Biodiesel: Fueling an Open Mind

As a way to further reflect on their experience with Campus Cupboard, polish their communication skills, and explore new topics related to food and sustainability, Campus Cupboard volunteers will be publishing weekly blogs this fall. Below, Oscar kicks off the “Food and Sustainability Series” with a topic he has been interested in learning more about. Check back each Monday for new musings from the students!

By Oscar Martinez (’16)

Last year, Minnesota increased the mandate from a 5 percent minimal biodiesel blend (B5) in its diesel fuel supply to B10. The shift occurred because biodiesel has demonstrated substantial reduction in particulate and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As the statue currently reads, Minnesota will be raising to B20 by 2018.

Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning substance made from oils and natural fats (e.g., soybean oil, and animal fats) that is reducing dependence of fossil fuels. If I was in the same mindset that I had been in three years ago and listened to these statements, I would be asking why the state is not aiming for higher biodiesel blends. Luckily (or maybe not), playing the scientist in college has opened my mind. Through lecture, lab research, and discussion, I have found that biodiesel and other renewable energy sources are not 100% practical. Continue reading “Biodiesel: Fueling an Open Mind”

Campus Kitchen Summer Update

It’s hard to believe summer is almost over – it feels like it just started for us! With a solid team of interns serving weekly meals, supporting the community garden, revamping our farmer’s markets, and teaching gardening and cooking classes, it was a busy but rewarding summer at the Campus Kitchen. We’re looking forward to keeping this momentum going into the school year… but before that happens, we finally have time to catch our breath and share what we’ve been up to for the past 3 months. Check out our summer updates below!

Food To Share

In addition to serving 60 packaged lunches to seniors in Phillips and Seward each week, we had a few special events at our Friday community dinners at Ebenezer Tower. Rhys led an “Easy Cooking & Eating” discussion with residents to share strategies on no-fuss healthy eating. Many thanks to The Campus Kitchens Project and AARP for sharing the curriculum and supporting these new senior outreach efforts! To celebrate Independence Day, we brought our most festive attire, some July 4th trivia, and pies graciously donated by Perkins Restaurant.

Picture1 Continue reading “Campus Kitchen Summer Update”

HE Engagement News #18 June 2015

Higher Education Engagement News is a periodic newsletter edited by Harry C. Boyte, Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy at Augsburg College, which responds to requests for updates and information about initiatives associated with the American Commonwealth Partnership (ACP). ACP was a coalition to strengthen the public purposes of higher education organized for the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act establishing land grant colleges in 2012, on invitation by the White House Office of Public Engagement.

 This issue discusses the new climate encyclical by Pope Francis, Laudato Si as a resource for the democracy movement in higher education.

 Laudato Si

Pope Francis’ contributions to higher education

 Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si, is a challenge to business as usual. “It is time to acknowledge that light-hearted superficiality has done no good,” Francis wrote. “We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it.”

But one might not automatically think of the pope’s encyclical as a resource for the democracy movement in higher education. In fact it provides two enormously important resources. Continue reading “HE Engagement News #18 June 2015”

Food Waste, Hunger, and You – By Emily Campbell (’17)

Recently, Campus Kitchen students joined peers from across the country at the 2015 Food Waste & Hunger Summit, where we networked, shared insights, learned new ideas, and were honored with a “Going Beyond The Meal” award.  Check out Emily Campbell’s (’17) reflection and call to action below, and stay tuned for more student reflections!

The United States wastes 40 billion pounds of food each year. 40 billion. That statistic is staggering, but it’s even more unsettling knowing that 1 in 6 Americans do not consistently know from where their next meal is coming. Some throw perfectly edible food in the trash while others go hungry. It’s a paradox: in a decade, our landfills will be so full of food and other organic material that we’ll have to start exporting our trash and yet there are still people who are food insecure. I could go on with statistics about hunger and about wasted food, but I’ll cut to the chase: What can we do about it? Continue reading “Food Waste, Hunger, and You – By Emily Campbell (’17)”

Should higher education reject elitism and return to solving real community problems?

In February, Harry Boyte and Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow were interviewed for a Civic Caucus Focus on Human Capital. Here’s an excerpt from the summary:

According to Harry Boyte, senior scholar at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, we must think of colleges and universities as more than a private good, more than a ticket to a job, but as a public resource. He believes that is the legacy of the land-grant tradition, in which there was a great sense of interactivity, partnership and collaborative work and university scholars were seen as grounded in the public problems of society. But he says that vision goes against the conventional wisdom of higher education today, where elitism has become common, along with detachment from community engagement.

Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow says colleges can play a critical role both in equipping students to go out into the world with a sense of agency, no matter what their profession is, and in finding ways to be part of the community.



Campus Kitchen goes “green” at Brian Coyle Center!


This semester, Campus Kitchen has been able to resurrect a practice that’s both earth-saving and cost-saving with the youth at Brian Coyle Center. A year ago, an intern created a reusable plate system to use with the youth, but the system (and plates) got lost in transitions through the summer and fall. Now, thanks to a donation from Seward Community Co-op, thoughtful clean-up skills from the youth, and a little extra elbow grease from our current interns and volunteers, re-usable plates have returned!

The youth are back in the habit of saving plates every day, and Campus Kitchen students have been able to use the dishwasher at Brian Coyle to make clean-up efficient and effective. These cheery green plates are now saving about 100 Styrofoam plates from a landfill each week!

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Cedar Riverside Youth Workers Collaborative.

Last week was the first convening of a Cedar Riverside Youth Workers Collaborative (facilitated by the Youth Coordinating Board), a collection of individuals who live or work in the neighborhood and work directly with young people here. This group, which we hope to host at Cedar Commons sometimes, will gather every month to discuss ways that our youth work connects, ways that we can collaborate to strengthen each others efforts and ways that we can support each other. There are many exciting ways that Augsburg students might be able to connect to the youth work represented at these meetings, and I (Rachel Svanoe) was there to explore the possibilities. Connectedness and collaboration is growing and we look forward to seeing what new initiatives will emerge, connecting Auggies with important neighborhood work!

Campus Kitchen Expands Outreach To Seniors


CK student leaders deliver senior meals with nutritional information
Sophomore Rhys Dilenschneider and freshman Xochil Martinez delivered a special brochure with nutritional information as part of our initiative to expand outreach to seniors this year.

Every Thursday, Augsburg Campus Kitchen students package and deliver balanced meals to 50 seniors in our community. Thanks to a partnership between The Campus Kitchens Project and the AARP Foundation, we are excited to expand these meal deliveries and offer new programming, including nutrition education and themed community meals, to further combat food insecurity and anti-isolation.

This semester, sophomore Rhys Dilenschneider is leading these Thursday delivery shifts and working on nutrition education opportunities. For our first foray into nutrition education, Rhys created a handout explaining the nutritional components of a pumpkin/yam/chickpea patty that sophomore Hannah Thiry and cooking shift volunteers whipped up especially for seniors. Next on the horizon is a collaborative workshop, where Campus Kitchen leaders and seniors at Ebenezer Tower Apartments can share tips and techniques while learning to cook an easy meal together.

Sophomore Hannah Thiry and the cooking shift crew prepared vitamin and protein packed pumpkin/yam/chickpea patties especially for our seniors.

One of our newer community partners, Common Bond Communities Seward Tower West, is eager to bring more of their residents into this program. Already, they have 14 residents on a waiting list to receive meals. Because Rhys and the other Campus Kitchen student leaders are on a tight schedule doing deliveries between classes, we are looking for a few more volunteers before we can start serving our neighbors Seward Tower West.

If you’re interested in helping us expand our outreach by volunteering or assisting with nutrition education, contact Allyson at And stay tuned to our facebook page or Twitter for more news from our work with seniors and other neighbors!

First Cedar Riverside Newsroom Cafe at Cedar Commons

Last Wednesday over the lunch hour, we hosted the first Cedar Riverside Newsroom Cafe at Cedar Commons. Newsroom Cafes, hosted by the Twin Cities Daily Planet in a different location each week, are opportunities for community members to meet with editor Allison Herrera, other staff, and neighbors to engage in a conversation about stories they would like to see covered in the Daily Planet. Ideally participants step up to help report those stories (this could take the form of an assigned article, a community voices piece, a video, a photo essay, etc.) but they can also join the conversation just to highlight important happenings in their community that deserve the attention of the press!

Just as the Northside Newsroom Cafe has been framed as an opportunity to counter the negative narratives about North Minneapolis and uplift all of the positive things happening everyday, this Newsroom will be an opportunity for us to shift the narratives about our neighborhood which is similarly stigmatized. This gathering is open to anyone who may want to write for the Daily Planet, learn about the story publication process as well as to anyone who would like to contribute story ideas for someone else to do a story about or just meet your neighbors! The first Newsroom Cafe included the neighborhood business association, a neighborhood youth worker and publisher, a neighborhood organizer and a student writer from the Echo.  The next one will happen on Wednesday April 8th, 12:30-1:30pm. Feel free to bring lunch!

Cedar Commons (2001 Riverside Ave. S, below Trinity offices, across from Afro Deli)

Breaking the Bahá’í Fast during Tuesday Night Interfaith Gathering.

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Tuesday night’s Interfaith meal, a celebration of the Bahá’í fast over delicious Persian food and tea, was the fullest interfaith gathering yet! Our Bahá’í friends shared their experiences with this nineteen-day fast, compared notes with folks who fast during Ramadan, answered the many questions that we had about the founder of their faith, the texts that Bahá’ís look to for guidance and, when the sun when down, we broke the fast with a few prayers and a beautiful song. This interfaith community is growing and if you haven’t come out on a Tuesday night yet, we hope you will do so soon!

This Tuesday (St. Patrick’s Day) from 6:30-8:30, we will drink tea and talk about the people that we look to as saints or honored spiritual leaders within our own lives or faith traditions.