Act locally, think globally
Student taking on local causes wins national award
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This article was published 28/10/2014 (3134 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
An international student from Nepal is being awarded for the numerous contributions he’s made to the University of Manitoba and the International College of Manitoba.
Astitwa Thapa won the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) Elizabeth Paterson Award for International Student Leadership in International Education. The award is given to one international student each year who contributes to the internationalization of education.
Thapa, who now lives in Crescentwood, is studying environmental science at the University of Manitoba. He was nominated for the award by the International College of Manitoba (ICM), which is also paying for him to go to Ottawa to receive the award.
“It was a big surprise because it’s a national award and I was selected,” Thapa said. “The fact that the Governor General will be there is a huge honour. I am very grateful to them for nominating me and recognizing some of the things that I’ve done.”
The fourth-year student is on the board of directors for the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, represents international students to the University of Manitoba Students’ Union, is a member of the University of Manitoba senate, and the president of the Nepali Student Association.
Over his three years in Manitoba, Thapa has petitioned to protect woodland caribou, spearheaded a campus initiative to replace paper towels with hand dryers, and advocated for energy efficient lighting and sustainable food on campus.
“I’ve always been passionate about the environment,” Thapa said. “When I was in Grade 10, I decided to pursue a career in environmental science. My interest just developed, and I’ve been involved in environmental activism for a number of years.”
In 2011, after finishing high school at an international school in India, Thapa came to Canada. He first enrolled at the ICM where they helped him become acquainted with studying here.
“The structure of doing assignments for grades was very strange to me initially,” Thapa explained. “The final exam in South Asia is 100 per cent, where here it might be 30 per cent.”
Melissa Mushikori, student services manager at ICM, said Thapa has passion and boundless energy.
“He was chosen because of his very active leadership. He’s involved in so much,” she said.
Mushikori met Thapa after he graduated from ICM but said that even as an alumnus Thapa was always active in the college.
“He’s present all the time. He’s a very active member of senate at the U of M and lobbying for international students in general,” she said.
Thapa chose Winnipeg as his new home because of the University of Manitoba. He wanted to attend a school that focused on environmental sustainability with a strong research background.
“I absolutely love Winnipeg,” Thapa said. “Other than the winter, it’s a very hospitable place.”
“The fact that cars stop in the middle of the street for pedestrians is something that doesn’t happen in most of the countries I’ve lived in.”
Thapa graduates next year from the honours program and plans to use his degree to become a sustainability co-ordinator for businesses and corporations.