From creative writing to entrepreneurship, ASA approves four new student organizations on campus


The Augustana Student Association recently approved four new clubs, raising the total count of student organizations to 105. Seven Thunders, Hult Prize, Solidarity and Writer’s Guild have all started their careers this year.

  1. Writer’s Guild

Mission statement: The Augustana Writer’s Guild exists to better the writing of its members through sustained practice and community support.

A dormant club has been brought back to life at Augustana University this year. Freshman Megan Simonich made sure of that.

“I wanted to have a creative writing space on campus to meet with members of the community and help improve each other’s writing,” said the club’s president, Simonich. “The Writer’s Guild had been running for a while before it got disbanded [after] all the seniors in the club left. We took up the mantle and we’re really focusing on making it our own and what we need it to be.”

The club will meet weekly to work on new writing prompts and peer-review each member’s work. The organization will coordinate the writing prompts with upcoming writing contests, so students get their writing recognized in the community.

“The goal of [the prompts] is to push us to write in ways that we haven’t done before or in ways that are going to be useful to us,” Simonich said.

The club will also start reading works about how to improve creative writing skills, starting with Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird. And in addition, the guild will host a poetry slam every other month.

“I would like as many opportunities to come together and share our stories with the public as possible,” Simonich said.

Meetings take place at 9 p.m. on Tuesday nights in the Humanities Building, room 231.

  1. Hult Prize

Mission statement: The purpose is to organize an event on campus that will provide all Augustana students with an opportunity to compete in the Hult Prize social entrepreneurship competition for a chance to win $1 million to fund and implement their business idea.

The Hult Prize is an international competition that invites college students to develop solutions for the world’s most pressing issues. This year’s topic is solving youth unemployment, according to Augustana’s chapter leader, senior Hatem Khalfaoui.

“There’s a global challenge every year,” said Khalfaoui. “The challenge [this year] is to create ten million meaningful jobs for young people over the next decade.”

Students within the group will form smaller teams of four or five people and will develop ideas and business plans. The club will be putting on info sessions to help teams throughout the year and will host coaching workshops with local businesspeople.

In December, the top team from Augustana will be chosen to move on to the regionals, which takes place in fifteen different cities around the world. If the team’s idea passes this phase, students will take part in a six-week seminar in the United Kingdom featuring global business

owners and innovators. The final competition will include the top 15 teams as they present their ideas to the United Nations in New York.

“If you go to the finals and win, then you get a million dollars, and you can actually do [the plan],” Khalfaoui said. “You’re representing Augustana at an international event. It’s very prestigious.”

The club will put on its first info session at 4 p.m. on October 5 in the Back Alley.

“We would love for a team to be diversified, not only business people—you could be an art major, nursing major, a freshman or a senior,” Khalfaoui said. “As long as you think you can come up with an idea and present it well and work in a team, you absolutely have a chance.”

  1. Solidarity

Mission statement: The purpose of Solidarity shall be to build a community for progressives, socialists, anarchists, communists and other left-leaning political enthusiasts to advocate a vision of the future that allows for dignity, justice and equality.

Augie Solidarity is based on three pillars: democracy, service and advocacy.

“Leftist ideology isn’t traditional around here, so we wanted to work on bridging that gap,” Kale Hellman, club co-founder, said. “Especially [with] college students, because a lot of us do have more socialist ideas, but people just don’t have a name for it.”

The organization plans to do volunteer work with youth and the homeless population.

“We really want to be able to affect the Sioux Falls area,” Hellman said.

Augie Solidarity also hopes to host forums and debates about controversial topics. The group plans to make the events open to all forms of political thought, not just that align with leftist ideologies.

“The goal of this club is not to further polarize our political opinions because [people] already do that,” Hellman said. “Solidarity is standing together. What we want to do is take ideas that people don’t recognize as traditionally communist, socialist or anarchist and put a name to them. Debating and arguing are necessary for us to understand other viewpoints, and I think it’s better to know the differences that you have [with others] so that you can come together on more important issues.”

  1. Seven Thunders

Mission statement: The Seven Thunders Club will show convincing proofs that science, world history, economics and other subjects that initially seem to contradict the Bible, support it.

“Seven is the complete number for God,” said Ladi Coker, founder of Augustana’s Seven Thunders Club. “Seven represents [perfection]. If you look throughout the Bible closely, you can see that thunder represents the words of God. When you put them together, it’s the perfect words of God, that’s [what] Seven Thunders [means].”

The new student organization invites students to ask questions about the Bible and its real-world insights.

“As college students, we spend four years of our life thinking and trying to further our understanding of ourselves as well as the world around us, so naturally we have a lot of questions,” Coker said. “Most people think the Bible contradicts history, economics, [and] science, and people separate them into different categories. We’ll be showing convincing proof that all those things are within the Bible. God created the Bible and all of [those fields of studies are] a byproduct of God’s creation. They’re not separate.”

Coker emphasized that there are many scientific and new age concepts in the scriptures that many students don’t know about and that this lack of awareness is what contributes to millennials’ declining interest in the Bible.

“People don’t know that the water cycle is in the Bible, and the Bible was created before the water cycle was even discovered by man. The law of universal gravitation is also in the Bible,” Coker said.

That proposition about millennials’ declining interest is in line with polling results from the Pew Research Center in 2018, which found that younger people are less likely than older people to believe that the Bible is the literal word of God. Seven Thunders seeks to change that.

Weekly meetings for Seven Thunders will consist of Bible study and Q&A sessions. The club gathers on Wednesday nights from 7-9 p.m. in the Madsen Center, room 157.

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