Advisory: River Semester students return to Minnesota on Dec. 13

Class will be welcomed Sunday night at Union Depot by family, friends

(MINNEAPOLIS) – After a semester living, studying and traveling from St. Paul to New Orleans on the Mississippi River, students in the nation’s first-ever River Semester – created by Professor Joe Underhill – return to Minnesota on Sunday, Dec. 13.

The students, who departed St. Paul on Sept. 1 in 24-foot voyageur canoes for their journey to the Gulf of Mexico, are scheduled to arrive at 10 p.m. at St. Paul Union Depot. The group will be greeted by family, friends, and members of the Augsburg College community.

Visit Amtrak’s website for updated information on the track on which the train will arrive. Click the tab on the box that says “train status” and then look for the link in the bottom of the box that says “check status by city.” Enter “CHI” as the origination point and “MSP” as the destination.

River Semester Gallery Opening

The River Semester will be celebrated at a gallery opening from 5-7 p.m., December 16, and that will feature art, design, and typography that gives visitors a glimpse into the daily life of the River Semester students. The River Semester was incorporated into multiple classrooms led by Professor Christopher Houltberg, and as a way to help students understand how local, national, and global issues to highlight how design can act as a catalyst for change.

Christensen Center Student Art Gallery
Augsburg College, Christensen Center
22nd Avenue South at 7 1/2 Street, Minneapolis

River Semester media attention grows as class travels down-river

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 2.35.52 PM[Updated November 13] — The Augsburg College River Semester, created and led by Joe Underhill, associate professor of political science, departed from St. Paul’s Harriet Island on September 1. As part of the kickoff, the River Semester class was joined by a group of nearly 100 students, parents, high school students and members of the Augsburg College community who paddled in a flotilla of 24-foot voyageur canoes from St. Paul to South St. Paul. Students participating in the semester-long program will earn as many as 16 credits in the arts, humanities, and sciences as they travel nearly 2,000 miles of the 2,350-mile Mississippi River.

The River Semester kickoff garnered a range of attention. Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed September 1 “Augsburg College River Semester Day” and many media outlets covered the launch of the class.

Since the students and faculty departed on their voyage, print and broadcast media have been sharing the story of this hands-on, interdisciplinary program. In fact, multiple stories have been picked up by the Associated Press and shared through the AP’s member media throughout the nation.

A snapshot of the ongoing media coverage is below. As additional coverage occurs, it will be added to this post.

November 9

October 16

October 15

October 8

September 29

Continue reading

Photo Opportunity: River Semester students land Saturday at Gateway Arch in St. Louis

College students have paddled nearly 600 miles from St. Paul to St. Louis en route to New Orleans

WHAT

Gateway ArchAfter nine weeks living, studying and traveling on the Mississippi River in a flotilla of 24-foot voyageur canoes and paddling nearly 600 miles, a group of Augsburg College students is slated to land on at the Gateway Arch at 1 p.m., Saturday. The students, who departed St. Paul on Sept. 1 as part of their semester-long journey to the Gulf of Mexico, will land in St. Louis just as the city is discussing the grade of D+ given on the Mississippi River Basin “report card” by a consortium of environmental organizations and as the city celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Gateway Arch.

WHEN

1 p.m., Saturday

WHERE

Gateway Arch, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, 100 Washington Ave., St. Louis 63102

ABOUT THE RIVER SEMESTER

The students participating in this semester-long learning program will earn as many as 16 credits in biology, environmental studies, health and physical education, and political science.  During the trip, students will:

  • Conduct a field research project on a topic such as water pollution, the Clean Water Act, sustainable agriculture in the watershed, political organizing around environmental issues, race relations and social justice, or urban riverfront revitalization.
  • Explore the history, literature, food, music and culture of the Mississippi River.
  • Gain skills tailored to meet the needs of partner organizations, including businesses,  graduate schools, nonprofits and government agencies.
  • Attend town hall meetings and meet with environmental organizations along the river.
  • Hear from guest lecturers about invasive carp, habitat restoration, authors Mark Twain and William Faulkner, ancient river civilizations, American Indian communities and their fight for justice, and the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

An overview of the trip can be found on the River Semester website at augsburg.edu/river

ABOUT AUGSBURG COLLEGE

Augsburg College, a private liberal arts college in Minneapolis, offered the River Semester in partnership with Wilderness Inquiry, a nonprofit and inclusive travel provider that specializes in experiential programming and outdoor travel for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Augsburg College offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to nearly 3,600 students of diverse backgrounds at its campuses located in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and in Rochester. Augsburg College educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. The Augsburg experience is supported by an engaged community committed to intentional diversity in its life and work. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

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River Semester students to land Oct. 31 at St. Louis Gateway Arch

Augsburg College students have paddled nearly 600 miles since Sept. 1

(MINNEAPOLIS) – After nine weeks living, studying and traveling on the Mississippi River in 24-foot voyageur canoes and paddling nearly 600 miles, a group of Augsburg College students is slated to land on Saturday at the St. Louis Gateway Arch.

The students, who departed St. Paul on Sept. 1 as part of their semester-long journey to the Gulf of Mexico, will land in St. Louis just as that city is discussing the grade of D+ given on the Mississippi River Basin “report card” by a consortium of environmental organizations and as the city celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Gateway Arch.

“Students on this trip are seeing and learning first-hand some of the reasons communities along the river are grappling with a watershed grade of D+. The river is used for many purposes and this puts a strain on the ecosystem, the infrastructure, and recreation,” said Joe Underhill, associate professor of political science and creator of this high-impact learning program.

“We have students who, for their individual class projects throughout the trip, are taking water quality samples, looking at chemical concentrations in the river, water treatment and light pollution. Paddling and camping along the river, we have observed first-hand problems with water quality, runoff from farms and factories, and current state of the locks and bridges along the way. This is part of a complex set of political considerations around how to balance all these competing interests on the nation’s iconic river.”

Augsburg College President Paul C. Pribbenow will meet with the class in St. Louis on Sunday, Nov. 1 and Monday, Nov. 2. Continue reading

Back-to-school for 16 Augsburg students means traveling the length of Mississippi River as part of nation’s first-ever River Semester

Students, from Sept. 1 to mid-December, will study, live, travel more than 1,795 miles on Mississippi from St. Paul to the Gulf of Mexico

(MINNEAPOLIS) – A class of 16 Augsburg College students led by Professor Joe Underhill will depart Sept. 1 in 24-foot voyageur canoes to spend the semester studying, researching and living on the river. The students taking part in the nation’s first-ever River Semester will travel nearly 2,000 miles of the 2,350-mile-long Mississippi River to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. The group will depart from Kelley’s Landing on St. Paul’s Harriet Island in a launch event that is open to the public.

Students participating in this hands-on, interdisciplinary program will earn as many as 16 credits studying biology, environmental studies, health and physical education, and political science. Continue reading

Bring Me The News shares roundup of River Semester info

bringmeThe online media resource Bring Me The News shared a compilation of information about the Augsburg College River Semester, a three-and-a-half month program in which students and faculty members will traverse the Mississippi River from St. Paul to New Orleans while studying topics in the arts, humanities, and sciences. As the story noted, “Students will sleep in campsites instead of dorm rooms and will paddle rather than walk to their classes this fall.”

Visit the Bring Me The News website to read, “Rollin’ on the river: Augsburg prepares to launch its first semester on the Mississippi.

Auggies abroad in the summer

summer_abroadThough the semester program classes have ended at Augsburg for this academic year, students and faculty are still on the move. Starting on the day after last weekend’s commencement ceremony, groups of Auggies departed both to share their musical talents and to study abroad.

The Augsburg Choir

On May 6, the Augsburg Choir, under the direction of Peter Hendrickson ’76, departed for a 12-day tour of the Midwest. With stops in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington state, the Choir will perform nine concerts and have opportunities to connect with potential Auggies and their families as well as alumni and friends of the College. Continue reading

Series examines youth involvement in social change movements

bataldenBeginning this spring, Augsburg will host a series of speakers, courses, and travel experiences relating to the political changes in Egypt that tie in with Augsburg’s civic mission.

The first of these opportunities is the Batalden Symposium on Applied Ethics which will feature three members of the EYouth (Engaging and Empowering Egyptian Youth) project. The lecture on Monday, Feb. 13 at 10 a.m., is free and open to the public.

Said Joe Underhill, professor of political science and adviser for Augsburg’s Model UN course, “We are hoping these events will provide students with a rich and inter-related set of learning experiences that will inspire and empower our students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders.” Continue reading

Students receive grant for campus greening project

pedalpowerRecently students from the Spring 2010 Environmental Connections class, which was taught by Michael Lansing and Joe Underhill, received $500 from the Nash Foundation to fund a student-designed campus greening project. Their project deserves an A+ for creativity and could result not only in energy savings but also in improved student fitness.

The class focused on energy and featured a final project in which teams of students wrote real grant proposals for campus-greening initiatives. One student group—made up of Angela Bonfiglio, Alexander Ebert, Emily Nichols, Edmond Smith, and Tsering Dechen—proposed an “Augsburg Pedal Power Program.” Here’s how they described their project in their application to the Nash Foundation: Continue reading