On July 10-12, 2019, the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg University hosted the Place-Based Justice Network for its annual Summer Institute.
The gathering is an essential learning and networking opportunity for the Place-Based Justice Network, a group of twenty member institutions that are committed to transforming higher education and our communities by deconstructing systems of oppression through place-based community engagement with a racial justice lens.
Place-based community engagement is a focused approach to university-community engagement that emphasizes long-term, university-wide engagement in community partnerships in a clearly defined geographic area, and focuses equally on campus and community impact. Engaging with stakeholders from across the university and neighborhood community, a place-based approach aims to enact real and meaningful social change through partnership and co-creative work.
While the PBJN has held annual Summer Institutes since 2014, 2019 marks only the second year that the Summer Institute has taken place at an institution other than Seattle University. In 2018, the Summer Institute was held at Loyola University Baltimore, and in 2019, it was held at Augsburg University.
The two-and-a-half-day conference was packed with opportunities for learning and networking with local and national leaders and scholars in place-based community engagement. Some highlights included:
Welcoming remarks by Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow, and an introduction to Minneapolis and Cedar-Riverside with Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of CAIR-MN.
Keynote address with Dr. Tania Mitchell, Associate Professor of Higher Education at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Mitchell’s scholarship focuses on service-learning as a critical pedagogy to explore civic identity, social justice, student learning, race and racism, and community practice.
“Nothing About Us, Without Us, is For Us,” a panel discussion with Avi Viswanathan of Nexus Community Engagement Institute and Tyler Sit of New City Church, moderated by Rachel Svanoe Moynihan of the Sabo Center.
Site visits to community partners in Cedar-Riverside, including Sisterhood Boutique, the Cedar Cultural Center, Brian Coyle Community Center, and Health Commons.
Workshops with presenters from participants on topics ranging from community voice, local purchasing and hiring, school-university partnerships, and more!
Racial healing discussions and group circles.
A wonderful evening reception sponsored by the McKnight Foundation.
The Institute was a rich opportunity for learning and connecting with our colleagues from across the country. Some of the Augsburg team’s takeaways included:
The importance of centering community voice. This work takes constant attentiveness and intention.
Every institution is in a different place with this work–and that’s ok! There is so much to learn from where different universities and communities are in the partnership building process, and all of the successes and failures they’ve experienced. Learning from our colleagues from across the country has allowed us in the Sabo Center to view our place-based work in Cedar-Riverside with fresh eyes.
Interested in learning more about Augsburg’s place-based community engagement? Visit the Engaging Community page on the Sabo Center website, and contact us to learn more.
Special thanks to the McKnight Foundation for their support.
Sisterhood Boutique is a small thrift store with a big heart.
Located across the street from the Augsburg University campus, the Sisterhood Boutique stands as a symbol of empowerment for women. Started by young women who lived in Cedar-Riverside, the Sisterhood is described by shoppers as the “hidden gem” of the West Bank neighborhood. Donated clothing and jewelry is sold in a polished retail space, with all sales go towards a leadership program designed to help young women prepare for a career. The program includes various paid internships at the boutique where interns learn the skill sets necessary to run a business and become an entrepreneur. Augsburg students in the Sabo Center’s LEAD Fellows program have also worked at the Sisterhood.
One of the main events at the Sisterhood Boutique is their annual pop up fashion show. It is a collaborative, student-run event. Augsburg students, along with students from the U of M and St. Kate’s come together to coordinate the venue, models, and decorations, and to design the outfits. In the past, all items at the show were donated or altered by a fashion class at St. Kate’s. This year’s fashion show is coming up soon on Tuesday, March 5th, 2019, at the Augsburg University Hoversten Chapel, located in Foss Center. Doors open at 6, and the show begins at 7. Everyone is welcome, and the event is free of charge. Attendees are encouraged to bring along gently used clothing items to donate to the Sisterhood!
Hello! Kenani and DJ here, Augsburg Campus Kitchen’s summer 2016 Step-Up Interns. This summer we were placed with Augsburg Campus Kitchen for our first ever job through the City of Minneapolis Step-Up program. All summer we have been cooking and serving meals for youth at the Brian Coyle Center summer program. In addition, on Mondays, we helped teach gardening, cooking, and nutrition lessons to Brian Coyles’ K-8th graders. The theme for the summer was Top Chef and each week we had a cooking competition and awarded three participants Top Chef of the week. Thanks to grant support from The Campus Kitchens Project, These students were able to bring home a bag of groceries and recipes to their families so they could recreate the meals with them.
This past week in Top Chef we had a salsa competition where students were given a certain amount of fake money to buy the fresh ingredients to make their special salsas. The students had to be creative in making unique salsa while still making sure they had enough money to buy all the ingredients for their salsa. The kids had tons of fun making salsa and many of them were surprised how good their salsa turned out. For instance, a few students challenged themselves by putting less common ingredients such as black beans or pineapple in their salsa and still ended up loving it! We were really impressed that almost all the students liked their salsa – we learned it is almost impossible to make bad salsa from fresh ingredients!
Throughout the summer we learned about a community that is different than our own. We realized how everyone in Cedar-Riverside seems to know each other and how connected they are to their community. Even though we were out of our comfort zone a little at first we were able to make new friends and learn new things, not to mention becoming all-star dishwashers and building our resumes!
Whether you’ve been gardening for 50 years or you’ve never touched a seed in your life, we welcome you to join us this season in the Augsburg Community Garden! Since 2008, we have given students, staff, faculty, neighbors, and community organizations an opportunity to learn and grow their own fresh produce. The Augsburg Community Garden has four main goals: to provide a space for the community to come and learn together; beautify the neighborhood and campus; provide growing space for those without it; and to assist gardeners in providing themselves a healthy diet. If you or someone you know would like to be a part of this community this season, visit the Campus Kitchen website to learn more and apply for a plot.