A leader in the collegiate recovery movement for more than 25 years, StepUP® at Augsburg University is now poised to reach more students through new partnerships with Twin Cities-area colleges and universities. Minnesota Public Radio recently featured StepUP Director Ericka Otterson, Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator Nell Hurley, and Ethan Laugen ’24 in a story about the need for recovery support in higher education.
StepUP provides an array of support services for students in recovery, including sober living college experience in Oren Gateway Center, weekly meetings with alcohol and drug counselors, and access to a strong alumni network. With new partnerships forming post-COVID-19, including a formal agreement with the University of St. Thomas, these resources will be available to more students from across the Twin Cities metro.
“There’s no shortage of need, and students time and again will say the community has been the most valuable aspect of participating in this program,” Otterson told MPR. “So the larger the community is each year, the more opportunity there is for that.”
“This is my community,” said Laugen. “Instead of a student group or a frat, it’s StepUP. These are my people who get me, who understand me, who I get along with. And it has given me the college experience in the way that I needed a college experience.”
Najeeba Syeed, El-Hibri endowed chair and executive director of Interfaith at Augsburg University, recently shared her perspective of unity during Ramadan with Minnesota Public Radio.
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims place extra emphasis on spiritual disciplines such as fasting, prayer, and reciting scripture. Those who are able fast between dawn and dusk and gather after sunset for a communal evening meal called Iftar. “What’s really lovely about Islam in America is that we’re the most ethnically diverse and racially diverse religious community in the U.S.,” Syeed told Jacob Aloi from MPR. She also noted that Ramadan and Iftar meals offer a unique opportunity for hospitality, interfaith work, and peacebuilding, “which is based on food and breaking bread together, for sitting at the same table. It’s really hard to fight afterward.”
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.
This month, officials from Augsburg College and Anoka-Ramsey Community College launched the Auggie Plan, a guaranteed pathway to a four-year degree for community college students who meet minimum GPA requirements and who complete general education coursework on their way to enrolling at Augsburg College.
Donte Collins ’18 was named the “Most Promising Young Poet” by the Academy of American Poets this fall. His poem, “what the dead know by heart,” previously won Augsburg’s John R. Mitchell Prize, which qualified him for the prestigious award.
Collins is a theater major who is active in the local, regional, and national spoken word and poetry scene.
Collins told Minnesota Public Radio that he plans to use his $1,000 prize from the award to self-publish his first collection of poetry, a chapbook called “autopsies.”
Kristin Anderson — asports architecture expert, Augsburg College archivist, and art history professor — recently spoke with Minnesota Public Radio host Cathy Wurzer about the Twin Cities’ athletic stadium history.
The Vikings football franchises’ new U.S. Bank Stadium will celebrate its grand opening in approximately one month, and Anderson provided context on how the facility continues some local legacies while innovating in other regards.
Members of the Augsburg Choir sang backup for Barry Manilow during the Grammy-award winning performer’s farewell tour. The choir sang three encore songs with Manilow including “I Write the Songs,” “Miracle,” and “Copacabana (At the Copa).”
The Augsburg Choir was selected to perform by Barry Manilow’s choir director, Doug Hollenback. The ensemble is recognized for its high level of musicianship and performs a diverse repertoire under the direction of Peter Hendrickson ’76.
The performance by the students drew media attention from Twin Cities media outlets including:
Michael Lansing, associate professor of history at Augsburg College, was interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio for a segment that compared political movements from the early 1900s with the contemporary political landscape. Lansing is the author of “Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics,” which presents the history of The Nonpartisan League and describes its continued influence in the upper Midwest.
Lansing describes the League as a grassroots organization started by farmers who were discontent with large grain milling and transportation corporations in the region. He told MPR News host Tom Weber that The Nonpartisan League is the reason for the large number of co-operatives in North Dakota today, and the party was comprised of farmers who sought candidates that supported their platforms, regardless of party.
On February 25, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and retired astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, co-founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions, joined Minnesota leaders at Augsburg College to announce a new bipartisan organization, the “Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense.” The coalition’s members – which include leaders from across sectors and parties – will urge their elected officials to advance policies that help keep guns out of the wrong hands.
Giffords was wounded severely during a 2011 shooting that resulted in six deaths. She and husband, Kelly, have announced similar coalitions in New Hampshire and Oregon during the past several months.
Augsburg College PresidentPaul Pribbenow welcomed the event’s guests to campus and offered opening remarks at the press conference.
[Updated November 13] — The Augsburg College River Semester, created and led by Joe Underhill, associate professor of political science, departed from St. Paul’s Harriet Island on September 1. As part of the kickoff, the River Semester class was joined by a group of nearly 100 students, parents, high school students and members of the Augsburg College community who paddled in a flotilla of 24-foot voyageur canoes from St. Paul to South St. Paul. Students participating in the semester-long program will earn as many as 16 credits in the arts, humanities, and sciences as they travel nearly 2,000 miles of the 2,350-mile Mississippi River.
The River Semester kickoff garnered a range of attention. Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed September 1 “Augsburg College River Semester Day” and many media outlets covered the launch of the class.
Since the students and faculty departed on their voyage, print and broadcast media have been sharing the story of this hands-on, interdisciplinary program. In fact, multiple stories have been picked up by the Associated Press and shared through the AP’s member media throughout the nation.
A snapshot of the ongoing media coverage is below. As additional coverage occurs, it will be added to this post.