ROCK ISLAND, ILLINOIS (December 8, 2020) — Recognizing a need for more discussion and understanding of justice of all kinds in order to influence change in this divisive world, Augustana is taking action to prepare students to take part in these important discussions, even before they arrive on campus.

“We want students to be prepared from day one to talk about challenges and engage in constructive dialog, and to welcome that participation. We think, by offering this program to applicants, we can get a jump-start on the important work we are doing here.” says Dr Monica Smith, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Augustana.

The microscholarship is available to prospective first-year and transfer students who complete an online four-part series of programs. Applicants successfully completing each of the four sessions, which will include a brief reading, video, and a quiz, will be awarded $1,000, renewable each year at Augustana 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 economic security. 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,” says W Kent Barnds, Executive Vice President for External Relations.

The programming will include the following segments:

Part One: Know Justice, Know Peace: The theory and contemporary movements for justice (Featuring: Dr Monica Smith, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)

Part Two: Seeing Color: How to identify racial just 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 Mahn, 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 Kilbride, immigration attorney;
  • Dr. Jeremy Hoffman, climate scientist; and
  • Cameron Onumah, Amazon and former aide to California Senator Diane Fienstien.

This special scholarship opportunity will be available to students applying for the fall of 2021 beginning on November 2, 2020. To be eligible, a student must complete all segments by December 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,” says 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 notes that not only is this this new scholarship program is far more than a symbol, saying, “Augustana is serious about confronting injustice.”

He says, “This is an opportunity to engage donors as well.

“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,” says Barnds.

Donors can make a multi-year commitment of $1,000, for the four years a student is enrolled at Augustana. Donations will be passed on directly to students.

Barnds notes, “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, dialog, and debate are among the cornerstones of a liberal-arts education.”

“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,” says Barnds.

Known for sparking passionate curiosity, Augustana College is an empowering home to explore over 90 areas of study. Augustana’s innovative program, Augie Choice, transforms students into global citizens, thinkers, and doers with a $2,000 grant to explore the world, complete an internship, or conduct research with a professor. Augustana students achieve a balance inside and outside of the classroom; ranking top ten in all divisions for Academic All Americans. Transformed to be different, current students and alumni include health-care heroes, Nobel Prize-winners, CEOs, college presidents, and leaders across all continents. The college enrolls 2,500 curious changemakers who get energized by four years as part of a community that reflects the diversity of the United States.

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