Finding Time to Say ‘Yes’


As a fourth year student, I have found it so interesting–and sad–to look back at the past few years at Augustana and see how much has changed. Everyone who entered university in the last four years will have some sort of crazy story about how their schooling was impacted by Covid-19 to share one day, when it isn’t so fresh in our minds. Some of us started and will (hopefully!) end our degrees completely normally, but we lost a lot of ground in those middle years. Some of us started online, or took a year off to try and avoid it. Some of us switched from online to in person what felt like 50 times over the course of four years. As much as life feels ‘back to normal’ now, I think we are all still feeling the reverberations of the past few years. 

With an increasing number of people getting sick on campus, with Covid or just the flu, I’m being taken back to the past two fall and winter seasons, when numbers shot up and we slunk back into lockdown. Thinking about it now makes me nervous. As much as I want to believe that we may finally be ‘back to normal,’ I’m having a hard time accepting it. 

The burnout at this part of the semester is always bad, so maybe I am just overwhelmed by the work piling up as usual. But I think this year is different. After so much back and forth from real classrooms to breakout rooms, I don’t trust that we can make it a full academic year without our classes being yanked and our homework becoming a 24/7 condition. The stress of a normal academic and working schedule feels even more tiresome when you add the constant worry that your last year for any of it could be taken away at any time. Not to mention also finding time to apply to after-degrees, graduate schools, jobs for after school, and scholarships. 

Despite all of this, it is hard to not appreciate the little joys of being on campus again: the sound of laughter filling the forum, squeezing a chair into a packed table at the library to study with friends, grabbing a coffee and a sandwich at Monica’s as a reward for writing a midterm (or for making it to your 8:30am class). All of these little things I never thought I’d miss remind me to be grateful for what we do have now, and to make the most of whatever it is we have to look forward to. I think we will all be struggling from the effects of the pandemic for a long, long time, but we might as well make the most of the bits of joy we get to have during these difficult few years.

Since Covid has been tamed enough to allow us to leave our houses again, I have been trying to say yes as much as I can. Yes, I will take a weekend trip to the mountains even when I should be studying. Yes, I will go out to dinner with friends, even if I have an assignment due at midnight. Yes, I will agree to edit the student newspaper, even though I constantly complain about being too busy. After all, who knows where we will all end up when we’re done at Augustana? These few years are the only years we get where we will all be in the same place at the same time. And if a pandemic is going to take it all away again, I don’t want to say I spent that fraction of time when we weren’t required to social distance, well, social distancing. As much as I’d like to dwell on the worry of how the rest of this year will turn out for us, I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that regardless, I only have one year left. I could spend it worrying, or I could spend it saying yes for as long as I can. I hope this year can be full of all of the ‘Yes’ we’ve been missing out on for far too long.

Augustana’s Festival of Lights


The festival of lights, known as Deepavali or Diwali, is the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals. A festival marked by four days of celebration, Diwali is observed all around India and celebrated in different parts of the world. People in Northern India burn rows of clay lights to commemorate the legend of King Rama’s return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. It is marked as the day Lord Krishna vanquished the demon Narakasura in Southern India. The Western India festival commemorates the day that demon King Bali was appointed ruler of the underworld by Lord Vishnu, the Preserver, one of the three principal Hindu gods.

Diwali is beautiful, and one of the most pious occasions. It illuminates the country with its sheer magic and brilliance and dazzles people everywhere with joy and celebration. Diwali is usually celebrated over a number of days, and every day has a unique tradition that fills people with good hope, love and peace.

This year at Augustana, a Diwali celebration was hosted by the Augustana Chaplaincy in collaboration with the South Asian Club (SAC), who together planned an array of activities. Students dressed up in traditional Indian garments with their peers to commemorate the event. The occasion started off with captivating traditional Indian dances. The dance was inclusive to non-Indian students, demonstrating the union of different cultures. This was followed by a movie called the Ramayana, an explanation of the lore behind the Festival of Lights. This aided in describing the story of the diyas (lights) and their crucial significance, informing those in attendance of the different customs. The SAC also organized foodstuffs native to India to give the students a taste of the land. The menu for the night included Pav Bhaji, a fast food dish made of rich vegetable curry, and a soft bread bun. This was accompanied by the customary activity of modelling and lighting diyas

Overall, the entire event was well-arranged and quite lively and, more importantly, taught students about the relevance of the festivities and how they are honoured globally. As a native Indian, I would love to see more events like these at Augustana, as they respect my culture and bring back a piece of home, making worthwhile memories in my university years.

Dancers at the Augustana Diwali celebration in the chapel on October 23, 2022. Dancers from left to right: Adaeze Dike, Nguavese Ukange, Avolin Sen, Vanessa Kinesewich, Ninotchka Fernandez, Amelia Williams, Viktoriia Martseliuk, Angelina Tam, Ona Awogu. Photo and video submitted.

Representing Us: the ASA


We know the Augustana Student Association plays many roles on campus, but what do we know about what they actually do for Augustana Students? Before that, let me briefly introduce our ASA members for the 2022/2023 academic year.


Cindy Roose – Executive Director

Jewel Naicker – President

Saim Khokhar – VP Finance

Kyra Gusdal – VP Student Life

Ursula Pountou – VP Academic

Eylul Evren – VP Communications


Miron Nekhoroshkov – First Year Representative 

Katherine Starishko – First Year Representative

Husna Usman – Second Year Representative

Jay Modi – Second Year Representative

Sarah Nagel – Third Year Representative

Adrian Lam – Off Campus Representative

Denzel Kalmoni – International Students’ Representative

Ty Holmes – Indigenous Students’ Representative

I had a chance to speak with second-year and Indigenous student representatives, Husna Usman and Ty Holmes, to discuss some of their goals for the year and learn a bit more about the team.

Husna Usman, Second-Year Representative. Photo submitted.

Husna Usman – Second-Year Representative 

Husna is a second-year Law, Crime, and Justice major. She likes to watch Anime for fun, and held a student council position while in high school. Joining the ASA has taught her more about leadership and has given her a different outlook on what a leader should have. For Husna, leadership is three words: Vision, Direction, and Delivery.

Husna joined the ASA because of her drive to bring a voice to issues that some students may believe are unimportant. Husna believes that speaking about issues will make university life less stressful.

Discussing her objectives for this year, Husna said she would like to do better academically than last year, to understand students more, and to establish bonds with them. She wants to make a difference in Augustana. Her goal is to impact the lives of the students she can reach, even if her focus will be on second years as a second-year representative.

When asked about her thoughts on Augustana, Husna clearly stated her admiration for our small community and the room it provides for personal growth and access to professors. She believes the small campus helps increase academic focus.

I took the opportunity to ask Husna about current ASA projects. One currently being worked on is the gender-neutral washrooms, a step towards inclusivity on campus. The ASA are also aiming at fixing the water fountain in the Ravine, and are brainstorming more event ideas to engage students and to familiarize themselves to the students.

As a second-year representative, Husna acknowledges that she is held accountable for listening and representing the second-year students with any of their academics and social issues while in school.

Husna ended this interview with advice for anyone finding it hard to find their crowd at Augustana: “in the end, it is not that deep. If you find solid relationships, fine, if not, you are still chilling.”

Ty Holmes, Indigenous Student Representative. Photo submitted.

Ty Holmes – Indigenous Student Representative

Ty Holmes is a first year in the Law, Crime, and Justice major. Ty enjoys going hiking in the summertime, playing casual sports like badminton and volleyball, and playing video games with friends online and in person.

Ty joined the ASA because of his desire to support the Indigenous peoples across campus in any way possible. Ty grew up in a town he describes as “practically in the bush” in Northern Alberta, and he believes that the experiences he had there allow him to relate to the Indigenous community both on and off campus.

Currently, Ty is workshopping a newsletter to provide information about scholarships, helplines, and other important information to the Augustana community. 

In terms of projects the ASA is developing, Ty is proud to see movement in the push for gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. Other than that, he says that they are making excellent progress on other projects around campus, and suggests that if students want to be informed of more of these projects, you can join the student council meetings in the Roger Epp room on Wednesdays at 5:30 pm.

The Augustana Psychology Club: Building Community and Promoting Mental Health


The main focus of The Augustana Psychology Club is to engage individuals on campus with psychology and bring more awareness to mental health on campus. The club aims to build a community through academic events such as peer tutoring, psych information night, and future opportunities. In addition, non-academic events are done to increase awareness and promote good mental health on campus by having activities such as yoga night, bake sale to raise funds for mental health resources, and movie night.


We want to form a community of students who are interested in mental health and psychology outside of classes, where people can come in and enjoy themselves.

Ava Lang, Psychology Club president. Photo submitted.

President of the Psychology club, Ava Lang. Ava is a 4th year psychology student, who, at academic advisor of the club Dr. Paula Marentette’s suggestion, decided to get the club going this year. Photo submitted.

. . .

The Dagligtale sat down with Ava Lang, the president of the Augustana Psychology Club, to chat about the club’s upcoming events and goals for the future.

The Psychology Club, like most clubs on campus, was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the club has not been as active as its members–or potential members–would’ve liked, and they have had few events in the past three years. However, as everything is being held in person this year (so far!), that is all about to change, as the club has a few events planned for this academic year. 

Dag: What kind of events has the club held recently?

Ava: We did an info night about how to apply to grad school. So we had Dr. Rebecca [Purc-Stephenson] come in and she gave a very nice and informative presentation on that. There was lots of great feedback from everyone that went; they loved it. That’s the only one we have had so far. 

D: What upcoming events is the club planning?

A: We have trivia night coming up on [November] 23rd. Anyone can join, come out and learn while having fun–hence the trivia. We are also going to do a Kahoot, and the winner gets a gift card. 

As part of Wellness Week, we have an art therapist coming on December 1st. She is going to give a presentation and talk about how she uses art, colours, and shapes to improve mental and emotional well-being. We are still in the process of planning, but she might even have an activity planned! After the presentation, participants will get to sit down and draw or paint, whatever they want to kind of get the stress out. And lastly, we are planning a movie night on December 7th–there might be a $3 entry fee–where we’ll watch Shutter Island and have people unwind before finals.

(If you are interested in stimulating conversation, there will be a short discussion after the movie, sharing your thoughts and possibly analyzing the movie from a psychological perspective.)

D: Is the club still looking for executive members?

A: At the moment, no we are not. Next semester for sure, as most people on the board right now will be graduating. We will be sending out a notification to club members via email and posting on instagram as well to see if anyone wants to apply to be on the executive board. It is an excellent opportunity to get involved with the school and the psychology professors on campus, plan activities and be there for the community!

(Anyone can apply to be on the executive board, and the club is looking forward to having people from different years be involved in the club as to expand the club’s demographic.)

D: How does the club get involved in the Camrose community? Do you do activities with local charities or organizations?

A: We did want to do a fundraiser for the women’s shelter in town. It probably won’t happen until next year but we would love to give back to the community. It’s hard to find the right charity or shelter or organization to donate to, but we think the women’s shelter would be a good fit.

. . .

The club meets up at least once a month, and you can get in touch with the club through their email: and follow their instagram page @augpsychclub where they post all of their upcoming events.

Upcoming Psychology Club events:

Nov 23: Trivia night @ 7 pm, AULIB 2-102

Dec 1: Art Therapy @ 7 pm, place TBD

Dec 7: Movie Night @ 6:30 pm, C 167

Vikings Men’s Volleyball Training to Break Streak


The Augustana Vikings sports teams for the 2022/23 seasons include basketball, curling, cross-country running, hockey (men’s), soccer (women’s), indoor track, nordic ski and volleyball. This season, the Vikings have been victorious in many fields. The Vikings Women’s Basketball team recently brought home a win over the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens. The same can be said for the Men’s Hockey team, who won a game against the Red Deer Polytechnic Kings in a split series, falling 6-3, before returning home for a Saturday night match-up in front of Vikings fans for a 4-3 win. 

Despite the many wins in many of the sports offered by Augustana, we have unfortunately been having a poor streak of losses for the men’s volleyball team. I wanted to find out why such was the case, so I took the opportunity to interview two members of our team: Boris Kuljanin, one of the outside hitters, and our very own team captain and libero, Bryce Boan.

I wanted to delve into the motivation behind what got the two players into volleyball. “My dad tried to get me into it,” said Bryce. “I was more of a hockey player and a soccer player and things like that. And then in grade eight, I made the volleyball team, and it was fun, you know, but I didn’t care too much for it, but it made me happy and I grew to enjoy it. It was fun to play with buddies. I started playing club because it was something I could keep doing all year round during school. And I got better at it. Something that really hooked me onto volleyball and kept me going is just the emotional impact that this game holds. It has a lot more than other sports just because you’re right there at that moment. And when it’s neck and neck, and somebody thunders down, that feeling of adrenaline and high blood soars and lifts you up. It’s a feeling I’ve never felt. So that got me hooked. And I’ve been pushing and striving after that feeling ever since.”

Boris’s interest in the sport arose from his peers from high school. “I would say for myself, a lot of it had to do with being with my friends. We had a lot of fun together and grew as a group throughout high school. So for me, that really became a feeling of belonging and community. For me, that was my childhood.”

We then got to the elephant in the room. Despite the rigorous training and dedication for volleyball, why had we still fallen behind our opponents? Both team members answered honestly, to their credit, discussing their strengths and weaknesses. “So we’ve had a tough schedule to start this year, minus our first game against Concordia,” Boris began, finding the opponents quite formidable. “We played against Kings University, NAIT and Red Deer for the next three games. Red Deer placed first in provincials last year. NAIT was second, and Kings got the bronze. We’ve played back to back, which doesn’t help–during the first game against Concordia at home, the first game of the season, our nerves were running a little bit. I feel like we played well. But in the first game, nerves got to us a little bit, I think. But we are seeing a lot of good things in each game, especially playing those last three high-level teams where we see good things, and we are trying to build off that, and we also see some bad things that we might need to fix. But again, it’s still early.”

Playing against those big teams is really tough. We can’t give them anything. Otherwise, they’ll just run with it, and then it’s very tough for us to climb back.

Bryce Boan, team captain

Bryce believed it was due to the common mistakes made by the team. “I would say closing out late in the game when we get to about 20 points like we’ll be giving with teams. Then we’ll make a lot of unforced errors, like on our side serving some hitting errors, and slight miscommunications that kind of just–again, playing against those big teams is really tough. We can’t give them anything. Otherwise, they’ll just run with it. And then it’s very tough for us to climb back. Then, late in the game, there are only so many points you can give up until they win the set. Bryce replied. 

Fortunately, the team has been prepping well to ensure a win and tackle these obstacles. Bryce states that the team is doing a “better job this year of planning for every team they’re playing against.” They meet once a week and go over the film to create a plan for the next weekend against the opposing team. “We replay them twice during the weekend. So after the first game, we’ll have a little debrief and see what we need to adjust and then we’ll go on from there. We’ll see what to do in the next game. So goal wise, it would be to show that despite our record, we can still hang with many teams. And that shows in a lot of our sets. Like last night against Red Deer, we were neck and neck with them in that first and second set. We had a lead, but we were closed out at the end.  

The team worked hard over the summer to make this a successful season, hiring a coach to virtually work through training schedules. “We were all following a training program over the summer, which was pretty good. We all sent videos to show our progress through chats together. So that was nice as it held us accountable over the summer. Even though we didn’t get to see each other, we still knew what everyone was up to.”

Overall, I believe our team still has a good shot this season to bring us wins. While interviewing the two, I could feel their passion for the sport, the drive and resilience required to become fine athletes and dedicate their lives to the game, and I hope this will translate well in the oncoming matches. As fellow students of Augustana, we can channel our inner school spirit and cheer on our team at the next home game on November 18th!

Boris Kuljanin, left, and Bryce Boan, members of the Augustana Vikings Volleyball team. Photos submitted.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Class Feature: AUHIS 121


“All of the courses have gone so well this year. I think the students are just so enthused about being back in person.”

Geoffrey Dipple, Professor, Social Sciences. Photo from web.

For this installment of the Dagligtale’s class feature, we’ll be taking a look at History 121 and its professor, Geoffrey Dipple. I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Dipple to shed some light on his background and teaching.

Dr. Dipple hails from Ontario, though he holds dual citizenship between Canada and the United States; his undergraduate studies in history were done in both Michigan and Indiana at Lutheran-affiliated institutions. While originally intent on studying medieval history, he became enamored with religious history surrounding the Protestant Reformation during his time at Queen’s University in Ontario and traveled as far abroad as Western Germany around this time for research. “About three months after I came back to Canada the Berlin Wall fell,” he remarked. He taught at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for nearly two decades, but decided eventually to return to Canada and accepted a job posting for the University of Alberta shortly afterwards. “When I got the interview,” he joked, “I told them not to worry about business cards, because I could just cross the phone number off and write a new one.” It is only recently, in fact, that Dr. Dipple has worked solely in a non-administrative capacity. Up to and through 2021 he served as chair of the Department of Social Sciences here at Augustana, dealing with program development and personnel management. This year is the first in which he has taught more than only two courses in the entire year. Most of his research projects, many in collaboration with researchers from other universities, focus on the origins of Protestant theology and analyses of prominent Anabaptist figures.

When it comes to courses, it’s immediately clear where Dr. Dipple’s wheelhouse lies. The list of courses he is instructing this year include History 300 (a detailed study of the Protestant Reformation, theology, and its historical context), History 294 (one of the yearly trips abroad, offering in-person classics instruction in Italy and Greece), and History 121, the feature class for this article. This being said, his favourite course within the last few years–one of them, at least–has been his First Year Seminar, focused around the history and brewing of beer. “All of the courses have gone so well this year,” he admits, “I think the students are just so enthused about being back in person.” Indeed, History 121 has been nothing short of immensely interesting during my time within it, and ‘enthused’ is a word that I can confidently use to describe not just the students but the course’s professor. Dr. Dipple has an approachable and humorous manner within and outside of the classroom, varying his lectures with a wide array of pop culture knowledge and frequent queries to his students. A lecture on Rome and Christian persecution, for example, might prompt a whole host of references to Monty Python’s Life of Brian. He approaches questions about textual meaning and deeper concerns with ease and is perennially available with just an email for nearly any question. The actual content of the course is similarly engaging, broken up between well put-together group presentations and lectures; where other history courses might be name-and-date, the construction of History 121 urges students to get into the weeds (as it were) and analyze the reasoning behind the topics explored within. This year, these have been varying cultural and societal movements surrounding religious fundamentalism and violent religious conflict. Historical events discussed have been as wide-ranging as the Crusades, the Sri Lankan Civil War, Roman Judea, and American evangelicalism. As I understand, for those interested, in the winter term History 121 will include such topics as modern genocide and the history of utopian thinking.

I was able to talk to two other students in the course this term, both of whom requested to remain anonymous. Their answers to a few questions about the course are below.

Q: What do you like most about the class?

S1: “Probably the history… the lectures. There’s a lot I didn’t know before.”

S2: “[Dr. Dipple] is pretty good, he’s a good professor.”

Q: Would you recommend this class to others?

S1: “I would. It’s very interesting.”

S2: “Yes.” 

Q: Is there anything you’d like to tell people interested in taking it in the future?

S1: “Pay attention to the presentations other people do, they’ll be important.”

S2: “[Dr. Dipple] is going to ask a lot of questions about the readings in class, so just, like, be prepared.” 

I asked this same last question to Dr. Dipple at the end of our interview, seeing if he had any advice for newcomers. “Take everything I say with a grain of salt,” he said, “and I’ll try to push buttons, just to get interaction, so don’t be afraid.”

Achieving Presentness and Focus in the Digital Age


Whenever Tik Tok reminds me that we are indeed living on a floating rock in the middle of space, my mind can’t help but spiral. This happens at least once a week, and I am constantly full of existential dread (don’t fret, this piece is meant to be encouraging, not nihilistic).

That being said, how can we cope with so much new and readily available information seeping through our devices, yet still manage to remain focused on the tasks right in front of us? In my case, I am easily distracted by pretty much anything, and achieving a state of focus and presentness is not simple. I consider my phone a great distraction, and social media does not help either. Whenever I am trying to accomplish a task, I keep thinking about picking up my phone and cycling through my social media accounts as a distraction. Only, I look at this distraction as more than just a disruption of my workflow, but as an escape from the present.

By actively seeking media as a distraction, one is actively rejecting the present and the task at hand. Additionally, the information that appears in our algorithm often presents content far removed from our lives. This consumption of information foreign to one’s intended purpose at the moment subconsciously communicates that the present is not important. That being said, even if a particular present reality or task is not ideal, what I have learned to do is to actively remind myself why I’m doing said task. Also, imbuing every small component of your task with purpose helps reorient the narrative of the present. By recalling the necessity of the present moment as foundational in achieving a bigger goal or feeling, each small accomplishment becomes more fruitful.

When I am working on something particularly monotonous, I ask someone I trust to hold onto my phone and not give it back until a said amount of time elapses. By removing distractions, silencing notifications, and giving one’s mind a chance to focus on one thing, the practice of mindfulness in the present becomes easier each time. This practice can be extended to various moments, even ones where you are relaxing. I have even started implementing days where I do not permit myself to open social media for most, if not all, of that one day. This has helped me establish a sense of presentness and reduce the mental “noise” caused by too much consumption of transient digital information.

Hopefully, these somewhat scattered observations can encourage more consideration of the present, whatever that may look like for you.