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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.

Reggie Agyen-Boateng ’21 Anchors Hennepin Ave Public Art Project

A young man stands with his back to the camera looking up at a billboard photograph of a Black journalist with one fist raised
Photo via Instagram: @kusi_photos

Towering over Hennepin Avenue, the black-and-white photograph of a journalist with fist raised stops people in their tracks. 

The artist behind this complex, arresting image? Reggie Agyen-Boateng ’21.

Agyen-Boateng majored in sociology at Augsburg and now works professionally under the name Kusi Photography. He is one of seven artists featured in “It’s the People,” a public art installation in downtown Minneapolis coordinated by the Hennepin Theatre Trust. His portrait of independent journalist King Demetrius Pendleton was chosen to anchor the project with a multi-story billboard on 900 Hennepin Avenue for the next year. 

“My participation in “It’s the People” is my way of honoring the countless victims who have lost their lives to police violence,” said Agyen-Boateng in his artist statement. “It also allows me to give back to my community in a meaningful way after the suffering that Minnesota has endured over the years. 

“Working with King Demetrius Pendleton to capture his lived history in a single portrait challenged me to think about the complex layers and intersectionality of Black identities and lived experiences. This way of examining identity moved my work as an artist forward into new territory. It also became a way to document and truth-tell through images.”

Now in its fourth year, the 2022 project also features large-scale photos of theatre artists, arts leaders creating programming with youth experiencing homelessness, concert venue staff, Indigenous restauranteurs, student artists, and queer leaders. Learn more about “It’s the People” from Hennepin Theatre Trust

Congratulations, Reggie! 

APM Reports Project on Indigenous Students Features Reuben Kitto Stately ’22

The APM Reports logo is a solid red circle with a lowercase r and a period in white text in the middle.A new audio documentary from APM Reports highlights how four Indigenous college students are using higher education to strengthen ties to their Native roots and support their people. One of the students the project follows is Reuben Kitto Stately ’22. In his segment, Stately also interviews Associate Professor Eric Buffalohead, chair of American Indian, First Nations, and Indigenous studies.

“I was pretty dead set on American Indian studies by the time I was in 10th grade,” says Stately. “I knew that American Indian studies would help me fill in the gaps for all the times in which I don’t understand colonization here in America—how have Native people from all these different nations all become American, in what ways have we totally assimilated, in what ways have we resisted?

“For my whole education, I have known that whatever I learn here at Augsburg, I’m going to take back to my people. To me, it’s an act of resistance because you’re able to indigenize new space or you strengthen the space that your people are already in.”

Listen to Standing in Two Worlds: Native American College Diaries via APM Reports or the Educate podcast.

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 Alum Dua Saleh ’17 Plays New Character in Netflix’s ‘Sex Education’

Dua Saleh ’17 plays the new character Cal in the third season of the award-winning Netflix show “Sex Education,” available now. Cal is the first non-binary character on the show. Saleh has been written up for their new role in publications such as Newsweek and Teen Vogue. You also can also find an interview with Saleh, “Meet the Actor Playing ‘Sex-Education’s’ New Non-Binary Character Cal,” on Netflix’s website.

Augsburg University Launches Justice for George Floyd Initiatives

A new Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies department and a requirement that all faculty and staff complete diversity, Augsburg University logoequity, and inclusion training are among efforts at Augsburg University to combat systemic racism after the police killing of George Floyd near our Minneapolis campus. 

“We acknowledge the pain, fear, and trauma faced by the Augsburg community, especially our students, faculty, and staff of color, that was amplified in recent weeks but remains a lived reality every day,” said Paul Pribbenow, the university’s president.

The Justice for George Floyd Initiatives being planned are an important continuation of our ongoing work to build and maintain an equitable and inclusive campus. This work by Augsburg will be persistent, resolute, courageous, and integrated into everything the university does. The Justice for George Floyd Initiatives focus on working to heal our community, creating leadership and structures that make tangible change, and ensuring accountability for the work of undoing racist systems. These initiatives include:  

  • Funding an emerging proposal from faculty, staff, and students for a Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies department.
  • Completion by all faculty and staff of our robust diversity and inclusion certificate program within the next two years—and anti-racist training by the end of the fall semester.
  • Creating a scholarship at Augsburg in memory of George Floyd.
  • Establishing a fund to match donations from students, faculty, and staff to organizations doing important work, especially for Black-owned businesses and nonprofit organizations.
  • Expecting new accountability for inclusive, anti-racist leadership across the institution. 
  • Reviewing Augsburg’s major academic and administrative policies and practices with a special focus on undoing bias and discrimination and enhancing student success.
  • Creating a new blog-format daily calendar on the Equity and Inclusion Initiatives Department webpage that lists community events and volunteer opportunities connected to the memory of George Floyd. The calendar will also have a Google form available for Augsburg community members to submit information about their own events, or events they wish to have added.

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.

Augsburg alum Brian Krohn ’08 behind app to track coronavirus outbreaks

Brian Krohn '08 Photo: Star Tribune
Brian Krohn ’08

HealthPartners Institute, researchers at the University of Minnesota, and Modern Logic have teamed up to create the SafeDistance smartphone application and website, a new tool that helps users track COVID-19 outbreaks using crowd-sourced information from anonymous users. 

The free app sends notifications as users travel through high-risk areas. “As you’re moving around, you’ll actually see if you’re going into a higher risk area or you’re coming from a higher risk area,” Brian Krohn ’08 told Kare 11. Krohn is a project manager and entrepreneur-in-residence at Minneapolis-based Modern Logic and technical lead on the SafeDistance project.

Users of the app take a short COVID-19 symptom survey and then see a map of their neighborhood, as well as other neighborhoods. Data will not be used for-profit and users will not be asked for identifiable information. The app also offers tips about health risks and how to maintain social distancing. 

Krohn, a Rhodes Scholar, has been described as a “Minnesota “Genius”. His undergraduate research at Augsburg University led him to a “Good Morning America” appearance in which he talked about a process to produce environmentally-friendly fuel, which was later commercialized in the development of a $9 million pilot plant. Among Krohn’s creations are surgery tools, wizard staffs, a cycling workout app, the Soundly app, and more recently, SafeDistance. 

While the app launched recently in Minnesota, it is expected to expand across the country soon.

 

Read the full article on the Kare 11 website.

Click here to learn more and to download the app.

 

Related articles:

Pioneer Press

KSTP

Star Tribune

Augsburg Alumna Tanya Schwartz becomes Burnsville’s first female police chief

Courtesy of the Burnsville Police Department
Tanya Schwartz | Courtesy of the Burnsville Police Department

Burnsville Police Captain Tanya Schwartz was promoted to police chief this month. She will be the city’s first female chief.

She will lead the department’s 75 sworn officers and 19 civilian employees in the city of 61,000, the Pioneer Press reported.

“I am so grateful for the city’s investment in me throughout my career, and am excited to give back and continue our strong culture of service and excellence in policing,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Augsburg University.

See the full report at the Pioneer Press website.

The New York Times features Crescent Cove, a hospice home by alumna Katie Lindenfelser

Parker Graf with his family at Crescent Cove the day before he passed away. Jim Bovin, New York Times.
Parker Graf with his family at Crescent Cove the day before he passed away. Jim Bovin, New York Times.

The New York Times recently featured Crescent Cove, Minnesota’s first children’s hospice home that specializes in end-of-life care for families with dying children. Crescent Cove was founded by Augsburg alumna Katie Lindenfelser, who majored in music therapy.

The hospice is a peaceful place for kids and parents to spend their last days together, with a 24-hour watch of specialized nurses, aides, and volunteers. This idea came about when Lindenfelser was a music therapist working with terminally-ill children in an intensive-care unit. Many parents expressed interest in a hospice home for their own sick children so that they wouldn’t have to die at home or at a hospital.

The article provides insight into the lives of the families who have used Cresent Cove and how the hospice came to be.

Read the full article at The New York Times website.