On Thursday, Sept. 24, students at Augustana College led Vigil for Lives Lost to grieve the lives of those lost at the hands of injustice, especially this past summer.
The vigil was held nearly a week after the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The college said this event made it “increasingly apparent that students need to be prepared to have difficult but meaningful conversations as they head into college,” adding that they’re “recognizing a need for more discussion and understanding of justice of all kinds in order to influence change in this divisive world.”
That’s why they’re taking action to prepare students to take part in deep dialogue before they even arrive on campus by offering a new Justice and Social Change Microscholarship.
“We want students to be prepared from day one to talk about challenges and engage in constructive dialogue and to welcome that participation,” said Dr. Monica Smith, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Augustana. “We think, by offering this program to applicants, we can get a jump-start on the important work we are doing here.”
The microscholarship was announced today and is available to students applying for fall 2021 admission.
Prospective first-year and transfer students who successfully complete an online four-part series of programs will be awarded $1,000, renewable each year at Augustana College for up to four years, and a total of $4,000.
“We are especially interested in helping our prospective students learn about the many movements for justice and social change, including criminal justice reform, marriage equality, the Poor People’s Campaign, food and housing security, climate justice and economics security,” said W. Kent Barnds, Executive Vice President for External Relations. “Justice movements are universal, but not always fully understood. At Augustana College, we want to do a little sense-making and connect this sense-making to a rigorous liberal arts education, and a life lived with purpose.”
The programming will include a brief reading, video and quiz for each of the following segments:
Part One: Know justice, know peace: the theory and contemporary movements for justice
Featuring: Dr. Monica Smith
Part Two: Seeing color: how to identify racial justice and bias and move forward together
Featuring Dr. Monica Smith
Part Three: Deep down in my heart: answering the call for justice and change with the liberal arts
Featuring Dr. Jason Mah, Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Presidential Center for Faith and Leadership
Part Four: Do more than march: leading social change and seeking justice
The fourth part will feature four alumni engaged in social change and seeking justice for others. The alumni participants are:
- Lydia Ruelus Duran, educator
- Colleen Kilbridge, immigration attorney
- Dr. Jeremy Hoffman, climate scientist
- Cameron Onumah, Amazon and former aide to California Senator Diane Fienstien.
Beginning Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, this special scholarship opportunity will be available to students applying for the fall 2021 term. To be eligible, a student must complete all segments by Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020.
“We are so excited about this opportunity for our applicants to begin thinking about difficult issues and learning how a place like Augustana is inviting the rigorous debate and discussion that our world needs right now,” said Karen Dahlstrom, Executive Director of Admissions. “And the featured speakers are amazing. They will showcase just how Augustana propels graduates into careers that allow them to make a difference in the world.”
Barnds says the new scholarship is far more than a symbol and that “Augustana is serious about confronting injustice.”
“This is an opportunity to engage donors as well,” he said. “We know alumni, parents, corporate partners and other friends of the college are engaged in matters of justice and social change, and they will be invited to consider sponsoring one of these microscholarships for a student.”
Donors can make a multi-year commitment of $1,000 for the four years a student is enrolled at Augustana College. Donations will be passed on directly to students.
“In a moment in time where discussions about complex issues are reduced to memes and social media posts, we want to remind people that discussion, dialogue and debate are among the cornerstones of a liberal arts education,” said Barnds. “We think we have an opportunity to have mature conversation about difficult issues in a way similar to how the late Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg and Scalia are said to have had, but focusing on justice and social change and preparing prospective students before they arrive on campus.”
More information about Augustana College is here.