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Augustana offers social justice microscholarship for second year

After a very positive response from students to its new Justice and Social Change Microscholarship last year, Augustana College will offer the program again for 2021-22.

This renewable scholarship of $1,000 a year was first introduced during the 2020-2021 academic year for new applicants. The college set a goal of 100 student participants but more than 400 students signed up. Of those, 53% enrolled at Augustana and they represented 36% of the Class of 2025. (International students were not eligible because of the timing of awarding financial aid). 

“Students need to come to Augustana ready to have challenging conversations and engage in constructive debate,” said Dr. Monica Smith, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. “This program aims to do just that and we found great success last year.”

The scholarship currently is available to prospective first-year and transfer students who complete an online four-part series of programs.

Presenters will include Dr. Smith and Dr. Jason Mahn, professor of religion and director of the Presidential Center for Faith and Leadership at Augustana. Alumni who are engaged in social change and seeking justice for others also will participate.

“We have discovered a unique opportunity to reward students for taking initiative in their learning and to engage their own curiosity before stepping foot on campus,” said W. Kent Barnds, executive vice president for external relations. “These students enter Augustana with a better understanding of a variety of topics that all matter deeply to the type of graduates Augustana hopes to create.”

The scholarship is available to prospective first-year and transfer students who complete an online four-part series of programs. All admitted students will receive an invitation to participate. 

The programming will include the following sessions:

• "Know Justice, Know Peace: The Theory and Contemporary Movements for Justice," with Dr. Smith.

• "Seeing Color: How to Identify Racial Bias and Move Forward Together," with Dr. Smith.

• "Deep Down in My Heart: Answering the Call for Justice and Change with the Liberal Arts," with Dr. Mahn.

• "Do More Than March: Leading Social Change and Seeking Justice," with alumni Lydia Ruelas Duran, educator; Colleen Kilbride, immigration attorney; Dr. Jeremy Hoffman, climate scientist; and Cameron Onumah, Amazon employee and former aide to California Sen. Diane Feinstein.

The sessions include a brief reading, video and a quiz.

Applicants successfully completing each of the four sessions will be awarded $1,000, renewable each year at Augustana for up to four years and a total of $4,000. To be eligible, students must complete all segments by Dec. 10, 2021. 

“Last year was a strong affirmation that students seeking the type of education Augustana provides thrive off of learning and scholarship opportunities like this microscholarship,” said Emma Adebayo, director of admissions. “They are passionate about social justice, social change, criminal justice reform, marriage equality, food and housing security, climate justice, and economic security.”

Barnds said the new scholarship presents an opportunity for donors as well as students.

"We know alumni, parents, corporate partners and other friends of the college have deep interests in matters of civility, justice and social change, so we will invite them to consider sponsoring one or more of these microscholarships," he said.

Donors can make a multi-year commitment of $1,000, for the four years a specific student is enrolled at Augustana. Those interested in donating to the scholarship or learning more may contact W. Kent Barnds, 309-794-7662.


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