CASUS Unites Sociology and Community

Abi Hilden, features editor

“It gets easier together.”

That’s the one thing that Club of Augsburg Sociology and Urban Studies (CASUS) board member Elliot Sponsler wanted the Augsburg community to know. It’s also one of the core pieces of CASUS, a new club on campus created to fill a gap in student organizations for sociology and urban studies students.

“We hoped that CASUS could fill this void and act as a place for students who are interested in these fields to not only come together and share their knowledge, but actually apply it,” says Sponsler. “Augsburg has a ton of passionate and well informed students who want to see a positive impact in their surrounding communities. We really thought that the fields of Sociology and Urban Studies can help make that happen.”

While its focus is on students majoring in urban studies and sociology, CASUS is open to all students who are interested in advancing their sociological understanding in order to better serve their communities.

“There is a lot of overlap with environmental studies, gender, sexuality and women’s studies, as well as critical race and ethnicity studies, so we would love to have voices from those interested in these fields help guide us.”

Students can get involved with CASUS by becoming a member or by participating in one of their unique community dinner events.

“These events invite a prominent leader in the community who is out there performing sociological and urban studies aligned work in real time and bring them into contact with us and our student body, usually over a warm meal,” explained Sponsler. “These events not only strengthen our bonds and ties with our community but offer students a chance to hear and learn from someone whose lifework has culminated into something fantastic through sociology and urban studies.”

During their first event of this kind, CASUS members were able to meet with local community organizer Jovita Morales. Morales has played a key role in various movements including but not limited to Drivers Licenses for All, the Minnesota Immigrant Movement and Women’s March MN.

“Jovita had many insights on how to help organize a community towards positive change, and how often it starts by simply being an invested and involved member within it,” reflected Sponsler.

CASUS is already in the process of planning their final community dinner for this semester to take place towards the end of November. The event will include a trip to the Creator’s Space in Saint Paul to visit an exhibition called “Art from the Inside.”

“This program gives a visual voice to incarcerated individuals, who are often stripped of any means to communicate with their community. Instead of hosting a singular guest involved in the community this time, touring this visual exhibition will serve that role. The works will wrestle with the concepts of identity and storytelling.”
Any student interested in becoming a member of CASUS can reach out to them via email at casus@augsburg.edu or connect with them on Auggie Life. All are encouraged to join them for their future events, so keep an eye out for more information!