[Updated September 30] — 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.
The Star Tribune’s Neal St. Anthony on Sunday, September 27, wrote a profile about Augsburg College Regent Emeritus Mike Good ’71 and his exemplary leadership as chair of the College’s successful capital campaign for the Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion.
St. Anthony reported that Good retired early in 2012 to “take on for Augsburg’s Board of Regents what Good considers a challenged that transcended his athletic and business career.” Under Good’s leadership, the capital campaign met its goal by exceeding $50 million.
Read “St. Anthony: Retired CEO Mike Good was the All American behind Augsburg’s business building.”
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:
The 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.“
Augsburg College’s first-ever River Semester will be an opportunity for students to spend the fall and early winter months traveling from St. Paul to New Orleans in 24-foot voyageur canoes on the Mississippi River. Participants will study topics ranging from ecology to history to literature.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently discussed this experiential education opportunity in the article, “Augsburg preparing to launch ‘River Semester’ on the Mississippi.“
Matthew Beckman, assistant professor of biology, joined his research collaborators Grant Two Bulls and Amy Myrbo in writing a commentary for the Star Tribune that voiced support for renaming Minneapolis’ Lake Calhoun. As the commentary noted, recent events have initiated a debate regarding whether the lake should return to its original name in the Dakota language: Mde Maka Ska.
Beckman, Two Bulls, and Myrbo conducted research during summer 2014 that involved taking a core sample of lake sediment and studying its pollen content as a way to examine the ecological record of an early-19th-century Dakota agricultural village on its shore. This geological study of the lake showed a long history of Native American natural resource stewardship that extended centuries before the arrival of surveyors backed by John C. Calhoun, the lake’s namesake.
Visit the Star Tribune website to read, “Mde Maka Ska: A Minnesota name for a Minnesota lake.”
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 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.”
The Star Tribune’s Neal St. Anthony wrote about the College hitting it’s campaign goal for the new Center for Science, Business, and Religion. The story discusses key next steps in the process for the building, including that the Board of Regents resolved to proceed with architectural and construction design plans for the signature, interdisciplinary academic building. St. Anthony also took time to acknowledge the College as one of the most racially diverse in Minnesota. Read “Augsburg College hits $50M campaign goal a year early.”
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.