Augsburg alumni bring ‘Hoopla Train’ to rural Minnesota

sodhouseThis 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:

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.

Star Tribune previews Augsburg College River Semester

Minneapolis Star TribuneAugsburg 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 contributes to Star Tribune commentary

Minneapolis Star TribuneMatthew 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.”

Muna Mohamed ’16 and Jennifer Weber ’11 support girls in sports, appear in Star Tribune

Minneapolis Star TribuneAuggies 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.

Tommy Redae ’09 MBA shines in Star Tribune article

Minneapolis Star TribuneAugsburg 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.”

Star Tribune writes about completion of CSBR campaign

Minneapolis Star TribuneThe 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.”

Mike Matson ’06 launches community meal initiative

Minneapolis Star TribuneFive 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.

Kristin Anderson discusses new St. Paul ballpark in Star Tribune

Minneapolis Star TribuneKristin Anderson — a sports architecture expert, Augsburg College archivist, and art history professor — was quoted in a Star Tribune article on the architecture of the new CHS Field set to open in the Lowertown district of downtown St. Paul this spring. CHS Field is the future home of the St. Paul Saints minor league team, and its architecture features a sleek low-slung design comprised of black concrete and steel. The article presented a number of individuals’ opinions of the design, noting that the structure is a standout amongst its adjacent buildings.

“The immediate expectation was that it had to match the things around it — ye old ballpark — and I don’t think that’s necessary … The subtlety of the exterior allows the action of the place to shine,” Anderson said.

Read, “St. Paul Saints: Not your grandfather’s ballpark” on the Star Tribune website to learn more.

Augsburg wrestling’s record win draws media attention

In mid-March, Augsburg College won its 12th NCAA Division III wrestling championship and took home a number of awards from the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

Head coach Jim Moulsoff was named Division III National Coach of the Year and Division III Rookie Coach of the Year. Tony Valek ’12 was named Assistant Coach of the Year, and Mike Fuenffinger ’15 won his second national title and the Outstanding Wrestler honor. Eric Hensel ’16 won Most Falls in Least Time, and Donny Longendyke ’15 earned his first national title.

Media coverage of Augsburg’s NCAA Championship win includes the following: