Augustana University wins national award for diversity program

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 10:42 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Earlier this week, the National Association for Campus Activities awarded Augustana’s Diversity Advocate Certification Program with the Outstanding Diversity Achievement award.

Augustana educators who helped establish the program say they started it to bring the community together.

“We create a culture here that is inclusive and welcoming we also want to educate folks on diversity equity and inclusion and I believe this program here really gives people the opportunity to challenge the status quo,” says Augustana Dean Mark Blackburn.

The training teaches individuals first how to better understand themselves and then how to use that knowledge to learn to better communicate and understand others.

Willete Capers is the head of the program and says she is excited but a bit surprised to receive such a big award.

“One of my colleagues nominated me and I didn’t even know they were paying attention to the work they were putting in. I’m still in shock because this is an award from universities all over America, the Uk, Australia, and Africa and I don’t think I have fully realized what has happened” says Willette.

More than 170 students have taken the program within the last two years, some of them say the course can be useful to anyone and that current students should make sure to sign up.

Augustana student Caleb Timmerman said, “it’s not really a program that you’re going to walk away from and not learn anything new it’s a learning program that is catered towards everyone meeting you where you’re at.”

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