U of M, Crookston Senior Lhakpa Gurung recipient of 2010 Tapestry Award by University of Minnesota University Women of Color

The University of Minnesota University Women of Color (UWOC) recently announced the Lhakpa Gurung 0097.jpg2010 Tapestry Award winners. Lhakpa Gurung, Mustang, Nepal, was one of this year's recipients. Gurung a senior majoring in early childhood education at the U of M, Crookston, accepted the award at a breakfast at the University of Minnesota in Coffman Memorial Union on October 21, 2010.

Gurung is from Mustang, Nepal, which is a small village high up in the Himalayan mountains. It took her at least three days by foot, horse and bus to reach the capital city of Katmandu, in order to catch a flight to Crookston, Minnesota, a world where the daily living, culture and language is very different from hers. She believes in getting involved and is determined to help one human being at a time through numerous interactive presentations, open dialogues, and sharing ideas on issues of equity and diversity, and to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of being a role model for women of color in teaching, research and entrepreneurship.

Sharing her story on the campus and in the Crookston community with women's groups, with those in residential life and other clubs, she can personally have an impact on others to recognize the dignity of every human being. She has an aspiration to work with children and families of diverse backgrounds and needs, and international issues regarding equity for children and their families. As a child, children's literature and toys were few to none for Gurung's family. Education in her village is a privilege, and poverty is common. Despite her background, Lhakpa remains optimistic and determined to provide awareness and education on diversity and global issues.

An integral member in advocating and supporting the mission of UMC's diversity program, Gurung seeks "...to increase and improve diversity awareness at all levels of the university..." and "support outreach, community and service learning opportunities for multi-ethnic students, GLBT students, and women's concerns." Gurung plays an active and vital role in providing leadership in diversity awareness and education for the Crookston campus and the community in advocating the mission of the diversity program.
Gurung knows the need for role models of teachers of color to work with children of color, English as a Second Language (ESL) children, and immigrant families.

Her determination to become a teacher and her aspiration to improve the lives of children, families, and adults in her village is one of the many ways of demonstrating her commitment to support equity and bring awareness to global issues of girls and women in education. This clearly supports her work in equity, diversity, and helps others see the world differently.

The UWOC Tapestry Award is granted to those that help create a thriving campus community where diversity in the widest sense is welcomed and supported. The selection committee particularly seeks efforts that affect the campus climate for women students, faculty, and staff of color.

While many view the ideal model of American society as being that of a "melting pot", an alternative theory is that of a tapestry. A tapestry allows all people to come together to create something stronger, greater and more vivid than each person is on their own but still gives opportunities for individuals to be acknowledged for the gifts each person brings. For more information, visit http://uwoc.umn.edu.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 29 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and more than 40 concentrations, including several online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of about 1,400 undergraduates from more than 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Rae French, coordinator, study abroad, 218-281-8339 (rfrench@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)