In this episode, student hosts Christian Elliott and Mikaylo Kelly sit down with Chris Stedman at the studios of WVIK as a part of his visit to Augustana’s campus for Symposium Day this month.
Chris Stedman is an atheist and humanist community organizer, interfaith activist, and writer living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the author of Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious, “an intimate and deeply affecting portrait… [that] proves [he is] an activist in the truest sense and one to watch” (Booklist, Starred Review). Chris is also the founding executive director of the Humanist Center of Minnesota, a project through which he and a group of researchers at the University of Minnesota are studying the beliefs, practices, and community involvement of the religiously unaffiliated.
Formerly the founding executive director of the Yale Humanist Community and a fellow at Yale University, he also worked as a humanist chaplain at Harvard University and a content developer for the Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago, Illinois. He currently serves as a fellow at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship and at the Christensen Center for Vocation, both at Augsburg University. Chris holds a summa cum laude B.A. in Religion from Augsburg University (with minors in English and Social Welfare) and an M.A. in Religion from Meadville Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago, for which he was awarded the Billings Prize for Most Outstanding Scholastic Achievement.
For the rest of this school year, our podcast team will be releasing two episodes each month. One will be a standard interview with a professor, college alumna or alumnus, or visiting speaker like listeners are accustomed to, and the other will be a special episode unlike the content we’ve produced in the past. This episode is the first of these “bonus” episodes showcasing life on campus and in the community!
Two Fridays, two strikes
On September 20th, 2019 7.6 million people took to the streets on all seven continents to strike for climate action in the biggest climate mobilization in history. Youth across the world were inspired to action by 16 year old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. On the campus of Augustana College, senior students Hunter Ridley and Robert Burke organized a local strike as part of the national movement with the help of Dr. Jennifer Burnham.
The event drew hundreds of students, as well as representatives from local news networks. Surrounded by a crowd holding signs reading “Fight for Augie’s Future,” “Augie Strikes Back,” and “Why are we Studying for A Future we don’t have” Students, faculty, and children spoke passionately and recited poetry while calling the college administration to take definitive climate action.
Two weeks after Augie’s strike, a few of our members traveled to Iowa City to see Greta Thunberg, the young activist who started it all. We were able to record her address to the thousands who gathered at the intersection of Dubuque and Iowa street in downtown Iowa City on October 4th, 2019.
We’re thrilled to provide recordings of both events as this month’s bonus episode of Lives of the Mind!
Every week since the strikes, Augustana students and faculty have met to brainstorm ideas in a group informally called Augie Climate Action. To get involved, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.