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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.”

Congratulations to Auggies Named to the 2022 Summer Dean’s List

University SealMore than 50 Augsburg University undergraduate students were named to the 2022 Summer Semester Dean’s List. The Augsburg University Dean’s List recognizes those full-time students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.50 or higher and those part-time students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.75 or higher in a given term.

View the 2022 Summer Semester Dean’s List.

Students who wish to notify their hometown newspapers of their achievement can do so at their discretion using a news announcement template.

Center for Global Education and Experience Expands to Northern Ireland

A group of nine students look out over a valley with their arms around each other and their backs to the cameraStudents study abroad for many different reasons. For those who are passionate about social justice, Augsburg’s Center for Global Education and Experience (CGEE) has long offered unparalleled engagement with local communities in Mexico, Central America, and Southern Africa. 

Now that portfolio includes a fourth global site in Northern Ireland. 

In Spring 2023, CGEE will welcome its first cohort of students to a new semester program in the vibrant city of Derry–Londonderry. Based at Ulster University, the Conflict, Peace, and Transition program will critically examine the work of justice, reconciliation, and repair in relation to the history and legacy of the Troubles. 

“This program will give students a unique opportunity to wrestle with the question of building a shared future from a divided past and to witness the hard work of reconciliation after conflict,” said Patrick Mulvihill, assistant provost for global education. Coursework will focus on understanding the politics of the Northern Ireland conflict and the transition to a sustainable democracy. Students will also participate in internships at local peacebuilding organizations and engage in field visits to Belfast, the Antrim Coast, and the border counties of Fermanagh, Tyrone, and Armagh.

Augsburg CGEE programs are open to students from any undergraduate institution. Prior to its transition to CGEE, the Conflict, Peace, and Transition in Northern Ireland program—formerly known as Democracy and Social Change in Northern Ireland–was delivered through the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA), with the first group of students participating in 2002.

“After the disruptions to study abroad over the past two years, we’re thrilled to be in a position now to expand our offerings,” said Mulvihill. “We’re particularly grateful to our program partners in Northern Ireland, whose commitment to experiential learning reinforces everything we’re about here at Augsburg.” 

To learn more, request information, or apply for the spring semester, visit go.augsburg.edu/northernireland.

Augsburg University Announces Comprehensive Supports for Foster Care Students

Introducing Augsburg Family Scholars with campus photo in the backgroundAugsburg University is launching a new program to beat the odds for students with foster care backgrounds. With funding for the program’s initial year from the Sauer Family Foundation, the Augsburg Family Scholars program aims to reduce students’ financial vulnerabilities, nurture their academic progress, and build community throughout their college journey.

“Students with foster care backgrounds have extraordinary strengths and capabilities. But because of the opportunity gap, less than three percent of youth who age out of foster care will earn a college degree,” said Tim Pippert, the Joel Torstenson endowed professor of sociology at Augsburg, who developed the program and will serve as its faculty mentor. “To help students succeed, we need to invest in meeting their unique needs for stability and community once they get to college.” 

Augsburg Family Scholars layers comprehensive support on top of Minnesota’s Fostering Independence Higher Education Grant, a new state initiative that covers tuition, room and board, and fees for students who were in the Minnesota foster care system after age 13.

Augsburg’s program targets the complex challenges young adults with foster care backgrounds face in higher education. Participants will have access to guaranteed year-round housing, support for food and other basic needs when school is not in session, help navigating public assistance programs, and access to a laptop. The program also seeks to strengthen a sense of community from the outset, offering help moving to campus and outfitting students’ living spaces, regular cohort events, and opportunities to participate in peer mentoring and leadership activities. Academically, participants will benefit from a dedicated faculty mentor and support to explore undergraduate research programs and post-graduate options.

“College is a privilege,” said Justin Tverberg, a junior exercise science major from Hastings, MN, and a linebacker on Augsburg’s football team. “But my freshman year was the covid year, and it was a very tough time. I moved off campus sophomore year to save money. Then this new program came out, and I thought, I can get a restart on campus and enjoy my experience. Literally, my mouth dropped. This puts me in a position where I can go to college almost stress-free.”

“The state grant is a fantastic step forward, but cost is only one barrier,” said Katie Bishop, Augsburg’s vice president for student experience and success. “Augsburg Family Scholars is a promise to these students that their specific gifts and challenges are seen, valued, and supported on our campus.”

“The Sauer Family Foundation is excited to support the creation of the Augsburg Family Scholars Program to help students with foster care backgrounds not only make a successful transition from high school to college but also to complete their college degree,” said Colleen O’Keefe, executive director of the foundation.

This summer, the Sauer Family Foundation awarded Augsburg a $53,000 grant to support the initial program cohort this fall. Both new and returning students are eligible to participate.

Learn more at augsburg.edu/augsburgfamilyscholars.

Congratulations to Auggies Named to the 2022 Spring Semester Dean’s List

University SealMore than 850 Augsburg University undergraduate students were named to the 2022 Spring Semester Dean’s List. The Augsburg University Dean’s List recognizes those full-time students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.50 or higher and those part-time students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.75 or higher in a given term.

View the 2022 Spring Semester Dean’s List.

Students who wish to notify their hometown newspapers of their achievement can do so at their discretion using a news announcement template.

Alyssa Parkhurst ’23 Named 2022 Udall Scholar

Alyssa ParkhurstAlyssa Parkhurst, a senior majoring in environmental studies and American Indian studies, has been named a 2022 Udall Scholar. Only 55 students across the United States are selected each year, and Parkhurst is only the second Auggie ever to have received this scholarship.

As a Udall Tribal Public Policy Scholar, Parkhurst will receive $7,000 and spend five days in Tucson, Arizona, at Scholar Orientation, where she will extend her professional network, meet other scholars and alumni, and learn new skills.

The Udall Foundation awards scholarships to college sophomores and juniors for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or to the environment.

Parkhurst is an Act Six Scholar, summer intern and farmer at Dream of Wild Health, environmental stewardship coordinator at Augsburg, oshkaabewis (ceremonial helper) to her Elder, Noodinesiikwe, and an old-style jingle dress dancer and educator. Congratulations, Alyssa!

Learn more about the 2022 Udall Scholars.

Augsburg University Honors Nurses for Excellence in Transcultural Care

Two headshots of dark-haired, smiling women. Valerie DeCora Guimaraes (on the left) is wearing a red-striped shirt. Jenna Nelson is wearing a black shirt and gray cardigan.
Augsburg nursing students Valerie DeCora Guimaraes (left) and Jenna Nelson.

Jenna Nelson and Valerie DeCora Guimaraes, two nurses pursuing advanced degrees at Augsburg University, have received the inaugural Nilsson Transcultural Nurse of the Year Award. Transcultural nursing emphasizes care in culturally diverse settings, including outreach to people who are underserved by traditional care systems and who exist outside of the social mainstream. The award is named for professor emerita Beverly Nilsson, who chaired Augsburg’s Department of Nursing and championed care for people living in poverty.

Nelson has spent the majority of her career working with marginalized communities as an emergency department nurse. While working to become a family nurse practitioner, she has engaged extensively as an intern and volunteer at Augsburg’s Health Commons. These nurse-led drop-in sites provide hospitality and care to guests from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, many of whom are unhoused or living with mental illness. When the pandemic closed the drop-in locations, Nelson joined a team making weekly food deliveries to local encampments. “Jenna truly accompanies people on their journeys, wherever the path may bring her,” said Health Commons Executive Director Katie Clark.

Guimaraes is the Mayo Clinic’s first Patient Experience Ambassador to work solely with Native American patients. In this role she works to dispel myths about Native American patients and educates colleagues across the Mayo enterprise about health disparities and spiritual care practices. She established a medication initiative to coordinate care with the Indian Health Service upon patient discharge from Mayo, developed a Native American family fund to address food and transportation needs, and successfully advocated to hire additional Native American Patient Navigators in Minnesota and Arizona. “These successes for Native American patients have not been easy,” said Guimaraes, who is pursuing a doctor of nursing practice degree at Augsburg. “It is my passion to help my people that keeps me going.”

Augsburg offers a comprehensive set of programs for nurses who want to advance their careers, including bachelor’s degree completion, master of arts in nursing, and doctor of nursing practice. Health equity and inclusion have been a major focus of the curriculum and experiential learning both locally and globally since the program’s founding. Augsburg’s doctor of nursing practice was one of the nation’s first programs to focus on transcultural nursing leadership.

Learn more about Augsburg’s nursing programs and Health Commons sites.

Advisory: Augsburg Celebrates Classes of 2022, 2021, and 2020 at In-Person Commencement

Augsburg UniversityAugsburg University will celebrate the classes of 2022, 2021, and 2020 at an in-person commencement ceremony at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 4 at 6:00 p.m.

Augsburg’s commencement ceremony reflects the diversity of its community, as graduates traditionally wear stoles and cords of different colors that represent affiliation with various communities and programs. Flags displayed at commencement represent sovereign nations of American Indian students and countries of the international students graduating in the ceremony.

Tickets are required to attend in person, but the ceremony will also be live streamed via YouTube. Follow the celebration through the hashtag #AuggieGrad on all social media platforms, where students will be sharing images of the celebration.

For more information, including accessibility information, visit the commencement website.

Augsburg Student Justin Holewa ’23 Wins Boren Scholarship

Justin Holewa ’23Augsburg University biology major Justin Holewa ’23 has received a $25,000 Boren Scholarship to study Korean in South Korea for a full year.

Boren Scholars study a wide range of critical languages, come from diverse fields of study, and immerse themselves in the language and cultures of selected world regions through study abroad. Scholarship recipients make a commitment to work in the U.S. federal government for a minimum of one year. Having recently completed a summer of research under the mentorship of Dr. Leon van Eck, Holewa envisions working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including on a plant disease called citrus greening.

An initiative of the U.S. Defense Language and National Security Education Office, the Boren awards focus on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study critical to U.S. national security that are not emphasized in other U.S. study abroad programs. Applicants are selected through a national merit-based competition that emphasizes both academic achievement and a strong commitment to public service.