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COVID-19: Updates and Plans ›

43rd Annual Advent Vespers Returns In Person

Augsburg's Advent Vespers takes place in the sanctuary of Central Lutheran Church, with choir, orchestra, and packed pews.For more than four decades, Augsburg University has ushered in the Advent and Christmas seasons with Advent Vespers, a magnificent experience of music and liturgy, focusing on the theme of preparation and culminating in the joyful celebration of the Incarnation.

The 43rd Advent Vespers will be held in person at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis, with one livestream option available. 

  • Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 8 p.m. (open dress rehearsal)
  • Friday, December 2, 2022 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 2 p.m. (with livestream) and 5 p.m.

The event is free, with a suggested donation of $30 per person. Seating envelopes are required for entry and are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. They can be requested online, by mail, or in person at the Augsburg Music Office. Seats are going fast—reserve your spot today.

Shuttle service will be available from Augsburg’s Anderson Music Hall to Central Lutheran and back, with limited parking available in lot A on Augsburg’s campus. More information about directions, parking, and shuttle service is available online.

Environmental Advocates “Flip the Switch” on Solar Demonstration Project

Four students pose in front of the solar shed in lot B behind Mortensen Hall. One is pointing to the solar panels on top of the shed.The small crowd gathered by the freeway wall burst into applause as Professor Joe Underhill fired up a handheld sander. Despite the cloudy day, it was powered by the sun. 

The shed at the west end of Lot B attracted plenty of curiosity during its construction in the summer of 2022. On October 6, it was officially unveiled as a solar-powered demonstration project Underhill calls a “Unit of Resistance.” 

Temporarily located at the end of 21st Ave, the shed currently houses tools and supplies for the River Semester, the Center for Global Education and Experience program Underhill also leads. Both projects, he says, are part of an attempt to rethink higher education as something more hands-on and to empower students with a sense of agency.  

“In the face of huge problems like climate change and the student mental health crisis, what small steps can we take to focus on what we can do, instead of what we can’t?” he asks. 

The idea for a solar-powered work shed on campus arose last spring in Underhill’s The City and Environment keystone course. Inspired by the Augsburg Day Student Government’s 2021 resolution calling on Augsburg to explore on-campus solar and reach carbon neutrality by 2030, the class wrote a grant proposal to the ADSG’s Environmental Action Committee to buy solar panels. 

EAC funded the purchase of six 320-watt Renogy Solar panels, a 24-volt battery bank, and a power inverter. Underhill used other grant funds to purchase wood for the 8×8-foot structure, which features a roof slanted at 45 degrees—the average angle of the sun at Augsburg’s latitude. He and students built it over the spring and summer, and electrical work was completed this fall by Aaron Jarson, the Augsburg electrician.

Senior Zoe Barany says that, like the campus solar and carbon neutrality resolution, the shed is a tangible expression of students’ interest in advancing Augsburg’s climate commitments. 

“The funds for the project came from the campus Green Fee,” says junior Maya Merritt, who leads sustainability initiatives as the student government EAC officer. “With the Green Fee, we’re effectively taxing ourselves to support sustainability. If you’re paying the Green Fee, you get a say in where it’s going.”

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.

Augsburg’s Forum on Workplace Inclusion “Workplace Revolution” Is March 8-12

FORUM ON WORKPLACE INCLUSION The 33-year-old Forum on Workplace Inclusion March 8-12 is the nation’s largest workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion conference designed for national and global audiences and based at Augsburg University. 

This year’s Workplace Revolution-themed forum examines both the workplace disruptions caused by the pandemic and the disparities that were a focus of protests following the murder of George Floyd. 

The forum asks, “What will it take to start a workplace revolution that moves us from talk to action?” 

Sessions include “A Step-by-Step Guide to Developing and Implementing a Diversity and Inclusion Program,” “Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit,” “A New Lens for Revealing Unconscious Bias,” and “Cultivating Trust in Remote Organizations to Support DEI.” In addition, participants can take part in 90-minute small group coaching sessions and connect with others through a virtual marketplace of ideas.

More information and a registration link are available on the 2021 Forum Annual Conference webpage.

About The Forum

For 33 years, The Forum has served as a convening hub for those seeking to grow professional leadership and effectiveness skills in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion by engaging people, advancing ideas, and igniting change.

The annual conference is HRCI and SHRM Continuing Education Credit (CEU) eligible.

About Augsburg

Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more at Augsburg.edu

Augsburg President Delivers Hot Lunches on Annual City Engagement Day

President Paul delivering hot lunchesDuring Augsburg’s annual City Engagement Day, first-year students traditionally go in groups to work in the community to launch their Augsburg education. Students, faculty, and staff this year, because of the pandemic, were encouraged to engage individually with their local communities in ways that are meaningful to them personally.

Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow delivered hot lunches to people experiencing homelessness.

“This annual City Engagement Day, I had the humbling opportunity to provide meals and clothing alongside community partners to the people experiencing homelessness and surviving the pandemic in encampments,” Pribbenow said. “We are called, as Auggies, to be caring neighbors.”

The Sabo Center compiled a list of local opportunities for Fall 2020 for those looking for a place to engage.

About Augsburg
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more at Augsburg.edu.

Paul Pribbenow Takes Part in Panel Discussion on Racism

Paul Pribbenow

On August 13, President Paul Pribbenow was one of four leaders from the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities who participated in a virtual discussion on confronting systemic racism. The 90-minute discussion, “Where Do We Go From Here? Creating Lasting Change to Combat Systemic Racism and Inequities,” was moderated by PBS NewsHour journalist Fred de Sam Lazaro.

The panelists were asked to deal with hard questions. Will reactions to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor finally generate measurable progress? What do universities need to do to help lead change? What are we prepared to sacrifice? Will white people acknowledge that they cannot in good conscience maintain silence in the face of racism?

In response, Pribbenow declared the urgent need to respond to systemic racism. He spoke of the need for leaders to disrupt the status quo in hiring decisions. He said that as a leader he has been asking, “What are those things that we can do quickly that actually plant a seed, that actually will grow something sustainable for the future?”

A recording of the discussion is available on YouTube.

Statement from Paul Pribbenow May 31 About Temporary Relocation of Resident Students

Augsburg University logoAfter the unsafe events Friday night in Minneapolis, we made the decision to temporarily close residence halls on campus and relocate resident students outside of the metro area if they did not have alternative places to stay. That Saturday morning, it was not clear whether Saturday night would be a repeat of Friday, so we made an alternative housing option available outside the Twin Cities for students—including providing meals and transportation in compliance with our COVID-19 protocols. 

While this alternative provided safe housing for students, we understand some students felt they needed to remain in the Twin Cities and support their community. We recognize this, and yet our first responsibility was to provide for the safety of our students in a volatile, unpredictable situation—and we had to make arrangements very quickly, which presented additional challenges. I want to recognize the extraordinary work of our Student Affairs and Residence Life team who worked diligently to reach our 100+ resident students. They again reached out today to provide housing options and transportation to those students for this evening. I also want to recognize the ongoing and resilient leadership of the Augsburg Day Student Government, who took it upon themselves to provide information and clarification about the resident student relocation after misinformation was posted on social media. In times like these, to see students step up like this, truly shows just how Augsburg pulls together.

“Tienda” — A New Chamber Opera on February 21 and 22 by Augsburg’s Reinaldo Moya and Caitlin Vincent

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (January 20, 2020) — The Augsburg University Music Department presents “Tienda,”  a new chamber opera by Augsburg faculty member Reinaldo Moya and Caitlin Vincent on Friday, February 21 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, February 22 at 7 p.m.

This unique performance presented as a part of Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Celebration will feature a partially-staged opera by Reinaldo Moya with words by Caitlin Vincent. The cast of singers includes mezzo soprano Jill Morgan, as well as Dominic Aragon (-baritone), Matthew Valverde (tenor), Mario Ángel Pérez (tenor), and Bergen Baker (soprano). The production will also feature The Augsburg Choir and the Augsburg Orchestra. The stage director is Doug Scholz-Carlson.

The opera tells the story of Luis Garzón, a Mexican musician who immigrated to Minneapolis in 1886 and opened a small Mexican grocery store, or tienda, in St. Paul in the 1920s. While Luis had married an American woman and was fully integrated into Minnesotan society, his store served as a community hub for the newest arrivals from Mexico, many of whom had fled the Mexican Revolution and now toiled on the sugar beet farms of rural Minnesota. “Tienda” explores the immigrant experience: what must be left behind—and what cannot be forgotten—on the journey to a new home. This world premiere performance of “Tienda” is one of the highlights of Moya’s two-year residency with the Schubert Club.

For Moya, Luis’s story has personal meaning. “I had wanted to write an immigration opera for some time,” said Moya. “When my librettist, Caitlin Vincent, and I started doing research for this project, we came across a human interest story of an immigrant’s journey to and life in the United States. Luis’s story resonated with me because we both came to the U.S. as young men and remained here for a long time. We are both musicians, and we both feel a strong pull towards our home culture while simultaneously seeing the promise of the American dream, even when it fails so many.”  

Moya also sees the strong connection between the issues immigrants faced in the early 20th century, and the struggles they still face today. “Luis’s story is also one that is still very relevant in today’s political climate. We might think of these immigration issues as relatively new, but “Tienda” shows that we as a country have had a long history of reckoning with our heritage as an immigrant country.”  

Tickets for “Tienda” include two options: An Immersive Seating* option for $20, and Balcony Seating for free. Tickets are required and available for purchase online at augsburg.edu/tickets. All Seating is general admission. 

* Immersive theater seating includes samples of Mexican food and beverage to accompany the opera 

About Reinaldo Moya
Reinaldo Moya is a graduate of Venezuela’s El Sistema music education system. Through El Sistema, he had access to musical training from an early age and was a founding member of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra touring throughout Europe, North and South America. A graduate of The Juilliard School and a participant in the prestigious John Duffy Composers Institute and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Conce Composers Institute, Moya now lives in Northfield, and is Associate Professor of Composition at Augsburg University. Moya is the recipient of the 2015 McKnight Composers Fellowship, the Van Lier Fellowship from Meet the Composer and the Aaron Copland Award from the Copland House.

About Caitlin Vincent
Caitlin Vincent is an American librettist and lyricist whose writing has been praised as “nuanced and honest” (DC Theatre Scene), “intriguing” (The Baltimore Sun), and “luminous” (The Huffington Post).  Her opera “Better Gods,” with composer Luna Pearl Woolf, premiered in January 2016 at the Kennedy Center as part of Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative. In 2017, Vincent and composer Douglas Buchanan won the prestigious Sackler Music Composition Prize to fund a new opera about Bessie Coleman, the first African-American female aviator, and Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, the first female governor of Texas, for a premiere in 2019.  Other recent commissions include “Nullipara” with composer D. J. Sparr for the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and “Little Black Book” with composer Susan LaBarr for Carnegie Hall.  A classically-trained soprano, Vincent graduated cum laude from Harvard University and holds a Master of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory and a PhD from Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. 

About Augsburg University
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more at Augsburg.edu.

WCCO: Augsburg Student Leads Global Climate Strike Rally

Augsburg student Elan Quezada speaking at the Climate Strike rally in the Oren Gateway Center
Augsburg student Elan Quezada

Augsburg University student Elan Quezada organized a rally on campus for the Global Climate Strike where Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told students he stood behind their efforts.

“We want and we acknowledge that this is our fight – this will be our burden to carry,” Quezada told WCCO’s Bill Hudson.

After the rally in Oren Gateway Center’s lobby on Friday, September 20, Augsburg students traveled together via light rail to rally with others at the state Capitol.

Augsburg students joined thousands worldwide who walked out of offices and schools to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels.

View the WCCO segment.

Media Advisory: INSIDE OUT Portraits of 1,229 Augsburg University People Installed along Riverside Avenue in August

(Minneapolis) — Augsburg University is installing in August Each, Together, a Group Action of the INSIDE OUT Project, started by French street artist JR, that will include over 1,200 portraits. This installation in honor of Augsbug’s upcoming sesquicentennial will cover 10 campus building facades along Riverside Avenue.

Augsburg University's portrait wall
INSIDE OUT Preview

Members of the media are invited to Augsburg on August 6 to photograph the installation as well as for interviews with the project’s lead organizer Associate Professor Christopher Houltberg. 

Expected to be the largest such project in the Twin Cities area, these portraits will create a tapestry of faces that celebrate, recognize and honor the people of Augsburg University over the past 150 years. Each of the 1,229 students, faculty, alumni, and staff will ultimately be present together.

Installation will take four weeks to complete along Riverside, beginning at Foss Center on 22nd and moving toward 25th Avenue South. These buildings will include the Flower Shop, Maintenance Facilities, Ice Arena, Anderson Music Hall, and Foss Center. 

Founded in 1869, Augsburg’s year-long sesquicentennial celebration launches in September 2019.

On August 6, media members are invited to interview Associate Professor Christopher Houltberg and photograph or videotape installation as it begins.

For details, contact: Gita Sitaramiah, Director of PR and Internal Communications. sitarami@augsburg.edu or 612-330-1476.

About Augsburg. Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 10 graduate degrees to 3,400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more at Augsburg.edu.