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Spirit of MLK Awards honor faculty, students

MLK_awardSocial Work professor Nancy Rodenborg and the Coalition for Student Activism (CSA) were the recipients of the 2008 Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards. The winners received their awards at the luncheon on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21.

Rodenborg, associate professor and field coordinator of the Social Work bachelor’s degree program, focuses her professional work in preparing students to become culturally-competent social workers. She teaches Diversity and Oppression in Professional Practice, exploring the issues of diversity and social inequality that social workers encounter in their practice.

In the Master of Social Work program, Rodenborg piloted Intergroup Dialogue, a practice engaging students in intentionally diverse dialogue group sessions focusing on race and class that facilitate their development of cultural competence.

In her work outside of Augsburg. Rodenborg actively advocates against the U.S. war in Iraq and participates in her local political caucus. As a board member of the African American Adoption Agency, she advocates for African American youth in foster care.

The letter of recommendation for the award from her faculty colleagues states that Rodenborg “speaks for justice with a voice of kindness and a focus on education and learning.”

Augsburg’s Coalition for Student Activism is a group of students who form a consistent and adamant voice for causes of peace, justice, and global equity.

During the fall, CSA initiated the following activities:

  • Hosted a public forum on the Iraq War, with invited guest panelists from the Minnesota Chapter of the Iraq Veterans Against the War.
  • Hosted an afternoon teach-in about the Iraq War and U.S. militarism for hundreds of high school students participating in Youth Against War and Racism’s protest in November.
  • Organized discussion and activities around issues of immigration in the U.S.
  • Secured fair trade coffee at catered events and food service venues at Augsburg.
  • Organized an 18-student group for protest and vigil at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly School of the Americas) in Ft. Benning, Ga.

CSA president Emily Jensen and vice president Anna Baker accepted the award for the coalition. Other current, active members include Haley Bower, Erin Olsen, Hannah Glusenkamp, Travis Skoog, Yas Sajady, Molly Ehling, and Josh Bowman.

The Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Awards are presented annually in conjunction with the MLK Convocation to a faculty or staff person and a student or student group who through their life and work have promoted peace, love, humility, integrity, and honor while working with others.

The last of the Trumpet Talk discussions, following up on the work of King in The Trumpet of Conscience, will take place on Feb. 11, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Minneapolis Room.

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