Registration now open for the 2021 Luther College Writers Festival

DECORAH, Iowa – Registration is now open for the sixth biennial Luther College Writers Festival, taking place Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24-25. Celebrating the rich diversity of contemporary imaginative writers, participants will enjoy in-person keynote addresses, craft sessions, featured readings and panels all led by well-known writers. 

“My co-director Keith Lesmeister and I are thrilled to be hosting this festival, since we had to cancel our 2020 plans due to COVID,” said Amy Weldon, co-director of the festival. “But COVID didn’t stop those seeds from growing and blossoming now. Perhaps I’m most excited about the way our speakers bring expertise as both writers and industry professionals. Every single author on our roster is someone whose work inspires and delights, and someone who speaks thoughtfully to the challenges and joys of finding a community of readers.”

Jennifer Acker, Andre Perry, LaTanya McQueen, Sejal Shah, Kristine Kopperud Jepsen, Nickolas Butler

Christine Pride and Maisy Card kick off the weekend in an opening session on Friday. The pair will share their experiences of working together as editor and author on Card’s debut novel “These Ghosts are Family” and Pride will be discussing her own novel “We Are Not Like Them.”

The keynote address will be presented by Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist Geraldine Brooks on Friday, Sept. 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life.

Other authors taking part in the festival include Andre Perry, Jennifer Acker, Jennifer Colville, Kelly Daniels, Kerri Arsenault, LaTanya McQueen, Lyz Lenz, Nickolas Butler, Peter Geye and Sejal Shah, as well as Luther faculty members and alumni and Decorah community members, including Kristine Jepsen, Margaret Yapp ‘15 and David Faldet ‘79.

To view the schedule and register for this event, visit luther.edu/writers-festival

About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.

Registration now open for the 2021 Luther College Writers Festival

Participants will enjoy in-person presentations, readings and panel discussions with well-known writers

DECORAH, Iowa – Registration is now open for the sixth biennial Luther College Writers Festival, taking place Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24-25. Celebrating the rich diversity of contemporary imaginative writers, participants will enjoy in-person keynote addresses, craft sessions, featured readings and panels all led by well-known writers. 

“My co-director Keith Lesmeister and I are thrilled to be hosting this festival, since we had to cancel our 2020 plans due to COVID,” said Amy Weldon, co-director of the festival. “But COVID didn’t stop those seeds from growing and blossoming now. Perhaps I’m most excited about the way our speakers bring expertise as both writers and industry professionals. Every single author on our roster is someone whose work inspires and delights, and someone who speaks thoughtfully to the challenges and joys of finding a community of readers.”

Christine Pride and Maisy Card kick off the weekend in an opening session on Friday. The pair will share their experiences of working together as editor and author on Card’s debut novel “These Ghosts are Family” and Pride will be discussing her own novel “We Are Not Like Them.”

The keynote address will be presented by Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist Geraldine Brooks on Friday, Sept. 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life.

Other authors taking part in the festival include Andre Perry, Jennifer Acker, Jennifer Colville, Kelly Daniels, Kerri Arsenault, LaTanya McQueen, Lyz Lenz, Nickolas Butler, Peter Geye and Sejal Shah, as well as Luther faculty members and alumni and Decorah community members, including Kristine Jepsen, Margaret Yapp ‘15 and David Faldet ‘79.

To view the schedule and register for this event, visit luther.edu/writers-festival

About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.

Registration now open for the 2021 Luther College Writers Festival

Participants will enjoy in-person presentations, readings and panel discussions with well-known writers

DECORAH, Iowa – Registration is now open for the sixth biennial Luther College Writers Festival, taking place Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24-25. Celebrating the rich diversity of contemporary imaginative writers, participants will enjoy in-person keynote addresses, craft sessions, featured readings and panels all led by well-known writers. 

“My co-director Keith Lesmeister and I are thrilled to be hosting this festival, since we had to cancel our 2020 plans due to COVID,” said Amy Weldon, co-director of the festival. “But COVID didn’t stop those seeds from growing and blossoming now. Perhaps I’m most excited about the way our speakers bring expertise as both writers and industry professionals. Every single author on our roster is someone whose work inspires and delights, and someone who speaks thoughtfully to the challenges and joys of finding a community of readers.”

Christine Pride and Maisy Card kick off the weekend in an opening session on Friday. The pair will share their experiences of working together as editor and author on Card’s debut novel “These Ghosts are Family” and Pride will be discussing her own novel “We Are Not Like Them.”

The keynote address will be presented by Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist Geraldine Brooks on Friday, Sept. 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life.

Other authors taking part in the festival include Andre Perry, Jennifer Acker, Jennifer Colville, Kelly Daniels, Kerri Arsenault, LaTanya McQueen, Lyz Lenz, Nickolas Butler, Peter Geye and Sejal Shah, as well as Luther faculty members and alumni and Decorah community members, including Kristine Jepsen, Margaret Yapp ‘15 and David Faldet ‘79.

To view the schedule and register for this event, visit luther.edu/writers-festival

About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.

Luther College students awarded Kuh and Krahn Family Awards

DECORAH, Iowa – Nora Nyi Myint ‘22 and Salomé Valdivieso-Santillán ‘23 have been awarded the Kuh Family “Positively Luther” Award and the Krahn Family Student Life Service Award respectively for their contributions to the Luther community and participation in activities that embrace the spirit and mission of Luther College. 

 

Kuh Family “Positively Luther” Award  

Nora Nyi Myint ‘22

The “Positively Luther” award is given each year to a student whose character, leadership and participation in co-curricular and other educationally purposeful activities enhance the quality of campus life. Nora Nyi Myint received the award for her roles as lead career peer advisor in the Career Center, lead outreach specialist in the counseling service, president of Luther College Model United Nations, member of K-Project and as a panelist discussing the political turmoil in her home country of Myanmar. 

Myint was nominated by Bobbi-Jo Molokken who supervises Myint in counseling services. Molokken explained how Myint has been a natural leader who is heavily engaged in the community.

“Nora goes above and beyond in her engagement on Luther’s campus,” said Molokken. “This year, Nora participated in a panel presentation and local media interviews about the crisis happening in Myanmar, bringing awareness to her country’s struggles while also breaking the stigma of mental health by discussing the impacts the recent political turmoil in Myanmar has had on her. She represented Luther and it’s commitment to inclusion, advocacy and human rights in a positive light to the community. She is passionate, creative, reliable, assertive and an excellent example of what we hope for our Luther students to aspire to.”

Myint is grateful to the Kuh family, and to the Luther College community for their support. The scholarship award provides needed support as she continues to live away from her family and friends in Myanmar.  

“I push myself to be a global citizen who can bring about positive change to the communities I encounter,” said Myint. “Winning this award brings me great joy because it shows that I have done all I can to give back to Luther College for all the opportunities it has given me––which I am so grateful for. The scholarship that came with this award also gives me a sense of security and support I truly needed. To the Kuh family, please know that no words are enough to express how much your generosity means to me. I hope to continue positively impacting the Luther community.”

 

Krahn Family Student Life Service Award

The Krahn Family Student Life Service Award was established in 2013 by Roger A. ’68 and Laurie Krahn of Plainwell, Michigan, and recognizes a student who makes a positive impact on student life. Salomé Valdivieso-Santillán is a junior and received three nominations for the award, citing her qualities as a leader and positive influence she has on her peers. As her academic advisor, Anita Carrasco shared in her nomination letter how she has seen Valdivieso-Santillán serve as a role model for her peers.

Salomé Valdivieso-Santillán ‘23

“I have been teaching at Luther College for a decade and she is the most intellectually sharp, engaged, motivated, curious and ethically driven student I have ever met here,” said Carrasco. “She has not completed her undergraduate degree and is already accomplishing what I recognize as graduate-level work. She serves as a role model for many of our students and she inspires and supports them.”

Valdivieso-Santillán feels a sense of honor and gratitude for the support she has been given by faculty. The support only strengthens her resolve to further contribute to and support the Luther community.  

“I feel very honored and grateful,” Valdivieso-Santillán said. “I’m especially grateful for Anita for mentoring me, not only in my academic inquiries, but also on how to navigate college as an international Latinx woman. At the same time, I feel more committed than ever to continue my contributions to build community and a home for everyone here at Luther.”

About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.

Luther College Preus Library joins Iowa Private Libraries calling for Open Educational Resources for students

How the grant program benefits faculty and brings down textbook costs for students

DECORAH, Iowa – The Luther College Preus Library is announcing its involvement in the Open Educational Resource (OER) statewide grant program. Developed by Iowa Private Academic Libraries (IPAL), the grant provides funds to faculty members to develop free educational resources and encourages faculty members to incorporate OERs into their courses.

Freeda Brook

“OERs have many benefits for students and faculty,” said Freeda Brook, the acquisitions and resource management librarian at Luther and IPAL board member. “For students, these free resources mean that they don’t have to share textbooks, buy older editions or simply not have the textbook for class. It also means students can keep the textbook after the course is over, instead of selling it back to try to recoup some of the expense. For faculty, in addition to the benefit of knowing that all of their students have access to the textbook, switching to OERs can enable more modular, regularly updated content for their courses.”

As the director of Preus Library, Ryan Gjerde sees the potential for OERs to strengthen the student experience, as well as connections between the 21 participating private colleges in Iowa. The grant is a way to invest in the potential of students and in their future success. 

“I’m excited about the opportunities this grant provides to create a more equitable

environment related to class texts,” said Gjerde. “The grant is really an investment in the classroom experience at Luther and our partner institutions. As more and more high-quality open resources are adopted, students should ultimately see a reduction in textbook

costs. By reducing or eliminating the cost to acquire class texts, students will have fewer barriers to fully participate in class activities.”

The grant also removes barriers for faculty members who are interested in incorporating OERs into their courses or writing new educational resources in their area of expertise. 

“I’m really hopeful that this grant will help increase the visibility of OERs to our faculty, while providing them with the resources and incentives to make the transition,” said Brook. “I would really like to see greater OER use on campus because it will lessen costs for our students. I am also excited about the grant as a way to strengthen connections between private colleges in Iowa. New OERs created by faculty at Luther could be used by faculty at other colleges, and vice versa, which generally improves higher education in the state. The grant can also be used on collaborative projects across institutions.”

Luther faculty are invited to apply by Monday, Nov. 1 for grant funding for spring semester courses. Different award levels are available for various projects, including adopting or remixing OERs, creating support materials, redesigning a course around OERs and creating new OERs. Faculty can visit the IPAL website to apply or find more information. Spring 2022 projects that have received funding will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 1. 

About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.

Luther College faculty receive H. George Anderson and Jutta F. Anderson award

DECORAH, Iowa – Emily Dirks ‘18, alumni guest lecturer in voice, and Nicholas Shaneyfelt, assistant professor of music, have been awarded the H. George Anderson & Jutta F. Anderson Faculty Development award. This endowed award supports the professional development projects of faculty in the early years of their career. It facilitates scholarship, research and creative and artistic work in a wide range of disciplines, recognizing that such work contributes to the vitality necessary for strong undergraduate liberal arts education.  

Emily Dirks

Dirks utilized the award to participate in Opera in the Ozarks, a highly regarded eight-week summer opera training program in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. After an extensive national audition process, those selected for the program receive lessons with industry leaders and participate in several workshops and performances. Dirks believes taking part in the program will not only further develop her own artistry, but that of her students as well.

“Participating in Opera in the Ozarks allowed me to serve as a role model to my students who are at Luther to move their careers forward,” said Dirks. “My involvement in masterclasses, lessons, coachings and workshops has led to meaningful connections with industry professionals. Developing a widespread network is an essential part of assisting students in shaping their careers, especially when they seek acceptance into post-graduate and young artist programs.”

Dirks took away from the program advanced teaching techniques that she will apply to her studio teaching at Luther. “I have learned quite a lot about kinesthetic voice teaching techniques. This includes using yoga, aerobics, resistance bands and other methods to engage the body while singing and releasing tension in the voice. I will certainly be using these pedagogical techniques with my voice students in the fall.”

Shaneyfelt received the Anderson award for his project researching art songs by composers of color. This summer, Shaneyfelt will peruse

Nicholas Shaneyfelt

catalogs, anthologies, websites and scholarly works, resulting in greater accessibility to a more diverse repertoire for his faculty colleagues and students to study and perform.  

“I hope to find songs that represent a spectrum of works: those that are firmly grounded in ‘traditional’ art song, those that strike a balance between tradition and novelty and those that break ground entirely.” 

The funds of the award will go towards obtaining scores by composers, which will then become accessible for the entire Luther community to use. For Shaneyfelt, this research is a way to diversify the repertoire of his studio, and to give recognition to composers outside “the canon” of traditional art song composers like Schubert and Schumann.

“Before I came to Luther, I was already looking for ways to diversify and deepen my repertoire knowledge of composers of color, primarily as a performer. Now, as an educator, I feel an urgency to expand this knowledge for the benefit of my students, who, as aspiring educators and performers, also feel this urgency in an attempt to be relevant and vital 21st century musicians.”

 

About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.

Luther College will celebrate Homecoming and class reunions in October

DECORAH, Iowa – Luther College has announced plans for in-person, virtual and livestreamed events to celebrate Homecoming and alumni class reunions during the month of October. 

“After much planning and patience, the reunion committees and staff are excited to finally welcome alumni back to campus and back to Decorah,” said Stephen Sporer, vice president for development. “Throughout the pandemic, there was no question that classmates were eager to return to Luther and see one another. It wasn’t a question of if these events would happen, but when.”

Homecoming normally draws approximately 2,500 visitors to campus on a single weekend. Coming out of the COVID pandemic, the college is holding a series of events to prevent crowding and mitigate continuing concerns about the potential for spread of COVID.

Homecoming will occur Oct. 1-3. Events of this weekend will include ceremonies honoring the 2020 and 2021 Distinguished Service Award recipients, Athletic Hall of Fame inductees, music award winners and reunions for the classes of 1966, 1971, 1981, 1986, 1996, 2011 and 2016.

Reunion celebrations will continue on Saturday, Oct. 16, with the classes of 1951, 1956, 1961, 1976, 1981, 1991 and 2001.

The class of 2020 is invited to attend a reunion weekend on Oct. 29-31. This special weekend is designed to celebrate these alumni whose senior year was cut short by the pandemic.

Advance registration is encouraged, as in-person events may have attendance limits. 

Along with the on-campus events, there will be virtual and livestreamed events offered to all alumni throughout the month of October.

More information and online registration may be found at www.luther.edu/homecoming

About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.

Luther College graduate elected bishop of ELCA La Crosse Area Synod

Felix Malpica is the youngest, and first person of color to assume this role within the ELCA.

Felix Malpica ’09 has been elected bishop of the La Crosse Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). At 34, Malpica is the youngest bishop and the first person of color to assume this role in the ELCA.

“I can honestly say this has been a work of the Holy Spirit,” said Malpica. “For more reasons than I can count, my call to bishop of the La Crosse Area Synod seems like a perfectly natural next progression in my life and ministry, although I would not have been able to predict it a year ago.”

As the newly elected bishop, Malpica will lead 74 congregations spanning western Wisconsin for the next six years. Malpica says he will bring strategic thinking, questions, bridge building and creativity to the table.

“As a pastor, and now as bishop, I need to be a lifelong learner. There are always new problems, new situations, new challenges and having an ability to confidently acquire new knowledge is something that a liberal arts education prepared me for,” said Malpica.

During his time at Luther College, Malpica studied spanish and music. He said he also graduated with an understanding of how best to learn and of small town Norwegian culture.

“Learning Norwegian culture was something that became important to my ministry because I can honestly say that I had no idea Norweigian culture was a thing until I went to Luther. In some ways, it allowed for me to be a better missionary from Puerto Rico serving in Nordic-Lutheran contexts.”

Born in Puerto Rico, Malpica moved to Chicago with his family in first grade where his father, also a reverend, was called to serve. Malpica served as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Janesville, Wisconsin, since 2017. Prior to that, he served as associate pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas, from 2014 to 2017. His installation as bishop will take place on Sept. 26.

About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.

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Luther College graduate is “Promoting Peace Through Music” in Mongolia

DECORAH, Iowa – Temuulen Erdenebulgan ‘21 is using music to promote peace and create safe spaces for children in his home country of Mongolia. Erdenebulgan was selected for a 2020 Davis Projects for Peace grant for his project titled “Promoting Peace Through Music: Music is the Language of Magic.” His project was delayed for one year due to COVID-19 but is now up and running in the city of Ulaanbaatar.

“My project’s main goal is to create a safe space where children can learn to play musical instruments. I strongly believe that learning how to play music can provide some peace, build a sense of community and security, help heal scars, physical and otherwise, and help people to deal with stress and difficulties in their lives. Lastly, and most importantly, I believe music can help individuals cooperate with others and maintain their own peaceful lifestyles,” says Erdenebulgan.

Erdenebulgan partnered with Lantuu Dohio, a non-profit organization based in Mongolia. Their mission is to eradicate human trafficking and protect children from violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation.

In 2017, Lantuu Dohio started a project called Magic Mongolia 1, where they constructed a building dedicated to helping children of abuse in Ulaanbaatar. In December 2019, the organization finished their second location Magic Mongolia 2 in one of the poorest areas of Ulaanbaatar where hundreds of volunteers fight to end abuse, poverty, and human trafficking locally.

“Since Magic Mongolia 2 has a library, kindergarten and a cozy children-friendly environment, children ages 8-14 often come here to study, socialize and spend their time together away from abuse, poverty and poor education,” said Erdenebulgan.

Approximately 50 kids take part in music lessons at Magic Mongolia 2. Staff members teach workshops for piano, drums, guitar, violin and a traditional Mongolian instrument called “ytga.” Teachers will record instructional videos to make available for children to watch anytime. Erdenebulgan works on the project remotely from the United States. He meets weekly with music teachers and his project partner over Zoom.

The $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant was used to purchase 19 instruments for Magic Mongolia 2 and to hire music instructors. Erdenebulgan plans to further this work by creating the Magic Music for Peace Fund. The fund will be used to connect students to quality music schools in Ulaanbaatar and to support volunteers.

For Erdenebulgan, this project is personal as he attributes his own success to 13 years of piano education. “I would say that playing piano has made me a more kind and peaceful person,” he said. “In the long run, I hope it does the same for these kids so I can live in a place where every child has access to the bare necessities of security, education and love. Everyone has magic inside them, magic to make the world a better place.”

Davis Projects for Peace was established by Kathryn W. Davis on her 100th birthday to fund selected students with $10,000 to create and build peace anywhere in the world.

Erdenebulgan graduated from Luther College in 2021 with a degree in computer science.

About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates, like Erdenebulgan, who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.

 

 

Luther College diverts 12 tons of waste from landfills during move out week

DECORAH, Iowa – Luther College’s Move Out Mindfully student-led initiative has kept more than 12 tons of waste out of the landfill. During move out week, May 10 to May 17, 60 student workers and volunteers implemented various tactics in an effort to reuse and recycle, rather than waste. 

Erin Keller (’21) rescues recyclables from a dumpster.

“In addition to organizing donation rooms in each of the residence halls on campus and educating the student body on the impacts of their waste, move out workers embrace the smells and textures of the dumpsters to ensure that all recyclable and reusable items have been salvaged,” said Logan Olson, Move Out Mindfully student coordinator. “We work to connect with students to make sure that they know how to properly sort their waste, utilize move out week donation facilities and reduce the footprint of their move out as much as possible.”

Luther students Adrienne Clefisch (’23) and Elise Wilson (’24) give a thumbs-up as another truck is loaded and off to the Depot Outlet.

Since it began in 2014, the Move Out Mindfully initiative has reduced the waste sent to the landfill by over 50%. This year alone, more than 11,000 pounds of recyclable material was sent to Winneshiek County Recycling, 8,700 pounds of clothing and household items were taken to the Depot Outlet, 1,000 pounds of food was donated to the Decorah Community Food Pantry and 1,100 pounds of compost was sent to the college farm. 

“There is a huge sense of pride when we get to send a full truck of donations to Decorah’s Depot Outlet thrift store or drive a truck full of compost bins to Luther’s campus farm. It feels good to know that Luther’s donations can benefit our community and the compost we collected will fertilize the gardens that will grow fresh produce for the next generation of Luther students. Instead of being buried in the landfill forever, these waste diversions create a legacy that extends beyond our 4 years at Luther,” said Olson.

Olson credits their community partners whom they’ve built relationships with over the years including the Depot Outlet and Winneshiek County Recycling Center, but this effort would largely go undone without student leadership.   

Faye Duster (’22) adds collected compostable material to the college farm’s compost pile.

“The move out program is a great example of the ways in which Luther students are shaped to be engaged members of their communities. Student coordinators, such as myself, are in charge of recruiting and training student volunteers, coordinating with community and campus partners and doing the work of waste sorting and diversion during move out week.”

A recent $1,700 Landfill Reduction Grant from the Winneshiek County Solid Waste Agency was used to purchase special event waste sorting containers that were used during move out week to sort out unwanted items. Moving forward, those containers will be used on campus to collect recyclable and compostable materials at outdoor events. The grant money was also used to install a permanent outdoor four-compartment bin to collect recyclables, trash and compostables on campus to continue this waste-free momentum. 

 

About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.

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