This summer, Sod House — a theater company founded by Augsburg College Chair of Theater Arts Darcey Engen ’88 and her husband, Luverne Seifert ’83 — brought a production of “Hoopla Train (with Yard Master Yip and his Polkastra)” to 14 historic ballrooms in different Minnesota cities including Barrett, McGregor, Nisswa, and Sleepy Eye.
Engen and Seifert shared the stage with a troupe of performers to put on the production billed as “Lawrence Welk meets ‘Hee-Haw.’” The Sod House Theater project began in 2011 when Engen and Seifert collaborated to create the condensed version of Anton Chekhov’s play “The Cherry Orchard” with Twin Cities colleagues including Sarah Myers, associate professor of theater at Augsburg.
This year the “Hoopla Train” has garnered the attention of media outlets across Minnesota, including the following organizations and stories:
MinnPost recently published a commentary by Augsburg College alumnus Juventino Meza ’11 on trends regarding Latinos and education in Minnesota.
Meza is a founding member of NAVIGATE MN, a leadership development program for immigrant young adults, and received the Ohtli Award in 2013, which is the Mexican government’s highest recognition for a civilian Mexican living outside Mexico.
In the commentary, Meza outlined how an increasing proportion of Latinos in Minnesota’s demographic makeup calls for changes in educational instruction and administration.
Read the story, “Latino education gap: some ideas for closing it — and thereby improving Minnesota’s future,” on the MinnPost website.
Auggies Muna Mohamed ’16 and Jennifer Weber ’11 each play an important role in supporting Minneapolis girls’ efforts to stay fit and active. The two women coach basketball teams that play as part of the Girls Initiative in Recreation and Leisurely Sports program at the Brian Coyle Community Center in Augsburg College’s Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.
The Star Tribune recently featured the work of Mohamed and Weber in a story on how the GIRLS program worked with community members and University of Minnesota employees to design and sew culturally sensitive activewear for Muslim girls to use during their practices and games.
Read “New uniforms score points for modesty for Muslim girls” on the Star Tribune website.
Augsburg College staff members Margaret Anderson, program coordinator for the Center for Global Education and Experience, and Michael Grewe ’12 MSW, director of LGBTQIA support services, spoke with MinnPost media issues reporter Brian Lambert to discuss what Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover means for transgender people in Minnesota.
Grewe noted that media frenzy resulting from Jenner’s gender transition could provide “a way to talk about important issues like access to affordable health care, housing and equal employment” for all people.
Read the article, What does Caitlyn Jenner’s ‘Vanity Fair’ cover mean for the transgender kid in rural Minnesota? on the MinnPost website.
Augsburg College alumnus Tommy Redae ’09 MBA was featured in a recent Star Tribune story on Wells Fargo’s successful practices in the area of diversity in hiring. Redae described how mentors and networking meetings with business leaders have influenced his career positively.
Visit the Star Tribune website to read, “Wells Fargo clicks when it comes to diversity in hiring.”
In a recent special report examining the prospects and challenges for non-metro counties in Minnesota, Augsburg College alumnus Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin ’03 discussed economic shifts and new opportunities for agriculture in southeastern Minnesota.
In the report, which was commissioned by The McKnight Foundation and republished by MinnPost, Haslett-Marroquin explained the ways in which Latino immigrant families are reinventing the notion of the family farm in Rice and Dakota counties.
Haslett-Marroquin co-founded the successful Peace Coffee company and today leads the Main Street Project, an initiative seeking to develop “a prototype for agriculture that will chart a course toward prosperity for Latino immigrant families, boost local economies and provide healthier, tastier food that people of all incomes can afford,” according to the article Reinvigorating the agricultural economy in Southeast Minnesota.
In the WCCO-TV story “Augsburg College Celebrates Its Most Diverse Graduating Class In History,” Commencement participant Promise Okeke ’15 described his drive for an undergraduate degree and experiences at Augsburg.
The story also showed images of Augsburg’s traditional undergraduate Commencement event on May 2, noting that approximately 30 percent of the undergraduate Class of 2015 is comprised of students of color.
The Cedar Cultural Center and several other Minneapolis organizations hosted popular London-based Somali singer Aar Maanta in early April as part of the Midnimo series, a two-year partnership with Augsburg College to build cross-cultural awareness, knowledge, and understanding of Somali culture through music.
The Minneasota Public Radio story “Aar Maanta is the voice of a new Somali generation” discussed the ways in which Aar Maanta’s music resonates with Minnesotans and rejuvenates the Somali music scene.
Five days a week, Minneapolis community members convene at Bethany Lutheran Church to dine on gourmet fare prepared as part of the Soup for You Cafe — a program recognized by the Star Tribune for its ability to “redefine the soup kitchen.”
Augsburg College alumnus, Chaplain to Student Athletes, and linebacker coach Rev. Mike Matson ’06 is the pastor at Bethany Lutheran and the driver behind this community meal. Supported by volunteers and one talented chef, Soup for You is a chance for people of varying backgrounds to come together in an environment that focuses on dignity. In the article “Church program offers hot soup, warm welcome,” Matson underscored that the program focuses on bringing people together.
“Our model is mutuality, and what better way is there to show mutuality than to gather at the same table together?” he said.
Augsburg College was mentioned by the Twin Cities Daily Planet as a result of the traditional powwow held annually by the college.
The event, which was sponsored by the Augsburg American Indian Student Association and American Indian Student Services, featured traditional Native American dancers, drummers, singers, and food.
To learn more about Augsburg’s annual powwow, visit the Twin Cities Daily Planet news site.