A reporter from the Minneapolis Star Tribune recently was on campus to interview Diana Pierce ’16 MAL, a longtime Twin Cities news anchor whose retirement from KARE 11 News was announced Wednesday. Pierce completed her Master of Art in Leadership at Augsburg College in December, and she will participate in Augsburg’s 2016 Commencement ceremonies.
Although she will be retiring from KARE 11, Pierce has not finished her work of “helping shape stories that provide a voice for the underserved.” She will use her degree to move behind the camera and produce documentaries. “It’s a weird, wonderful transition,” she said.
KARE 11 television recently interviewed a group of 5th graders who created a multicultural cookbook as a way to promote diversity and tolerance. The students are part Public Achievement, an Augsburg College program designed to teach democracy and citizenship through service projects.
The segment also featured program director Dennis Donovan. “There are a lot of issues in the world, and we need people to come together and solve these problems,” he said. “Having young people participate in public achievement gives them a skill-set and process that normally they would not have.”
The Minnesota Daily recently covered the Cedar Riverside Community Traveling Basketball program, which provides coaching, practice, and competition for six teams of local boys and girls ranging from sixth to 10th grade.
The program was founded by Augsburg College alumna Jennifer Weber ’11, who recognized a need for such programs. “The kids here in the neighborhood need more quality programming,” she said. “The kids want it. They go to open gym all the time.”
Another need Weber recognized dealt with a lack of functional athletic attire that was culturally acceptable for the many Muslim girls in the program.
Luckily, design students from the University of Minnesota had already been working to solve that problem. Working with the players and other partners, the students designed uniforms with adjustable hijabs, knee-length skirts and breathable leggings. A grant from the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station provided funding to donate the completed uniforms to the program.
The article concludes with a statement from coach and co-founder Muna Mohamed ’16, an exercise science senior at Augsburg who grew up in the neighborhood.
“These girls are getting an opportunity to have culturally appropriate clothing, at the same time … [as] enjoying sports,” she said. “They don’t have to worry about fixing their scarves. They don’t have to worry about ‘How can I play basketball and also respect my culture?'”
Augsburg College alumnus Nic Thomley ’15 MBA was one of 22 entrepreneurs inducted as 2016 Harry Crown Fellows by the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.
Over a two-year period, the fellows explore their leadership, core values, vision for a “Good Society,” and desired legacies by spending four weeks in structured retreat. They then put their learning into action with a new venture designed to stretch them and to have a positive impact on their communities, their country, or the world.
Thomley’s career began in 1999 when he founded Pinnacle Services to provide vocational, residential, and financial management services to seniors and people with disabilities. He was 19. Since then, he has gone on to form Morning Star Financial Services and Summit Fiscal Agency.
KARE 11 news staff recently interviewed former NBA player Devean George ’99 about The Commons at Penn Avenue, a mixed-use building development in north Minneapolis that George has been working on for four years. The building includes upscale low-income housing and will be the site of a co-op grocery store that will open this summer.
George compared the complexity of completing the project with the effort required to join the NBA.
“This has been really difficult. It was a little bit like pre-draft for me,” George said. “Coming from a small school I had to prove myself and play well all the time. It was similar to that.”
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.
Minnesota Public Radio News recently published an article and audio interview with Natalie Shaw ’16, a student at Augsburg College who has been volunteering for Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Shaw recently went door-to-door in Des Moines, Iowa, encouraging voters to turn out in support of Clinton at the state’s Democratic caucus slated for February 1.
Despite the cold weather, Shaw says she receives a warm welcome from nearly everyone who opens their door. “Iowans are just such amazing people,” she said. “You call them up… and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, come over, have dinner.'”
Shaw credits her father’s volunteer work during John Kerry’s 2004 campaign as the impetus for her love of politics and political organizing.
The Star Tribune recently published an article about Crescent Cove, a St. Louis Park nonprofit founded by Katie Lindenfelser ’02 that next year seeks to begin construction on a hospice home, a care facility that specializes in lessening the suffering of dying patients. The article details the many challenges faced by the families of terminally ill children and the lack of resources available to them.
Currently, there are only two facilities in the U.S. that specialize in end-of-life care for children. In the article, Lindenfelser attributes this to the discomfort people feel toward the idea of terminally ill children. “In our culture there’s a lot more satisfaction in funding research for a cure,” she says.
In addition to caring for the patients, facilities such as the one Crescent Cove intends to build offer much-needed respite for the parents and families of the children. Caring for these children is often a taxing, 24/7 job that can take precedence over the parenting role. The article quotes one parent of an ill child as saying, “In those precious last moments, I’d like to stop being the lead nurse, doctor, therapist and just go back to being Mom.”
The Huffington Post recently published an article by Harry Boyte, senior fellow in the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, in which Boyte argues that the current political climate in the U.S. has undervalued the community-building and participatory aspects of democracy. The essay centers around conflicting accounts of the “American Dream;” one version focusing on American superiority and the other on the value of “cooperative endeavor” and social justice.
Seeing democracy as more than just a way of electing leaders, Boyte examines the Civilian Conservation Corps as a model for infusing Americans’ work lives with a purpose greater than materialism. He states that, “as work has come to be seen only as a means to the good life and not of value in itself, the public dimensions of work and recognition of the importance of workers have sharply declined.”
$447,000, three-year award supports Youth Theological Institute
(MINNEAPOLIS) — A grant of more than $445,000 was awarded by Lilly Endowment Inc., in a highly competitive grant process, to Augsburg College’s Youth Theology Institute. The award means the Youth Theology Institute can, among other things, develop a fellowship program for youth ministers, including from multicultural and ethnic-specific congregations, and expand participation in the program among youths, congregations, and synods.
“This grant supports Augsburg’s continued commitment to intentional diversity and to modeling what it means to be a Lutheran college of the 21st century, located in the heart of one of the nation’s most diverse zip codes,” said Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow.