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.
Harry Boyte, senior fellow in the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, recently wrote an online column for political newspaper The Hill in which he argues that educators should seek to develop students’ abilities to handle conflict by engaging them in self-guided civic involvement. Recent conversations about free speech and identity politics have primarily focused on either criticizing or applauding students’ approaches to effecting change, a trend which Boyte feels too readily discounts a student’s agency.
“Young people are hungry for opportunities to learn the skills and concepts to handle conflicts and make constructive change,” he writes. Providing timely guidance and these opportunities is important because, “Young people are citizens today, not citizens in preparation.”
Boyte outlines the Public Achievement model of “citizen politics” as everyday problem-solving and public work. Public Achievement sees students work together on real-world projects (such as building a playground for local children) that require a broad set of skills vital to a democratic way of life. In one example, the students “got the parish council on their side, negotiated zoning changes with city officials, and raised $60,000 from local businesses. To accomplish these feats, they learned how to interview people, write letters, give speeches, call people they didn’t know. They deliberated, created alliances, raised money, mapped power, did research.”
In his most recent article for the Huffington Post, Harry Boyte, senior scholar in Augsburg College’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, argues in favor of a relationship-based model for engaging students in democratic society.
Boyte refers to the “organizing” versus “mobilizing” model pioneered by civil rights leaders such as Ella Baker and Bob Moses. In this view of activism, mobilizing is goal-driven and short-lived, while organizing is relationship-driven and sustains engagement over time. Boyte draws a parallel between these different types of activism and educational approaches that focus either on outcomes–such as test scores–or personal growth and agency.
The question, “What are universities for?” elicited a number of responses in a recent article compiled by Zocalo Public Square and published by TIME. Harry Boyte, Augsburg’s Sabo Senior Fellow, argued that colleges and universities should renew their democratic purpose, thereby highlighting the important role these institutions play as public spaces for diverse interests and views to find common ground in a sharply divided society.
Harry Boyte, senior scholar in Augsburg College’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, was named in a Forbes article about the changing tides and criticisms of public higher education. Boyte was mentioned in the article due to his role as a long-time commentator on democracy and its relation to higher learning.
When it comes to community involvement and leadership, Auggies rock.
That’s why Augsburg is the only Minnesota college or university invited to participate in the Bon Jovi Community Service College Campaign when the internationally known rock band stops at the Xcel Energy Center on Sunday, April 7, for its “Because We Can” tour.
Campus Compact has honored 162 students from 32 states as 2012 Newman Civic Fellows. Among the honorees is Angela Bonfiglio of Augsburg College. The Newman Civic Fellows Awards recognize inspiring college student leaders who have worked to find solutions for challenges facing their communities.
Boston, MA – Campus Compact’s member college and university presidents from across the country have nominated 162 college student leaders for the 2012 class of Newman Civic Fellows. These students are demonstrating a personal commitment to creating lasting change for the better in their communities. Through service, community-based research, and advocacy, the 2012 class of Newman Civic Fellows are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves and the root causes of some of the most pressing social issues that challenge us all. Continue reading “Angela Bonfiglio named Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact”→
Nearly 180,000 hours of community service by Augsburg College students last year earned the college a spot on the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction. This is the fourth time Augsburg has been named to the Honor Roll with Distinction.
The White House and U.S. Department of Education today will launch the American Commonwealth Project, a national grassroots effort to reclaim the civic mission of education. Augsburg is at the heart of this effort, and the project’s work will be coordinated by Harry Boyte, director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship.
The ACP is rooted in the recognition that higher education should be—must be—delivered for the common good rather than be allowed to become an individual benefit only for those who an financially afford it. In addition, the project aligns with Augsburg’s mission to educate students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. Continue reading “Augsburg to lead nationwide American Commonwealth Project”→
Minneapolis-St. Paul enjoys the highest civic health of any metropolitan area in the country, according to a report released on Monday by Augsburg’s Center for Democracy and Citizenship (CDC). People in the Twin Cities are the most engaged in their communities—they are more likely to volunteer, to participate in community activities, to vote, and to engage with their neighbors. This healthy civic behavior correlates with greater economic well-being and individual health and happiness. Continue reading “Spreading the Minnesota Way—civic engagement and democratic hope”→