News Students

Three groups earn awards for community engagement

The Concordia Student Nurses Association, the Indigenous Association, and library director Laura Probst have all been presented with the Iowa and Minnesota Campus Compact 2024 Presidents’ Awards. The Presidents’ Awards are meant to recognize remarkable efforts of community outreach made by students, faculty, staff, collaborative teams, and community organizations. 

Dr. Ken Foster, the director of Community Engagement at Concordia, was responsible for nominating each group and individual for the Presidents’ Awards. 

Members of the Student Nurses Association make tie blankets to donate.

The Student Nurses Association was given the Student Leadership Award for merging its impact on the community with the college experience at Concordia. The students have been raising awareness of different health and wellness initiatives by organizing projects like blood drives, volunteering at local food banks, and working with local healthcare facilities for smaller projects such as making cards or tie blankets.

Brooke Deters, along with Louise Fouquerel-Skoe and Taia Nieland, make up the three co-presidents who run the SNA. Deters said it was nice to be publicly recognized with the Student Leadership Award because the SNA is not on the radar of many people outside of nursing students. 

“Being in the SNA has given me a different way of preparing for my future than the nursing program does,” Deters said. “This has allowed us [Deters and other students who participate in the SNA] to get out into the community and make connections outside of hospitals.”

The Indigenous Association was given the Community Partner Award for enhancing life in the community through developing a partnership with Concordia. The nonprofit organization has worked with Concordia to expand opportunities in Ojibwa and start a transfer program with the White Earth Tribal College.

“We have been working on ways to bring cultural knowledge keepers into the Concordia community to share their insight and wisdom with Concordia students,” Brendon Baity, the interim director of IA, said.

Brandon Baity with the Indigenous Association and other volunteers plant traditional Indigenous medicinal herbs on campus.

Over the summer, the IA partnered with Concordia College to plant Indigenous medicinal herbs in the community garden. The goal was to help foster a sense of community and educate people on Indigenous culture. 

Probst was given the Civic Engagement Leadership Award for founding the RIDE (Readings for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversion) program.

The program offers the opportunity for Concordia students to work with Horizon Middle School eighth graders and encourage them to read diversely. 

Laura Probst, library director

“Laura’s entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to student learning, and ability to foster collaboration have enabled her to create an inspirational program that advances Concordia's civic mission and demonstrates the power of college-community partnerships,” Foster said in his reasoning for nomination.

Probst started the program in 2020, and it is still going strong to this day. She was honored to have her work recognized by the Campus Compact. 

“This recognition from the community affirms that our work has value. It inspires me, and my colleagues, to invest in the program’s [RIDE’s] future,” she said. 

The RIDE program doesn’t solely inspire faculty. In fact, many Concordia students who participate in RIDE wish they had similar opportunities when they were younger, according to Probst. 

“Our students engage with eighth graders to explore the experiences of the characters in their book, to think about the diversity of experiences among the members of their small group, and to practice having difficult conversations. And, they have fun along the way,” Probst said.

Written by Alyssa Czernek '25