audience is folks who live, work or study in Cedar Riverside but we welcome anyone who is interested in conversations about faith/spirituality and how it intersects with our lives.
The core organizing team includes representatives from Dar Al Hijrah Mosque, Trinity Lutheran Congregation, the Interfaith Youth Leadership Cohort, the local Bahá’í community, the University Episcopal Community, Augsburg University Campus Ministry, and the Augsburg Interfaith Scholars. We welcome new partnerships, so please reach out if you or your community would like to be involved!
Building Power Leadership Initiative
Last spring, a group of youth workers and organizers from Cedar Riverside partnered with the Wilder Foundation to launch a new neighborhood leadership program called Building Power! Last April, 19 young adults, ages 15-25 who live or work in Cedar and are engaged in making it a more thriving community, gathered weekly for two months to build leadership capacity and connection, equipping us to take effective action around neighborhood issues that matter to us. This year we are exploring an open-session model, where all youth and young adults are welcome to join for bi-weekly workshops aimed at developing our collective capacity for making change! See the “Building Power Leadership Initiative” facebook group for details.
West Bank College Bound
WBCB is a collaborative mentoring effort, founded in Fall of 2013 by two Augsburg students and a local youth worker. Currently run by a team of first generation LEAD Fellows from Augsburg, we bring together first generation Augsburg students and high school students from Cedar Riverside to form a supportive community in which mentees: 1) develop their confidence, voice, agency and leadership capacity, 2) learn about college and what it takes to get there, 3) form relationships with trusted young adults who share experiences and encouragement.
High school students are paired with an Augsburg student in a 1:1 mentoring relationship, but most of the time is spent doing activities as a large group. We partner with Augsburg departments (Admissions, College Possible, student groups, Academic Advising etc.) and neighborhood groups, creating opportunities for students to connect with the college and community leaders/resources.
Panels and Speakers
As part of our commitment to connecting young people with local communities, professionals, and movements, we consistently host panel discussions, highlighting “Local Leaders Strengthening Communities.” We welcome local leaders to share their stories and engage around questions of what it takes to be effective agents of change. 2015-2016 topics were “The Criminalization of Dissent”, “Nothing about us, without us, is for us”, “Activist Scholarship” and “Neighborhood Organizing”. We encourage other groups and departments holding similar dialogues to strongly consider using Cedar Commons. (See Calendar for semester details)
At our intersectional location, we strive to build connection between leaders and groups whose interests and vision for strengthening our community are aligned with each other. We believe a neighborhood that’s connected in mutual ways can more quickly and effectively respond to the needs and opportunities that arise. We host the Cedar Riverside Youth Workers Collaborative, Cedar Riverside Fellows, groups of college staff building campus-community connections, student groups who are partnering with community organizations doing related work, etc.
Open Speaker AA Meetings
Saturdays, 7:30-9 pm
Open Speaker Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are open to alcoholics and non-alcoholics alike. Each meeting features three AA members who share their experience, strength, and hope.
In support of leadership development in our neighborhood and campus communities, Cedar Commons consistently hosts various community organizing and leadership trainings. These are opportunities for students and community members to build the skill of equitable, collaborative, public work. (See calendar)
Get in touch to find out more!