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Thank you Augsburg Custodial Workers!

The Augsburg community is grateful for our custodial workers and the critical role they play in keeping our campus safe. Especially in this difficult time, we thank you for the care you put into your work.

To Our Custodial Staff: The Augsburg community is SO grateful for every one of you!

Augsburg’s students see you and appreciate you:

Toby Reinsma, Student:

I would like to take this time to shout out Walid for his work in the cafeteria. He always greets me every morning with a smile, and I appreciate our conversations in the morning. 

Reiss Williams, Student: As a student that was helping run the Share Shop/Campus Cupboard, I am SO grateful to the custodial team for helping keep our space clean. Thank you for everything you do and all your hard work! 

Stephanie, Student: There was a custodian in the music building that always cleaned up the hallways in the morning. In the fall semester I would get up to practice and he would be there cleaning up. I remember asking for his name, but I don’t remember what it is now, maybe Jeff, but anyways I always appreciated having a cleaning music building! 

Jasmine, Student: I appreciate each and everyone of you for always being kind and positive when we interact. I know cleaning after so many students can be hard but y’all’s dedication truly deserves all the recognition in the world! 

Yamile Hernandez, Student: Thank you to our custodial team, for looking out for us. Not only now but all year! Thanks to the custodial team I have been able to move into a clean apartment. 

Ed Loubaki, Student: We are very fortunate to have a team who works with care and patience to represent the Augsburg image. The Campus Kitchen team is humbled and grateful for your stewardship in keeping Augsburg spotless. We appreciate you and your work very much, Thank you. 

Emma Scherrer, Student: I really appreciate how the sidewalks were always cleared so nicely after it snowed. I never had to worry about having to walk through snow on the sidewalks. It always amazed me how diligently the sidewalks were cleared and the quality of the extent of how much they were cleared. Thank you so much! 

Kelton Holsen, Student: Hey! Y’all are great, especially John. The work that you do is incredibly important and often unappreciated. During this time, you, and the many essential student workers, are what’s keeping the school afloat. As such, I strongly urge you to consider unionization and other methods to get the school to increase your pay and address the potential safety concerns associated with having you keep working. I believe that the student body would support you in such an effort. Keep up the good work. 

Zinnia, Student: Thank you for working extra hard during this pandemic (even though obviously I wish you didn’t have to)! every morning I wake up to someone playing music while disinfecting the bathroom and it’s sweet especially during this time where nothing else feels real. I’d be doing the same thing at work 🙂 

Anonymous Student: The custodial staff at Augsburg has been one of the nicest groups of people that I’ve come to meet. They’re always willing to listen about what you have to say and share what they have to say back. They’re also very caring members of the campus community and want what’s best for the students and staff. An example of this, was the week before Spring Break I was running the Campus Cupboard when one of the custodial members came in and told me to stay safe and take care of my health during this pandemic. Having never actually had a whole conversation with a custodial staff, that first conversation that I had was really heartwarming and showed me that they care for our well-being and want the best for us. 

Alex Pruitt, Student:

I want to say thank you to all the custodial staff members for dedicating their time in helping keep the school clean & safe from germs & bacteria everyday. I know in times like this especially it may be harder to have the want to be at work but you chose to stay & help & that means more than words could ever describe thank you! 

Ani, Student: Thank you very much for keeping the campus clean during this pandemic! 

Anonymous: Thank you Aunties and Uncles. We Love you! 

Brittani, Graduate Student: Thank you for keeping our campus clean and inviting! 

Augsburg’s faculty and staff see you and appreciate you:

Sarah Degner Riveros, Professor: We are so grateful for the work that you do to make Augsburg a wonderful place. Thank you for care-giving for all of us, for making the space that we work and live safe, healthy, clean, and pleasant. You and your families are in our prayers. We miss you and look forward to being back on campus again soon. With love and gratitude, Sarah 

Christina Erickson, Professor: Thank you for all of your hard work! You are also THE MOST FRIENDLY department on campus! All the custodians greet me with kindness and help at a moment’s notice. When my office flooded last summer I quickly had a custodian right by my side to help me empty my water-filled trash can, take items out of the office and suggest ideas for what to do next. I can’t remember the names of everyone I have met, but over the years your care and commitment to our organization have been very real. Thank you. I appreciate your hard work and the many ways we feel good about our work because of YOU! 

John, Staff Member: Thanks so much for all you do! 

Anonymous Staff Member:

THANK YOU to all the custodial staff who work so diligently to keep our campus well-kept and safe. Your efforts are always appreciated, and even more so during these uncertain times – you have stepped up to faithfully serve the Augsburg community. 

Shonna Fulford, Associate Director of Admissions:

I can not say thank you enough to our custodial staff for all they do; during this pandemic but also before. They all go above and beyond to make sure we are taken care of, our spaces are clean, and they always have a friendly smile to share. Those of us in admissions are fortunate enough to be able to work from the safety of our homes, while custodians are serving at the front lines, keeping our campus and community safe and healthy. They are the heroes battling at the front lines and we are grateful for their service, and honored they are Auggies! Thank you for all you do! 

Emma Bloom, Staff Member: Thank you for keeping our campus clean and safe! Aster, the Anderson Hall custodian brightens my morning every day as I walk through and we exchange cheerful hellos. Sharmaine and Ozkar are amazing too! Thank you to the whole team for working so hard to keep us safe and for being bright cheery faces at the same time. 

Natalie Jacobson, Campus Kitchen Coordinator: Thank you so much to every member of the Augsburg Custodial team for the hard work you do, always, and especially now. Special shout out to Eleni, one of the most kind, warm, bright people I know. It makes my day whenever I see you around campus! Thank you to Eleni and every member of the Custodial team. 

Karen Kaivola, Provost: I am so pleased to add an expression of my gratitude to this project. A highlight in recent years has been the annual custodian appreciation event that students organize in the Spring. We can’t gather in the same way this year, so I’m delighted to participate in this project. Thank you for all you do – both in ordinary times and in the extraordinary moment that is now! 

Michelle McAteer Head Women’s Hockey Coach: THANK YOU for all your hard work, sacrifice and commitment to Augsburg! 

Patrick Connelly, MSW Intern in the Sabo Center: You all are amazing! You are on the front lines of keeping everyone safe and healthy from a deadly pandemic and I so appreciate your work. Eleni, your cheer and smile in the Sabo Center is so valued and needed! Miss seeing you! 

Russell Kleckley, Religion Professor: We miss being on campus with you, but even from a distance, appreciate more than we can all that you do to contribute to our work and wellbeing. Please be safe and well until we all can be back together again. 

Judi Green, Exec. Asst. to the Provost: Thank you Sharmaine and custodial staff for the hard work you are doing to make sure our campus is safe for students during this time!! I look forward to seeing you on campus when we get to that point! Stay safe!! 

Stephen Jendraszak, Staff Member: Thanks so much for everything you’re doing to keep our community and students healthy and safe. Your work is amazing and so appreciated always, but in a special way right now! 

Keith Bateman, Staff Member: Thank you for your dedication to the institution, its students, faculty, and staff. I am constantly motivated by your work ethic and the pride you take in your job. The impact you make is not only felt by those on campus, it makes a huge impression on those visiting campus. Your good work impacts the institution in more ways than you may know. Thank you all! 

Sarah Griesse, Staff: I have deep gratitude for the work you are doing. Every day I hope and pray that you are healthy and safe along with your families. Thank you for all you are doing!!! 

Allyson Green, Chief Sustainability Officer: You all help Augsburg live out it’s sustainability values in so many ways: from dealing with the compost bags that we don’t always fill correctly, to finding things left by students at the end of the year and wondering if students can use them before throwing them away, to growing amazing things in the garden. I also appreciate your willingness to take time out of your extremely busy days to stop and talk and build community. Thanks for everything you do and for working extra hard right now! 

Helen Gutierrez, Staff Member: Honestly shout out to Sharmaine Murphy and her team! She is an amazing human being who is always trying to make sure to meet the needs of our community. It’s hard because sometimes we have very last minute cleaning requests or quick room turnarounds that need to happen but Sharmaine and her team always figure it out! Thank you all so much for all of your hard work and presence in our campus. You are truly our front lines and we wouldn’t be able to be on campus without you! 

Anonymous Staff Member: I want to say THANK YOU to all of our custodial staff for all of your hard work. You are the members of our community who are on the front line of this pandemic and I know that is coming at a great risk of your health and the health of your family members. I know our thanks is nowhere near enough of what you deserve, but I hope you know your work and sacrifice is not going unnoticed. I see you and your hard work. Thank you for keeping our community safe, and may God keep you and your families safe. Amesegnalew! 

“Every meal shift brings me joy.”

Because of the stay at home order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, student employees of the Sabo Center are writing about the work they do. This entry is from Ed Loubaki. If you would like to support Campus Kitchen’s work, feel free to donate through Augsburg’s donation page. You can designate your donation to Other>Campus Kitchen.

Hello, my name is Ed Loubaki, my pronouns are she/her/ hers. I am a first-year student and I work with the Campus Kitchen in the Sabo Center. Through Campus Kitchen, we work to provide food that is healthy and accessible. The Campus Cupboard food shelf is open every weekday, and it’s relieving for many Augsburg students that there’s a place on campus to access free food. Augsburg is quite fortunate to have Campus Kitchen because its students and surrounding comm

portrait of Ed Loubaki

unity get to enjoy meals and fresh produce together. As a Campus Kitchen student employee, I love that we work to reduce food waste on campus and address food insecurity in our community. Campus Kitchen at Augsburg works hard to not only care for Augsburg, but also for the surrounding community at Ebenezer Tower Apartments, Trinity Lutheran Congregation, and the Brian Coyle Community Center.

My experience at Ebenezer Tower and the Brian Coyle Center has been beyond amazing. It did not take long to bond with community members. Every meal shift brings me joy. Each meal spices up the conversations, and sometimes it’s hard to leave. Hearing laughter here and there makes the job extra fun. At Ebenezer, I get to hear stories that soothe me and help me make better decisions in the future. These seniors are like the grandparents I never had; they make me feel like their own. Brian Coyle, on the other hand, has this energy that is incredible. You just can’t turn from it. At times, my urge to do work with Campus Kitchen increases because it doesn’t even feel like work – it feels like a great meal with friends and family. I’m looking forward to the time when we can gather again in-person to enjoy food and conversation together.

Hearst Foundation Awards $75,000 to LEAD Fellows Program

Students sit around a table, smiling.
LEAD Fellows participate in a cohort meeting.

The Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship was recently awarded $75,000 by the Hearst Foundation to support the LEAD Fellows program. LEAD (Leaders for Equity, Action, and Democracy) is a Bonner-affiliated program that engages undergraduate students in public work projects and paid internships at community-based organizations. For two to four school years, LEAD Fellows work directly in the community to address social issues such as education, homelessness, racial justice, and poverty while participating in a peer leadership and learning cohort.

It is common for students in higher education to participate in community-based work through service learning or volunteering. However, for students who need to support themselves by working, a course that includes service learning or doing volunteer work is not an option. Because LEAD Fellows’ work in the community is paid, it allows for students to engage in long-term, in-depth community-based work who may not otherwise be able to do so due to financial constraints. LEAD Follows makes it possible for students with the need to work to make money while making a difference and growing as a leader in a supportive learning community. In addition, the cohort-based community at the heart of the LEAD program helps students to make connections with peers and mentors, builds students’ sense of belonging, and provides a setting to practice leadership.

Funding from the Hearst Foundation will support the pay students receive for their community-based internships, and will enhance the activities of the cohort, which includes twice-yearly retreats and bi-monthly gatherings. Thank you to the Hearst Foundation for their support!


Nonviolence – A wellspring of hope in a world in flames, a sermon with Harry Boyte

Harry Boyte, co-director of the Public Work Academy and Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy at the Sabo Center, will deliver a sermon this Sunday titled “Nonviolence – A wellspring of hope in a world in flames.” January worship at Prospect Park United Methodist Church explores the disciplines and possibilities of nonviolence, both from an historic perspective and as they intersect with us individually and collectively. This series is inspired by the insights of Mahatma Gandhi and the nonviolence of the Indian independence movement.

Nonviolence – A wellspring of hope in a world in flames

Prospect Park United Methodist Church

January 12, 2020, 10:00 a.m.


Prospect Park UMC is located at 22 Orlin Ave. SE in Minneapolis, one block south of University Ave. on Malcolm Ave., near the Prospect Park Green Line light rail station. Sunday worship begins each week at 10:00 a.m., with coffee and conversation before and after the service. Parking is available both on-street and at Pratt Community School, immediately adjacent to the church. For more information, call 612-378-2380, visit

Benefit Concert for the Victims of the 630 Cedar Avenue Fire

The Sabo Center is proud to co-sponsor this benefit, please join us.

630 CEDAR AVE FIRE BENEFIT with THUNDER BAND, BRASS MESSENGERS, BECKY KAPELL AND THE FAT 6, JACK KLATT, AND MORE Saturday, January 11 Presented by The Cedar, Augsburg University, and KFAI

The Cedar Cultural Center, Augsburg University, and KFAI present:

630 CEDAR AVE FIRE BENEFIT with Thunder Band, Brass Messengers, Becky Kapell and The Fat 6, Jack Klatt, Amjet Kemet, Tatum and Tessa, Ray Barnard & Clark Adams, and more

Saturday, January 11th, 2020 / Doors 7:00pm / Show 7:30pm

Standing Show

$10, $20, $30, $40, or $50

This is a standing show with an open floor. The Cedar always reserves a section of seats for patrons who require special seating accommodations. To request seating or other access accommodations, please go to their Access page.

Proceeds donated to 630 Cedar Fire Relief Committee. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

Can’t make it to the concert? You can still make a donation to support the families affected by the fire, here.

Cultivating Community: Augsburg’s Community Garden

Ten people in diverse garb sit on the edges of raised garden beds or at tables. Some are eating food, others are looking ahead with attentive gazes.
Gardeners gather for a meal and storytelling event in the garden.

Gazing out the west-facing upper windows of the Hagfors Center on Augsburg’s campus, you can’t miss benches, paths, and raised beds of Augsburg’s community garden. While the garden on the edge of campus has been cultivated since 2008, when the plans for the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion got underway, there was a distinct opportunity to preserve and re-imagine this unique community garden space. With support from the Medtronic Community Foundation, design guidance from O2 Design, and community-based input, the garden was rebuilt to make the space more accessible, inclusive, and visible. 

Throughout the design process for the new garden space, gardeners and Augsburg staff centered the enduring principles and goals for this vital community connection space: grow food, build relationships, and learn together. Two young people converse while sitting on the edge of a raised bed in the garden.The garden now has wider and defined pathways, clear plot boundaries, and a variety of raised and in-ground beds. 

The re-designed garden just finished its second season of production. With over sixty individual plots and communal growing space cultivated by residents of Cedar-Riverside and Augsburg staff, faculty, and students, the newly rebuilt garden is continuing to offer a place for learning and building community. 

About half of the members of Augsburg’s community garden are neighbors in Cedar-Riverside and Seward (six have a view of the garden from their homes across the street!), and about half are Augsburg staff, faculty, and students. Student groups, such as Hmong Women Together and the Augsburg Indigenous Student Association, tend portions of the communal gardening areas, and about ten students from TRIO Summer Bridge spent time learning in the garden over the 2019 growing season.

Individual gardeners are not the only people to utilize the garden; this fall, several professors teaching classes focused on food and sustainability are also capitalizing on the presence of the garden. From a history of food class, to a course on environmental connections to food, a chemistry AugSem, and a science of food and cooking class: the garden has increasingly become a laboratory for classroom learning on wide-ranging subjects related to growing and consuming food. Other classes utilize the garden in less formal ways, perhaps holding a class outside by The Loveliest of Trees, or sending students out for discussion as they walk the garden paths.

Natalie Jacobson and Allyson Green enjoy conversation in the garden. Another individual is in the foreground wearing a red backpack, their back turned to the camera.
Campus Kitchen Coordinator Natalie Jacobson (left) and Chief Sustainability Officer Allyson Green (right) enjoy conversation at a garden event.

During the summer and fall of 2019, the garden began to utilize the Food Lab space in the Hagfors Center for potlucks and food preparation. Chief Sustainability Officer Allyson Green, who oversees the garden, remarked that the first session of gardeners gathering in the food lab over the summer was the highlight of the season; people got to know one another and shared cooking techniques and conversation as they made sambusas. This season also saw a student-led storytelling event in partnership with Mixed Blood Theater and food activist, LaDonna Redmond. As gardeners and others are living into the new space, opportunities for connecting and learning with and from each other are growing alongside the vegetables. 

One challenge with the garden rebuild was impacted soil in the in-ground beds due to construction equipment. After the garden was initially built, gardeners were having a difficult time cultivating healthy root systems for their plants, requiring that all of the in-ground beds be dug up and the soil turned. Thankfully, dozens of students, several classes, and a few athletic teams answered the call, picking up shovels and making quick work of the beds that required turning.

When asked about how the garden fits into the overall sustainability commitments of Augsburg, Allyson noted that the garden is a visible demonstration of Augsburg’s commitment to caring for the place where Augsburg is located. By tending to our natural environment and building a place for community building, food access, and learning, the garden is an important aspect of Augsburg’s place-based and anchor institution work. 

An aerial view of the Augsburg Community Garden. A table in the foreground has food on it, and people are lining up to serve themselves.Allyson also noted her hopes for the garden. With twenty-five people on the waiting list, she hopes that the garden can continue to be a vital place on-campus for learning and relationship building that contributes to the well-being of the whole community. She dreams that the garden might be a model for cooperation and learning that can spread to other areas of campus, and even to other communities! 

As a space that requires the cooperation of dozens of people who all have different ideas about ways of growing food, habits of organization and storage, and different cultures, personalities, and life stories, the garden is a unique place for experimentation, building community amongst difference, and finding a middle ground. Here’s to a successful growing season and many more to come!

Sophomores: Phillips Scholarship Pre-Application Now Open

The Phillips Scholars Program recognizes and rewards private college students who strive to make life better for those with unmet needs. Applicants are challenged to think creatively and become community-service leaders.

A preliminary application is used to select two finalists from Augsburg University who will then develop a full proposal to be submitted to the Minnesota Private College Council for the scholarship. This will include a 5-7 page project proposal, official transcript, and 3 letters of recommendation. Staff members of the Sabo Center will help finalists complete their applications.

Applicants must be a sophomore during the 2019-2020 school year, and commit to designing & carrying out a large-scale project serving a Minnesota community the summer after the student’s junior year (Summer 2021).

Each year, projects must fit within a theme. This year’s application theme is “Addressing the Achievement/Opportunity Gap in Minnesota.”

Scholarship recipients receive $6,000 during their junior year, a $4,000 stipend while completing a summer project, and $6,000 their senior year upon successful completion of their summer project.

Last year, 3 of the 5 Phillips Scholar recipients were Augsburg students, and many Augsburg students have received the scholarship in the past. Check out the Phillips Scholar website for more information about current and former Phillips Scholars and their projects.

Deadline for Preliminary Application: Friday, January 10, 2020, 11:59 p.m.
Augsburg finalists selected to submit full proposals will be notified by Tuesday, January 14, 2020.
Full applications will be due February 7, 2020.

Phillips Scholarship Preliminary Application

Clementine, the Campus Kitchen van, has served us well. But it is time to say goodbye.

The Campus Kitchen Program has had one main source of transportation for more than 10 years, a minivan named Clementine. Our steadfast and beloved van (which was named by students) has become too worn to carry out our work, so we are in need of a new mode of transportation.

Vehicles are one of the best modes of transportation. Relationships are one of the best vehicles of transformation.

By the Numbers

This is some of what a van allows us to accomplish:

Six = the number of days each week Clementine is used to transport food, students, and staff.

100,000 = the number of meals Clementine has delivered to neighbors in need in the last 10 years.

27,996 = the number of pounds of recovered produce Clementine has hauled in one growing season from local farmers markets so it could be distributed to neighbors in Cedar-Riverside who have little access to fresh food.


Students holding meal packs behind van
Students on a meal delivery in Clementine’s younger days.

Help us Keep on Rolling

We know we’ll have to move on without Clementine, and when a van allows us to get so much done, we know we can’t go for very long without finding a replacement vehicle. Here’s how you can help:

Make an online donation.

Make a donation the old-fashioned way. Send a check to Augsburg University, Campus Kitchen Van Fund, 2211 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, MN  55454 Campus Box 10.



rusty broken down van
(This isn’t really the Campus Kitchen van, but you get the idea.)



Staff Feature: Natalie Jacobson

Natalie Jacobson portrait


In each Staff Feature installment, we ask members of the Sabo Center staff to share what they do, along with some fun facts. 

This post features Natalie Jacobson, Campus Kitchen Coordinator.

What do you do at the Sabo Center?

I coordinate Augsburg’s Campus Kitchen program, which works to make healthy food accessible in Cedar-Riverside and on Augsburg’s campus. We provide opportunities for Augsburg students to build leadership skills and connect with one another and with our surrounding community through food!

What is one social issue that is most important to you right now?

So many–it’s hard to choose! But at this moment, the horrific immigrant detention camps are top of mind.

What’s your favorite place on Augsburg’s campus?

Hands down, the Food Lab (Hagfors 108). If you haven’t cooked something in the Food Lab yet, you’re missing out! 🙂

If you could recommend one book, movie, or podcast, what would it be and why?

I love The Mortified Podcast, a storytelling series where people share embarrassing things they wrote as kids/teens. With so much heavy stuff going on in the world, sometimes I need to consume media that makes me laugh a lot. This podcast does the trick!

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?

Lately, I’ve been enjoying getting more involved with the Twin Cities Jewish community and organizations like Jewish Community Action that are doing work for justice through a Jewish lens!

What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

Passionate, goofy, affectionate.

What’s your favorite place in the world?

My great aunt has a house in Quebec, on a big beautiful lake in the middle of the woods. Spending time at that house, surrounded by family, brings me so much inner peace and comfort.

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

I’m working with the Campus Kitchen team to explore a partnership with Brightside Produce, an organization working to make fresh produce available at corner stores in food deserts. Campus Kitchen will likely be selling fresh produce at a low cost to help support Brightside’s mission. Keep your eye out for that this fall!

Who would you most want to swap places with for a day?

My amazing (way bigger than me) little brother Alec Jacobson!