Olson House helps to raise money with pies


Homemade pies support great outdoors



Fall is here, which means the season marked by changes in color, unnecessary obsession with pumpkin spice lattes, Pinterest-inspired Halloween decorations and all things made of apples has returned.

For the four theme house residents of Olsen House,  the change in season presents an opportunity to give back to the community.

Residents Alex Guggenberger, Dan Schmidtman, Evan Meyer and Adam Guthmiller are selling apple pies to raise money for local outdoor recreation programs.

According to Guggenberger, the idea behind the fundraiser arose from the housemates’ mutual love of pie and spending time outside. A few weeks ago, Guthmiller brought one of his grandmother Leta’s famous apple pies to share with his roommates. The pie’s deliciousness inspired the group to capitalize on the time-honored secret family recipe for a good cause.

“I told [Adam], ‘We have to bring this joyous mouthful of wonder to campus and to the Augustana community,’” Guggenberger said.

Olsen House’s theme is friluftsliv, a Norwegian term for the outdoor living philosophy, which emphasizes the importance of spending one’s life in the open air. The residents wanted their project to connect this concept of outdoor recreation and stewardship to Augustana’s Norwegian heritage and it’s core value of service.

“We were super excited about this project because it was an opportunity for us to raise funds for organizations that we feel really passionately about,” Schmidtman said.

The housemates, all avid outdoorsmen, decided  to give the proceeds to the Augustana Outdoor Program and The Outdoor Campus to support the mission of getting more young people outside.

“We’re excited about keeping some of the money here on Augustana’s campus to be able to fund more opportunities for students to spend time outside,” Guthmiller said.

dan-schmidtmanLast week, the men created a Google order form, shared it on Facebook and quickly exceeded their goal of 100 pie orders. On Saturday, the residents harvested apples from trees at Guthmiller’s home and picked up apples donated by the Hoversten Orchard in Brandon.

They practiced by making 25 pies to test the recipe. Then a crew of 15 volunteers, including fellow Augustana students and the Guthmiller family, got together at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls to assemble the pies.

The crew churned out 80 pies in just one hour and 54 minutes. After packaging each pie, the group delivered them for a donation of $20 per pie.

The organizations that benefit from the fundraiser are grateful for the support. Thea Miller Ryan, director of The Outdoor Campus, said the donations are  benefiting outdoor education programs and youth activities that connect people with nature.

“We are always thrilled and grateful for organizations who step up to help us preserve South Dakota’s outdoor heritage,” Ryan said. “We will use [the money] for educational purposes to teach people more about the great outdoors.”

For the Augustana Outdoor Program, the donations are going toward purchasing more rental equipment for gear exchange and repairing worn-out equipment.

“We’ve had a lot of students comment on the lack of climbing shoes available in smaller shoe sizes,” coordinator Shauna Maurer said. “The donations will help us purchase new climbing shoes, tents and sleeping bags and allow us to replace worn gear.”

The housemates had a hunch that their fundraiser would be a success.

“I think we can all agree that [pie] is such a great dessert for the start of fall because it’s something that’s shared together,” Schmidtman said. “No one is going to sit down and eat a whole pie by themselves—well, maybe they will—but usually it’s shared between friends over conversation.”

Although Guthmiller was unwilling to reveal the legendary pie recipe that made this fundraiser possible, he did disclose that “love is the first ingredient.”

By connecting the Lutheran servant attitude with a shared passion for the Great Outdoors through something as simple as an apple pie, one could say that Olsen House’s fundraiser truly upheld Augustana’s core value of service.

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