The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported on the growing number of Muslim college students and the ways that schools, including those with Christian affiliations, are adapting to the increasing religious diversity of their student bodies. One way that colleges are improving the experiences of their Muslim students is by hiring advisers like Fardosa Hassan ’12, Muslim student program associate at Augsburg College.
The article reports that since she accepted the position last summer, Hassan has organized weekly prayer meetings for Augsburg’s Muslim students, recruited the help of a therapist and imam to undercut the idea that seeking treatment for depression is un-Islamic, and has taken Religion 100 students to visit local mosques. “Islam has called me to serve my community,” Hassan said, and her work has not gone unnoticed.
When asked about Hassan, first-year student Mohamud Mohamed ’19 said that “Fardosa is our guide. She is our connection to the outside world.”
College pastor Sonja Hagander said that given the growing number of Muslim students, “it was really key to have a Muslim student adviser.”
The article notes that nationwide more than 50 colleges, including Ivy League schools such as Yale and Princeton, have hired advisers for their Muslim students.
Read More Minnesota colleges are hiring advisers to work with Muslim students on the Star Tribune site.
On February 25, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and retired astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, co-founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions, joined Minnesota leaders at Augsburg College to announce a new bipartisan organization, the “Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense.” The coalition’s members – which include leaders from across sectors and parties – will urge their elected officials to advance policies that help keep guns out of the wrong hands.
Giffords was wounded severely during a 2011 shooting that resulted in six deaths. She and husband, Kelly, have announced similar coalitions in New Hampshire and Oregon during the past several months.
Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow welcomed the event’s guests to campus and offered opening remarks at the press conference.
Media coverage of the event includes:
The Augsburg College women’s and men’s hockey teams are enjoying strong seasons, and several news organizations have covered their accomplishments.
National hockey newspaper Let’s Play Hockey recently published an article by Don Stoner, Augsburg’s sports information director, on the teams’ successes. Stoner reports that despite a slow start, the men’s team went on to win their first regular-season Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title since the 1997 – 98 season. He also notes that the women’s team has been playing a winning season, attributed in part to goalie Erika Allen ’16.
U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) also covered Augsburg’s teams in two recent articles. The first article focuses on men’s goalie Jordyn Kaufer ’18. Declaring that Kaufer is “clearly one of the best goaltenders in college hockey,” the article shares an unexpected detail of the sophomore’s career — he was cut from his high school’s hockey team as a junior.
“I played junior gold hockey my final two years of high school,” Kaufer said. “It gives guys a chance who don’t make their high school team to still play the game.”
USCHO also published an article about the Augsburg women’s team and the significance of their strong showing this season. Augsburg’s program was the first women’s hockey program in the Midwest, and the College recently marked the program’s 20th anniversary.
“Celebrating 20 years of Augsburg women’s hockey was incredibly special,” said coach Michelle McAteer.
Augsburg’s hockey teams will compete in the MIAC Semifinals on Saturday, February 27. Visit the Augsburg Athletics website to view the upcoming events calendar.
The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder recently included comments from Jennifer Jacobs, assistant athletic director at Augsburg College, and student athlete Rob Harper ’16 in an article on the struggle to increase the diversity of coaching and administrative staff at NCAA schools. The article is a response to pro-diversity resolutions passed at the league’s annual conference last month.
In the article, Jacobs acknowledged that the drive for inclusion and diversity must start at the top. “Athletic directors and assistant athletic directors can’t feel empowered unless it comes from the presidents,” she said.
Jacobs added that “…people in general will hire people that look like them. The only way to counteract that is [that] you have to be intentional in your hiring practice.”
Harper, a sociology major and member of the Student Athlete Advisory Council, discussed his experience attending the conference and interest in observing the league’s voting process.
Read Moving from talk to action on diversity and inclusion on the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder site.
Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow was one of the high-profile Minnesotans recently included on a full-page ad in the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper that denounced anti-Muslim bigotry as “un-Minnesotan.”
Others who added their support to the campaign include Gov. Mark Dayton, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and the CEOs of prominent Minnesota businesses such as Best Buy, General Mills, and Cargill.
The ad was a joint effort between Democratic U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison and John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management. It states that although Minnesotans, “may be a soft-spoken bunch, we know better than to be silent or still in the face of bigotry shown to Muslims. Our fellow Minnesotans.”
Several media outlets have reported on the ad, including:
Augsburg College staff members Lori York, associate registrar, and Leah Spinosa de Vega, director of global initiatives and off-campus study, were quoted in an article for International Educator — a bi-monthly magazine published by NAFSA: the Association of International Educators.
The article focuses on the specific challenges faced by veterans who wish to study abroad and how schools can better facilitate global education opportunities this group of students.
To help navigate the nuances of veterans’ benefits, “I would encourage the study abroad office to tap into the expertise of the School Certifying Official on their campus,” York said in the article.
Read: Helping Military Veterans Study Abroad (pdf) from the International Educator.
As part of an ongoing conversation about democracy in education, Harry Boyte, senior scholar in public work philosophy for Augsburg’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, recently contributed an article to Education Week in which he argued in favor of free spaces–“places where people find it easy and enjoyable to swap stories, plan adventures, and discuss and argue politics.”
In the article, Boyte draws on his experiences with Sabo Center colleague Dennis Donovan, national organizer for Public Achievement, to articulate the importance of providing places for challenging yet compassionate dialog.
Read: Free Spaces in Democracy Schools on the Education Weekly site.
The Minnesota chapter of Campus Compact, an organization that supports civic engagement and democratic renewal across college campuses, recently published an article about Augsburg College’s proactive approach to supporting Muslim students and the local Muslim community.
Following inflammatory statements made by high-profile politicians and presidential candidates about the Muslim community, the Augsburg College faculty passed a resolution declaring their “deep support, love and friendship for the Muslim members of our campus, community and world.” The Campus Compact article states that, “Faculty and staff at the college make this commitment real through myriad practices and partnerships.”
Included in those partnerships is the work that the College has done with Sisterhood Boutique, a “second-hand clothing store and youth social entrepreneurship program developed by young women, a majority East African and Muslim, living in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis.” Augsburg faculty members — such as Assistant Professor of Business Marc Isaacson — have engaged their students in projects to support the boutique.
Read: In Word and Deed: Augsburg College in Support of Muslim Students, Colleagues, Neighbors on the Campus Compact site.
The Des Moines Register has published a profile of Meghan Peyton, head coach of women’s and men’s cross country at Augsburg College and University of Iowa graduate. The article is part of a series focusing on 11 Iowans who are competing in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
The article details Peyton’s running career and her training routine for the event, which takes place in Los Angeles on February 13. It also tells of the careful balance she maintains between her coaching duties and her running career.
“Coaching is my way of giving back to the sport. I didn’t want to neglect that,” she said.
Read: Mile posts: Former Hawkeye Meghan Peyton eager for marathon best on the Des Moines Register site.
Minneapolis-St. Paul ABC affiliate KSTP recently aired a story on its Eyewitness News program about the ways in which Augsburg College’s Women’s Basketball team is mourning and honoring beloved coach Bill McKee, who passed away in August. The segment shares that the team has been remembering Coach McKee with patches on their jerseys, bracelets, and moments of silence before each game.
The segment features statements from Ted Riverso, the team’s new head coach and friend of McKee, and Allison McKee ’16, who is one of the team’s captains and the late coach’s daughter.
“It’s important to me because I want to keep him as much a part of this season as I can,” she said. “He was the most important person in my life.”
Watch Augsburg Women’s Hoops Honoring Former Coach McKee on the KSTP site.