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NPR Features Alumna’s Work to Cool Urban Heat Island

María Belén Power ’07 was recently featured in a WBUR story that also aired on All Things Considered from National Public Radio. Belén Power is associate executive director at GreenRoots in Chelsea, Massachusetts. The environmental justice organization is collaborating with the city and Boston University to pilot a host of cooling strategies on a densely populated Chelsea block, from planting trees to replacing asphalt with lighter-colored material.

In addition to improving local residents’ well-being, the Cool Block project serves as a template for other cities as climate change brings longer, hotter summers, increasing health risks in urban heat islands.

“Some days we feel like—what?—are we really having an impact? Like, is this really going to prevent the climate crisis?” Belén Power told WBUR’s Martha Bebinger. “And then I think, ‘It’s no longer about preventing it. It’s about protecting the most vulnerable communities.’”

Learn more about the Cool Block project from WBUR or listen to the full story from NPR.

Augsburg Sociology Students Visit Holocaust Museum

Fourteen Augsburg sociology students recently joined the Jewish Community Relations Council’s annual trip to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Tim Pippert, the Joel Torstenson endowed professor of sociology, led the Augsburg group, who were also joined by a group from Minnesota Hillel.

“For us, it provided the opportunity to show how sociology is applicable in lots of different ways,” Pippert said in an interview with TC Jewfolk about the group’s experience. “So I asked [the students] to think about this trip and the experience in the museum, as how does their sociological training inform what they witnessed? How did the theories that they’ve read about, how does that play out in the symbolic representation of a horrific tragedy? How do you choose to tell that story? And what are the symbols that are used to tell that story?”

Steve Humerickhouse Featured in Forbes

Steve HumerickhouseSteve Humerickhouse, executive director of The Forum on Workplace Inclusion, was one of two experts featured in the article “White Men Are Feeling Left Out of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Why Should We Care and What Should We Do?” In it, Humerickhouse spoke about his experience as a white man who is involved in DEI work. “We are really all in this, but the white folks don’t always know that they are,” he said. “That was the learning experience for me…that I am a part of this.”

Based at Augsburg University, The Forum on Workplace Inclusion will hold its 34th annual conference, “Solving for X: Tackling Inequities in a World of Unknowns,” as a virtual event April 5–7.

MPR Highlights Jarabe Mexicano Residency at Augsburg Music Department

Jarabe Mexicano, a “bordeño-soul-folk” band with a passion for teaching and storytelling, will be in residency with the Augsburg Music Department from March 31–April 2. MPR recently explored the group’s roots in the U.S.-Mexico border region and their diverse musical influences, which range from Ritchie Valens to Los Lobos and Chicano rock. David Myers, Augsburg’s department head for music programs, was quoted in the article about the department’s goal to expand students’ appreciation of diverse music beyond western European classical music.

In addition to working with music department students and local high school students, Jarabe Mexicano will perform free public concert at Hoversten Chapel on Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m.

Listen to the MPR story, “Jarabe Mexicano: Troubadours and teachers come to Minnesota” or view a full schedule of activities.

CGEE Instructor Antonio Ortega Featured on Public Television in Morelos, Mexico

Student groupAntonio Ortega, a longtime Center for Global Education and Experience global faculty member, was recently interviewed on “Noticias de la Tarde” (Evening News) on Channel 3, the public radio and TV station in Morelos, Mexico.

Ortega discusses CGEE’s work in Mexico and the importance of the relationship between the US and Mexico, particularly for students that will go on to work with the Latinx population in the U.S. in fields like social work, nursing, and teaching.

Watch the segment on YouTube. To view English subtitles, select Subtitles/Closed Caption and then, in the settings, choose Auto Translate > English.

Professor William Green Speaks About Minneapolis Teachers Strike on WCCO and MPR

William GreenWilliam Green, M. Anita Gay Hawthorne professor of critical race and ethnic studies at Augsburg University, shared his expertise as a historian and former superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools in a WCCO news story on the Minneapolis teachers strike.

Green took part in two contract negotiations during his time as superintendent between 2006 and 2010. “The trickiest moment is to persuade constituents the compromise they may have to negotiate may not be satisfying,” he told WCCO. Green’s most recent book, “Strike!,” covers the 1970 Minneapolis teachers strike and will be released this fall.

Green also was interviewed by MPR for their March 17 story, “Mpls. teachers strike of 1970 changed education across the state.” Speaking about the teachers who were involved in that strike, Green said, “They are the pillars of middle-class society, yet they went out on the street, many of them had never done anything demonstrative like this before. Many of them had never participated in radical politics, so this was a culture shock.”

U.S. News & World Report Highlights Augsburg’s Community Meals Program

U.S. News & World Report interviewed Augsburg University Dean of Students Sarah Griesse for a recent article, “Paying for Meals at College: What to Know About Costs.” In her comments, Griesse reflected on Augsburg’s Community Meals program, implemented in Fall 2020. During a period of increased isolation due to the pandemic, the program allowed small groups to reserve a place in the dining hall, plan a special menu in advance, and build community over a meal with real plates, utensils, and glassware. 

“We saw the dramatic impact that COVID was having on mental health,” Griesse said in the article. “Students feeling isolated and not finding places to see and connect with others. … (Community Meals) made a difference in how people felt. The experience felt familiar, welcoming and engaging.”

Augsburg’s Gradual Ascent Project Featured in MPLSART.COM

MPLSART.COM logoOn January 26 MPLSART.COM published “‘Gradual Ascent’: Connection and Care @Augsburg_Galleries,” which covers a year-long project of Augsburg’s art galleries, during which different photographers have been taking over the galleries’ Instagram account. Gradual Ascent grew out of online gatherings facilitated by Jenny Wheatley, Augsburg’s coordinator of galleries and exhibitions, who was exploring how to restructure the galleries’ programming in response to the pandemic. Participating artist Khadija Charif told the reporter, “The blessing in a virtual gallery lies in the softness and privacy of each viewer. … I find it wonderful that I get the opportunity to show my work and let the viewer experience the work however they interpret it, without crowds.”

Salaam Day ’25 Awarded “Be the Change” Scholarship From the Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings recently awarded first-year Augsburg University student Salaam Day ’25 a $5,000 2021 “Be the Change” Scholarship. He was congratulated in person by Vikings linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr. An article on the Minnesota Vikings website, “Barr & Kendricks Meet 2021 ‘Be the Change’ Scholarship Recipient,” discusses Day’s scholarship essay and work for social justice.

Student Rueben Kitto Stately ’22 interviewed on MPR

Fourth-year Augsburg student Rueben Kitto Stately was one of three people interviewed for the MPR News show “In Focus: Sustainability in Indian Country.” Among other things, he spoke about the importance of language in maintaining a way of life, focusing his comments on his experience as someone who has been studying the Dakhóta language. “How far are you from colonial thought when you aren’t thinking in English anymore?” he asked.