Hurricane Harvey – An open letter to our students, staff, faculty, and alumni

Hurricane Harvey continues to pummel Southeast Texas and now Western Louisiana.  Images of families in boats, or wading through waist deep water move us to ask, “how can we help?”. We are told that the recovery from Hurricane Harvey will take months if not years.  During the early stages of a disaster relief effort the best way to support Texas’ relief effort is to offer financial support.  In the coming weeks, we will learn of other ways to support the communities and victims of this major disaster.  However, if you are able and are interested in providing financial support we have put together a list of valuable websites that will help guide your decision.

Charity Navigator is a non profit organization that provides information on a wide list of national and local charities. Charity Navigator has published a list of charities that are directly involved with the relief effort in South Texas.  This list is updated periodically.

Below is a short list of non-profit charities that are currently involved in the relief effort in South Texas.

Texas Diaper Bank

American Red Cross

NECHAMA:Jewish response to disaster is a Minneapolis based relief organization preparing to send a self sustaining relief team to South Texas.

Islamic Relief USA

Lutheran Disaster Response

Give by phone at 800-638-3522 or online

Or send check to ELCA at P.O. Box 1809, Merrifield, VA 22116-8009

Write “Hurricane Response – United States” on your check memo line.



Food, Justice, and Sustainability in Mexico

Environmental and community sustainability has been central to the mission of the Center for Global Education and Experience (CGEE) since the beginning, and students not only explore issues through coursework and but live out the commitment through daily life on campus and in the community.

This spring break, eleven Augsburg students experienced that reality in during the inaugural “Food, Justice, and Sustainability in Mexico” course, earning credit for SWK 210 or POL 160.

At the CGEE Cuernavaca campus, students talked with staff and community leaders about the complexities of local and global food systems, illustrated most poignantly for students during a trip to Amatlan, a Nahua indigenous village. Walking through a milpa (corn, bean, squash field) and hearing stories of how culture, religion, socio-political factors, and economics influence agriculture gave students a lot to reflect on before they joined other CGEE semester students from Augsburg and Oberlin College and headed to Vía Orgánica, an agroecological farm in San Miguel de Allende. At the farm, head farmer Antonio highlighted growing techniques that are based on ecological principles, utilizing both local knowledge and research to grow organic food, educate others, and provide jobs that pay a living wage. Despite some illnesses and unexpected events, the students were incredibly reflective and engaged, using the experience to connect what they were learning to what they had learned on campus before leaving, what they know from other classes and their own experiences, and what they are hearing from dominant narratives about food, sustainability, NAFTA, and even immigration. Each student was more motivated to practice sustainability in their own lives upon returning, though none of them will be able to keep using the dry composting toilets like at the CGEE Cuernavaca campus (when can we get these in Minneapolis?!). They are also eager to continue exploring how to work for change in complex systems of inequity. As one student reflected, “The impact about hearing different ways of farming in Mexico and different struggles that farmers face in Mexico has shaped into more motivation for me to do work in terms of food justice and food sovereignty.”


Students exploring nature in Mexico
Students studying social work and environmental sustainability in Mexico