Bing tracking

COVID-19: How we’re adjusting classes and operations ›

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!

 

2018-2019 Year in Review

neighbors eating at garden partyThe Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship had a whirlwind 2018-2019 school year. From workshops and lectures to community-based collaboration, campus-wide initiatives, and hosting a national conference, in addition to our day-to-day programs like LEAD Fellows, Campus Kitchen, and Public Achievement, this past year was full to the brim. We are thankful for all of our partners and collaborators in this ever-changing and exciting work. As we look ahead to the new school year, we are proud to share some highlights from 2018-2019:

Democracy Augsburg:

During the fall of 2018, the Sabo Center hosted 18(!) workshops and teach-ins on topics ranging from community organizing basics to the opioid epidemic, democracy in South Africa, citizenship and community agency, and more. Sabo Center staff invited candidates from across the political spectrum to campus for tabling and outreach prior to the 2018 midterm elections, and significantly increased our center’s visibility with students, staff, and faculty.

Student Employment Pilot:

Led by Sabo Center Director Elaine Eschenbacher, the Sabo Center initiated a student employment pilot program that worked closely with supervisors and students to make on-campus student employment more meaningful and useful, both for departments employing student workers and for students in their own career preparation. Twenty students and their supervisors went through orientation, training, and structured reflection throughout the course of the school year, and a report on the results of the program are forthcoming.

Environmental Stewardship:

The intern team of three undergraduate students, one graduate student, and a MN GreenCorps member hosted several events throughout the school year exploring the intersections of equity and sustainability, including a “Sip-Sustain-Stories” discussion series and a “Sustainability is No Joke” storytelling event facilitated by RFTP. In collaboration with Campus Kitchen, students began work to set up a campus “Share Shop”–a space created by and for students to reduce consumption, mitigate student costs by providing access to things like tools, and creating a community space where students can take part in informal learning around sustainable practices and skills sharing. The Share Shop and Campus Cupboard (student-run food shelf) are excited to co-locate in the basement of the Old Science building in the fall of 2019.

Campus Kitchen:

Campus Kitchen saw the exciting addition of two new staff members, LaToya Taris-James and Natalie Jacobson. The Campus Kitchen student leadership team deepened the Campus Kitchen partnership with the Brian Coyle Community Center youth program, beginning weekly cooking sessions in the Augsburg Food Lab and in the Brian Coyle kitchen. Another highlight of the year was a garden party event featuring local food activist La Donna Redmond and storytelling facilitated by Mixed Blood Theater.

Place-Based Justice Network Summer Institute:

The Sabo Center was thrilled to host our colleagues in the Place-Based Justice Network for the network’s annual conference. Read more about the PBJN Summer Institute it the blog featuring highlights of the conference. 

Undoing White Body Supremacy Pilot Project:

In partnership with Augsburg’s Equity and Inclusion Initiatives, staff members at the Sabo Center are leading a pilot cohort of white faculty and staff learning to undo the ways white supremacy shows up in our bodies, not just in our minds. Selected applicants will meet and learn together throughout the 2019-2020 academic year. This is body-based racial justice work, informed by Somatic Experiencing®  and Interpersonal Neurobiology. You can read more about this exciting project on the Sabo Center Blog.

LEAD Fellows:

The 2018-2019 LEAD Fellows cohort had innovative programming, including a session about radical self-care, a vocation panel of recent graduates, and leadership styles exercises, including a town hall meeting simulation. New community partners hosting LEAD Fellows this year included OutFront MN and Inquilinxs Unidxs. And, best of all, we welcomed LaToya Taris-James, an amazing new staff member who brings a wealth of experience in youth and leadership development to supporting both the LEAD Fellows program and Campus Kitchen!

Interfaith @ Cedar Commons:

Once a month, Interfaith Scholars and community members meet together for food and interfaith conversations on a variety of topics. Topics for 2018-2019 included Wellness and Faith, Intersection of Culture and Religion, Religion as a Tool for Oppression and Liberation, and Interfaith Perspectives Post-Election.

Community-Based Learning:

Director of Community Engagement Mary Laurel True collaborates with faculty across the University to connect their classes to community organizations and projects. Some highlights from 2018-2019 included co-hosting a national conference on Cuba with faculty in the Spanish department, and bringing Spanish classes to the Mexican consulate in St. Paul to learn about their work with immigration and new immigrant communities in Minnesota. In collaboration with Religion department professors, students completed 12 visits to diverse places of worship (mosques, churches, synagogues, and temples), connecting their visits with study of interfaith topics.

 

Interested to join us for 2019-2020? Check out the Calendar and Events page, and be sure to like the Sabo Center of Facebook (@sabocenter) for all the latest on workshops, events, and ways to plug in!

Staff Feature: Rachel Svanoe

Get to know the Sabo Center!Rachel Svanoe

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

This post features Rachel Svanoe, Director of LEAD Fellows and Cedar Commons Coordinator.

What do you do at the Sabo Center?

I have two primary roles in the Sabo Center, in addition to other Sabo Center initiatives that my work allows me to be a part of. First, I direct the LEAD Fellows program, a work-study/leadership program through which a cohort of about 30 Auggies work in community organizations and learn together about leadership and social change throughout the year. Second, I organize around the use of Cedar Commons, a campus-neighborhood collaboration                                                                                space on the edge of our campus that Augsburg supports!

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

To eat good food with people that I love! And to catch up about life.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

Reflective, spunky, genuine.

What’s your favorite place in the world?

I grew up near Powderhorn Park in south Minneapolis. Not only is it my favorite place to go when I need to think or be refreshed, but so many important moments in my life have happened there! Someday I want to organize an event where people tell stories about all of the major life moments that have happened in that park.

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

This year, I’ve been learning deeply from the work of Resmaa Menakem (“My Grandmother’s Hands”) and Rachel Martin (his mentee). Their work explores racialized trauma and the ways in which the bodies of those of us raised in this country carry the impacts of racism, whether we have a body of color that is targeted by it or a white body that is complicit in carrying it out. Resmaa and Rachel’s work provides a model for healing these deeply embedded patterns in our bodies and I’m hoping to bring this work to Augsburg, helping us to become a campus where everyone can be in more authentic relationship with each other with greater safety and less fear.

Name one spot in the Twin Cities that you consider a “must-see.”

Besides Powderhorn Park, I’ve really been enjoying St. Anthony Main and the Stone Arch Bridge lately. It’s a pretty magical place to walk around, in every season!