Serving up food and fun with Campus Kitchen Step-Up interns

Hi my name is Davonte and I worked as one of Augsburg’s Campus Kitchen summer Step-up interns and it was my first ever job experience. Over the summer I’ve acquired a variety of job experiences and practiced many skills such as cooking, gardening, and researching food systems. Every Monday through Thursday I served food with the youth at the Brian Coyle Center and on Saturday I participated in the gleaning at the Mill City Farmer’s Market where we collected fresh donations of produce and gave it elders at The Cedars senior apartment building in Cedar-Riverside. It was a lot of hard work but it was also very fun and well worth the time. For example, going to the Guthrie Theatre during my shift on Saturday to enjoy the views made the time go so much faster.

This summer while cooking I learned new things such as new recipes made from fresh and healthy ingredients that ended up tasting really good like zucchini muffins and cucumber popsicles. Also one of my favorite parts of the job was just making other people happy by giving them food. It’s a rewarding experience.  

-Davonte

 

Hey, my name is Raykel and this past summer I worked for Campus Kitchen through the Minneapolis Step Up program. “What’s Campus Kitchen you ask?” Well Campus Kitchen is a food organization that is basically built off of donations. Any food not used in the Augsburg kitchen that has already been prepared but wasn’t eaten is given to Campus Kitchen to be reused. We have a wide variety of the kinds of food that we get, although once the food is put into the fridge we have a week to use it and most times it gets used and if not we freeze it. Another question you probably have is “Where does the food go once prepared everyday?” Well, Monday-Thursday the food is made and distributed to the Brian Coyle Center, for the children and even the adults (depending on how much we have left) but kids always eat first. Fridays, twice a month we take food to the elders at Ebenezer Tower Apartments and eat dinner with them. Campus Kitchen is like an organization that is always giving back to the community. Did I mention the garden where the community gets together and grows what they want to?

This job gives many opportunities. For instance, you meet people at a college and you learn things about the college that you didn’t know before. Also, you can put it on your resume. Plus if you ever need a job when you come to college then you know a place that you don’t even have to leave campus for. There were many memories and skills that we made and learned over the summer but there’s a couple that stand out to me:  knowledge of plants and knowledge of cooking in the kitchen. For two weeks in the summer time we had a gap in our schedule because the Brian Coyle Center was shut down so we helped out MN Urban Debate League camp. During, before, or even after their lunch we always could eat lunch so who wouldn’t go back for 3rds? This job helped me gain a lot of knowledge about many things and I’m very grateful for a great job.

Here’s some photos from the summer time:

1st photo is from the Garden

2nd photo was when we prepared the food by ourselves

-Raykel N.

 

Interfaith at Cedar Commons Fosters Connection, Understanding

People sitting around tables in Cedar Commons sharing a meal.
Attendees at an Interfaith at Cedar Commons event share a meal and conversation.

Twice a month, students and community members gather in the Cedar Commons space adjacent to Augsburg’s campus, intentionally coming together to build relationships across faith and non-faith traditions and learn from each other’s experiences, stories, and convictions. Coordinated through the Sabo Center for Democracy & Citizenship, Interfaith at Cedar Commons is one of many initiatives based at the Sabo Center that connect the Augsburg campus and the wider community. Gathering around a topic and often a meal, participants discuss subjects ranging from Islamophobia to religious holidays, human rights, political activism, and creation stories. The inter-generational group involves faith communities from the Augsburg campus and the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, and integrates the Interfaith Scholars program, cultivating student and community-based leadership.

Shoshana Freund and Bethany Keyl are two Augsburg students who have been involved with Interfaith at Cedar Commons as current or past interns with the core team of students and community members that plans the gatherings. They described the interfaith events as open, welcoming spaces where topics and faith and non-faith perspectives are understood to be complex. For Shoshana, an atheist, the complexity of these discussions were refreshing. Speaking from her experience on the planning team, Shoshana described how the topics chosen for the events are designed to help people from all paths–including those who do not practice a religion–to find common ground through storytelling and experience sharing. Often this leads to new, profound understandings of people and communities who might otherwise have remained “Other.” Interfaith is an opportunity for students and others to see that “people of other belief systems are not antagonists,” Shoshana said. “Their beliefs don’t exist to contradict yours.” Bethany noted that the gatherings are an opportunity to find “common ground” and to “foster understanding” through the experiences and stories of people who come from different traditions.

Beyond story-sharing and relationship-building, Interfaith at Cedar Commons is also focused on building skills for inter-faith organizing. Activities such as power-mapping, one-to-one trainings, and other aspects of community organizing have been regular additions to the 2016-17 school year interfaith meetings. These skill-based sessions, along with the practice of having nuanced and complex conversations about meaning, core commitments, and the role of different faith traditions in the world with community members from campus and beyond, makes Interfaith at Cedar Commons a program that embodies the Sabo Center’s commitment to “create a culture of civic agency and engagement among students, faculty, staff, and our broader community so that graduates are architects of change and pioneers in work of public significance.”

Curious to learn more? Learn more about Cedar Commons using the following link:

http://www.augsburg.edu/cedarcommons/

Learn more about Interfaith @ Cedar Commons by using the following link:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/914923151875489/

“Citizen Teachers” address teacher shortage in Rochester

 

Interested in education programs in Rochester? Learn more.

 

Three Solutions to Rochester’s Critical Teacher Shortage

By Kate H. Elliott

Each thread of the state’s teacher shortage has tangled into a giant, seemingly hopeless mess—leaving educators and communities somewhat paralyzed as to which string to sort out first.

But Kaycee Rogers, director of education at Augsburg College’s Rochester site, believes in Rochester’s nimble fingers. The overwhelming statistics, she said, aren’t factoring in the power of human energy, the collective strength of community, and the innovative connections mounting among educators and community leaders. Rogers is among a growing cadre of “citizen teachers” working together to increase teacher support and retention, remove legislative and licensure obstacles, and empower neighbors to fill vacant positions within the community’s second largest employer—Rochester Public Schools.

Complex, Mounting Problems

On the rise since the 1980s, Minnesota’s teacher shortage has achieved crisis levels in the past decade. The Minnesota Department of Education, for instance, reported hiring more than 3,500 teachers who lacked necessary licenses, with special education and English Learner teachers among the toughest positions to fill. And students in these populations are increasing at roughly the same rate as the decline of those licensed to teach them.

To wrap these factors in even more red tape—ahem, string—are mounting paperwork and licensure requirements, which are made worse by the fact that some required licenses are not offered at the state’s colleges and universities.

Embrace Diversity, Empower ‘Citizen Teachers’

But Rogers remains hopeful. She uses the phrase “citizen teacher” to reiterate the role of teachers in public life and the importance of community-focused, culturally-relevant education. Rogers said the solution is not “out there,” but within each city, within Rochester.

“Rochester is a resettlement hub for refugees; and with several industry leaders, including the Mayo Clinic, our community draws non-native English speakers, who often start out in the service industry,” Rogers said. “We want to reach out to people who look like our students, come from the same backgrounds—perhaps those already working with our students as teacher aides or in other supporting roles—to advance their education, and we want that education to celebrate all cultures, provide students with multiple entry points for understanding, and make a difference in our community.”

It’s well documented that students retain more and have a positive view of education when they relate to teachers and aren’t asked to check their heritage at the door, Rogers said. Growing teachers from Rochester’s diverse population will beget more teachers of color—as students see someone like them leading the class, they may want to teach the next generation, she added.

Adopt Community-Focused, Student-Led Learning

Rogers and other teacher educators in Rochester are focused on retaining teachers, particularly within the critical first five years (a period with the highest turnover rate). She said that efforts start with conversations that build into professional development and support networks that address challenges. Rogers stresses that incentives and infrastructure must coincide with initiatives to confront the roots of the shortage, including class sizes, paperwork loads, and appropriate student placement, especially for those with special needs.

Meanwhile, teacher educators and administrators are striving to improve classroom culture through support of meaningful, relevant learning experiences. As an example, Rogers shares work an Augsburg student is engaged in as part of her coursework on public achievement:

Heather Mabbitt, a special education teacher in Lyle, Minnesota, asked a group of first-12th graders: What is a problem in our community? Their response: Hunger, specifically that some students go without snack each day. Her next question: Well, what are we going to do about it? As a part of the answer, she is now guiding these students with physical and emotional disabilities to raise awareness and support for a snack pantry of healthy options.

“There’s no reason why students shouldn’t learn through experiences that matter to them, and we can give them the tools to make a difference now,” Rogers said. “We have fourth- and fifth-graders writing grants, speaking to community groups, navigating teamwork, and participating in democracy,” Rogers said. “It’s been amazing to watch our teachers transition to more of a coaching role, while students take the lead to apply classroom learning to issues and situations of meaning to them.”

Broaden the Scope of Licensures

This community-focused approach pairs well with the more comprehensive, inclusive approach emerging to address special populations. More and more colleges and universities are phasing out specializations in narrow disability categories and adopting broader licensures, like the Academic Behavioral Strategist. The ABS prepares teacher candidates to work across all classifications of mild to moderate disabilities.

“A comprehensive, inclusive approach, we believe, equips teachers to address the complex challenges of today’s classrooms and qualifies them for a wider range of teaching positions,” Rogers said. “Exposure to more teaching strategies, more specializations only helps teacher candidates adapt and innovate in order to provide students with multiple access points for understanding.”

 

Interested in education programs in Rochester? Learn more.

Sabo Center Collaboration: Cultivating Civic Skills for Community-Centered Healthcare

When most people think of nursing, the first association that comes to mind is not usually “political.” But the Nursing Department at Augsburg College, in partnership with staff at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, is encouraging their students to think of nursing as just that: public, change-making work, focused on relationship-building, public dialogue, and grassroots efforts in local context.

Beginning in 2009, the Augsburg College Nursing Department began collaborating with the Sabo Center, bringing in Public Achievement Organizer Dennis Donovan to teach graduate students about beginning organizing skills, such as one-to-one relational meetings. In the years since, the Augsburg nursing program has turned to social change-making as a key component of its course curriculum, focusing on the social barriers to health in addition to bedside care. After receiving a grant from the Augsburg College president’s office in 2014, the Nursing Department worked with Sabo Center staff to train department faculty about civic skills, and to subsequently embed these concepts into curriculum and coursework. Such core civic skills include one-to-one relational meetings, formulating public narrative, deliberative dialogue, power mapping, and public evaluation.

Katie Clark, Nursing Instructor and Director of Augsburg Central Health Commons and Health Commons in Cedar-Riverside, incorporated these civic skills into a graduate-level class focused on unique models of care and communities as the foundation of health, utilizing a social justice lens. For their final project, students had to apply civic skills in the context of their care site. The impact on student’s professional self-understanding was immense, according to Clark. Because of the incorporation of civic-focused strategies in their nursing practice, “students think about how they can create change in different ways. I don’t think people in nursing really think of themselves as political,” Clark said, “Nurses are more caregivers…(but) students get out of that mindset and think, ‘Oh, I could have a one-on-one (relational meeting) with that person.’ I see students thinking about engaging in their community differently.”

The collaboration with the Sabo Center has complimented the nursing department’s commitment to transcultural nursing, a model for nursing that holistically considers culture, life patterns, and other social factors while providing culturally competent care. Health and people are viewed not as discreet cases, but as individuals who are incorporated into webs of relation and inhabit different ways of being in the world. Nursing thus becomes concerned with community health, examining how and where people belong, the strength of human connections, and health inequities. Rooted in community-based praxis, nursing professionals know not only how to administer direct care, but how to build relationships, formulate a public narrative about community health, and advocate for change.

The community-based, transcultural focus of Augsburg’s nursing program has also intersected with another Sabo Center program, Campus Kitchen. For the past 4 years, the Nursing Department and the Sabo Center have partnered to host an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer, with a particular focus on the intersection of the Health Commons and the Campus Kitchen-run Augsburg Community Garden. Through the relationship between the two programs, more Cedar-Riverside residents have been engaged with the garden; additionally, the relationship between Health Commons and Campus Kitchen has been key to the success of the farmer’s market gleaning project, with a neighborhood health liaison hired by Health Commons spreading the word about the program and distributing food.

Partnerships and collaboration are a hallmark of the Sabo Center’s work, and the relationship with the Nursing Department embodies our mission to foster civic agency, to help cultivate public, change-making skills, and to forge connections with the local community. Read more about our mission and purpose.

Want to learn more? Visit the Health Commons website, the Augsburg College Nursing Department website, the Augsburg Campus Kitchen website, and the Sabo Center website.

Jane Addams School for Democracy comes to a close

After twenty years of democratic education and practice, the Jane Addams School for Democracy met for the last time earlier this month. From the beginning, its founders sought to free and cultivate the talents, cultures, and interests of people from diverse backgrounds and traditions and engage in a minimally structured, non-hierarchical way that allows participants to shape the agenda. The Jane Addams School for Democracy brought immigrant families, college students and other community members together to do public work and learning. It was inspired by the vision of democracy, productive citizenship, and popular education held by settlement house pioneers like Jane Addams, who created Hull House in Chicago in 1889.

As we consider the current state of our democracy, the principles and practices of Jane Addams School are a much needed antidote to the polarization and division that colors public discourse. We have faith that the lessons of Jane Addams School can continue to support a more just and democratic world. In 2007, the Kettering Foundation published a book called Voices of Hope: The Story of the Jane Addams School for Democracy which features 22 essays by 12 Jane Addams School participants, including non-native English speakers, and more than 75 photos.

Profile: Grace Corbin, Campus Kitchen Student Leader

Photo of Grace Corbin
Grace Corbin preps a meal for one of Campus Kitchen’s partner sites.

For Grace Corbin, food justice is not just about making sure everyone can eat. As a participant in Augsburg College’s Campus Kitchen program throughout her four years at Augsburg—this year as a student leader—Grace has come to understand the sharing of food as an essential aspect of breaking down social and cultural barriers. Whether it is through serving food to elders at the Ebenezer Towers, gleaning food from the Mill City Farmers Market, or growing food in the Augsburg Community Garden, Grace sees all of the aspects of Campus Kitchen as opportunities for relationship building with community members, fellows students, and staff. Relationships, she says, are key to building equity when it comes to food access, and health and community well-being more generally.

Grace’s time with Campus Kitchen has also allowed her to develop skills and interests that she might not otherwise have explored. Grace credits her experience with Campus Kitchen—particularly learning about food systems and food waste—as inspiring her interest in environmental sustainability and ultimately her interest in pursuing faith-based environmental work after graduation. Co-leading a student plot in the Augsburg Community Garden and our weekly gleaning efforts this summer provided her with an experiential learning opportunity that quickly pushed her out of her comfort zone to learn about vegetables, event planning, the logistics of food distribution, and the diverse community that surrounds Augsburg’s campus. Grace took on the challenge: “I learned a lot of things about myself…(and) how willing I am to challenge myself.” Participating in Campus Kitchen was even a physical feat: over the course of last summer, Grace and a fellow student lifted over 5,000 pounds (!) of leftover produce from the Mill City Farmers Market and distributed it weekly to elders in a nearby apartment complex.

Augsburg Campus Kitchen is part of the national Campus Kitchens Project, which focuses on

  • Strengthening Bodies by using existing resources to meet hunger and nutritional needs in our communities
  • Empowering Minds by providing leadership and service-learning opportunities to college students, and educational benefits to adults, seniors, children, and families in need
  • Building Communities by fostering a new generation of community-minded adults through resourceful and mutually beneficial partnerships among students, social service agencies, businesses, and universities

Campus Kitchen at Augsburg focuses on four aspects of food justice: Food to Share (free meals, on-campus food shelf, and gleaning), Food to Grow (community garden), Food to Buy (farmers market), and Food to Know (food education).

Interested in learning more about the work of Campus Kitchen through the Sabo Center at Augsburg College? Take a look at our website or check out our day-to-day on Facebook. And you can always volunteer! Contact Campus Kitchen director Allyson Green by emailing greena@augsburg.edu.

Sabo Fellow Rep. Frank Hornstein: The Use of Holocaust and Nazi Analogies in American Politics

Photo of Rep. Frank Hornstein (MN House District 61A)
Rep. Frank Hornstein (MN House District 61A)

When Frank Hornstein began serving as a representative for Minnesota House District 61A in 2002, he started to notice an unsettling phenomenon. From references to smoking bans to the conduct of teachers unions, Hornstein observed colleagues on the floor of the Minnesota House comparing a variety of issues to the Holocaust or to Nazi control. Nazi and Holocaust analogies, Hornstein found, were proliferating in wider American political discourse as well, with Nazi comparisons made in debates on issues such as abortion, climate change, and gun control.

These flippant and ahistorical analogical uses of Nazi and Holocaust terminology worried Hornstein. As survivors of the Holocaust die and there are no eye-witnesses left, what damage might casual use of Nazi analogies do to the historical memory and interpretation of the Holocaust? When we normalize the language of Nazism by using it in reference to a bill or political debate, do we lose sight of its horror—especially when Nazi symbols are being used today as genuine threats? What are the consequences for civil discourse when Nazi and Holocaust analogies are used, and when are they legitimately warranted? How might these references weaken democratic discourse?

Hornstein had an opportunity to explore these questions in-depth as a Sabo Fellow with the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College. Sabo Fellows are community-based leaders and scholars interested in exploring a question of public significance while engaging with students and the Augsburg community. In the past year, Hornstein’s time as a Sabo Fellow led to research, writing projects, and presentations about the use and misuse of Nazi and Holocaust comparisons in American politics, culminating with a public presentation and conversation at Augsburg College on Tuesday, November 29, from 2-3 p.m.

The presentation and discussion, entitled, “The Use of the Holocaust and Nazi Comparisons in Contemporary American Politics,” was moderated by Rep. Hornstein, and featured a presentation by Dr. Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, Professor of History and Director of the Undergraduate Program in Judaic Studies at Fairfield University. Dr. Rosenfeld’s scholarship focuses on the history and memory of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany in popular culture, and his scholarship provided a theoretical foundation for Hornstein’s exploration of Holocaust and Nazi analogies in the American political sphere.

In a fraught political climate in which Nazi analogies are on the rise, Hornstein’s research is timely and increasingly important for those who strive for a democratic society and institutions.

Missed joining us in-person or online? Watch the presentation and discussion from the event.

 

Cooking and building community with Campus Kitchen!

20160627_135606Hello! Kenani and DJ here, Augsburg Campus Kitchen’s summer 2016 Step-Up Interns. This summer we were placed with Augsburg Campus Kitchen for our first ever job through the City of Minneapolis Step-Up program. All summer we have been cooking and serving meals for youth at the Brian Coyle Center summer program. In addition, on Mondays we helped teach gardening, cooking, and nutrition lessons to Brian Coyles’ K-8th graders. The theme for the summer was Top Chef and each week we had a cooking competition and awarded three participants Top Chef of the week. Thanks to grant support from The Campus Kitchens Project, These students were able to bring home a bag of groceries and recipes to their families so they could recreate the meals with them.

IMG_20160818_120719This past week in Top Chef we had a salsa competition where students were given a certain amount of fake money to buy the fresh ingredients to make their special salsas. The students had to be creative in making unique salsa while still making sure they had enough money to buy all the ingredients for their salsa. The kids had tons of fun making salsa and many of them were surprised how good their salsa turned out. For instance, a few students challenged themselves by putting less common ingredients such as black beans or pineapple in their salsa and still ended up loving it! We were really impressed that almost all the students liked their salsa – we learned it is almost impossible to make bad salsa from fresh ingredients!

Throughout the summer we learned about a community that is different than our own. We realized how everyone in Cedar Riverside seems to know each other and how connected they are to their community. Even though we were out of our comfort zone a little at first we were able to make new friends and learn new things, not to mention becoming all-star dishwashers and building our resumes!

 

The Oz Behind the Curtain – Phil O’Neil: Public Achievement Coach

Phil

PA Group: Animal Rescuers

PA Project: Community 3k Walk/Run Fundraiser

Often times, the education system can be seen as rigid and formulaic, limiting the potential of young people. Phil O’Neil, a three-year veteran public achievement coach, knows this well. However, he sees public achievement as a way to break the mold and this has inspired him to pursue a career as an educator.

Continue reading “The Oz Behind the Curtain – Phil O’Neil: Public Achievement Coach”

R.E.S.P.E.C.T – Mukwa uses Public Achievement to encourage others to respect different cultures

PA Profile 1

Mukwa

5th grader at Maxfield Elementary School

PA Group: Culture and Diversity

PA Project: Multicultural Cookbook

Public Achievement creates free space where young people develop the power to take leadership in at least part of their education and impact the world around them. Students choose a community issue they are passionate about and work for an entire school year to develop a solution, using “everyday citizen politics” to work across differences. Throughout the process, students develop public confidence, learn how to organize and become leaders. Continue reading “R.E.S.P.E.C.T – Mukwa uses Public Achievement to encourage others to respect different cultures”