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Universities honour Aboriginal students with new bursary
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Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Guelph and the University of Waterloo presented three outstanding Aboriginal students with a new bursary award earlier this week in a ceremony at Laurier’s Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work in downtown Kitchener.
The first annual SUNDANCe bursaries, named after the Shared Universities Native Development and Navigation Committee, were launched in an effort to recognize the significant contributions of Aboriginal students to local university campuses.
Laurier’s Collette Hookimaw, the University of Guelph’s Melissa Victor, and the University of Waterloo’s Luane Lentz were the first recipients and each received $890. The three students were recognized for their exceptional leadership in helping to make their campuses and communities a better place to learn and live.
“We have been fundraising and hosting events in the community for several years,” said SUNDANCe chair Sparrow Rose. “It’s a fantastic achievement to be realizing our goals and the positive impact it has on Aboriginal students in post-secondary education. It is time to honour these students and celebrate the committee’s hard work and determination.”
Formed in 2000, the Shared Universities Native Development and Navigation Committee organizes initiatives that educate the university communities about Aboriginal people in an effort to foster a positive educational environment. The committee developed and administers the Aboriginal student bursary.
Monday’s event began with remarks by Laurier president Dr. Robert Rosehart, who received a gift and recognition from SUNDANCe for his support over the years. “Not only has Dr. Rosehart had an extraordinary impact at Laurier, he has always been a friend of SUNDANCe and a collaborator with our initiatives, making it possible for us to be celebrating today,” said Rose.
The evening included a meal of traditional foods and concluded with a performance by women hand-drummers who sang a woman’s honour song. Closing remarks were made by Lianne Leddy of the Serpent River First Nation, who is also a Laurier PhD student in history.
For more information on the SUNDANCe Bursary: http://info.wlu.ca/~wwwsa/data/SUND.html