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Scholarship winner hopes 'Hip-Hop' will benefit local youth

By Becca Heistad '09
April 24, 2009

St. Olaf student Andrew Wilson '11 has been named a Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation Scholar for 2009-10 and 2010-11. Wilson was one of only six private college students selected this year to receive the $15,650 scholarship that he will use to launch a community outreach project titled "Hip-Hop Anonymous."

Andrew Wilson '11 is currently enjoying a semester in Australia.
Celebrating its 15th year, the Phillips Scholars Program recognizes and rewards outstanding Minnesota private college students who strive to make life better for Minnesotans with unmet needs through community service efforts. The program supports potential leaders with outstanding academic credentials who intend to dedicate a portion of their lives to community service. St. Olaf is one of 16 private colleges and universities whose students are eligible for the annual award, which is administered through the Minnesota Private College Council.

Wilson, a Northfield native, plans to create a new branch of the Northfield Union of Youth, known locally as The Key, that will use four elements of hip-hop culture -- MCs, DJs, breakdancing and graffiti art -- to provide Northfield youth with a chance to demonstrate their individuality in a community-approved way. "Hip-Hop Anonymous" will build on The Key's mission to "provide power and voice to area youth and create a caring community," says Wilson, who currently is studying in Australia.

Wilson hopes that his new program will help bolster positive opinions of Northfield youth. "We are as assertive and creative as ever and are just striving for a way to express it. Hip-Hop Anonymous will be that expression." Wilson is planning to host free, public events at the Key once his project starts next academic year, including a "large-scale" event at the end of summer 2010 that he hopes will feature breakdancing demonstrations, graffiti art displays and spoken word/slam poetry/rap performances.

The Phillips Scholars Program
The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation supports programs that provide solutions in the areas of self-sufficiency, family strengthening, health care, education, independent living for people with disabilities and the elderly, good relations among people of all races and religions, and art as a vehicle to address social issues. The Phillips Scholars Program perpetuates the legacy of service to others reflected in the lives of Jay and Rose Phillips.

Contact David Gonnerman at 507-786-3315 or