Dalai Lama scholarship goes to business econ student promoting kindness at UCI
Recipient inspired by previous winner's Peace Flag Project
Jasmine Fang, a senior business economics major, has been awarded the 2009-10 XIV Dalai Lama Endowed Scholarship, established in 2004 to recognize UC Irvine students with a record of honesty, integrity, fairness and service to others. Applicants must outline a project promoting ethics, peace, compassionate leadership, or local and global responsibility.
Fang will receive a $7,500 scholarship plus $2,500 to support Kindness Month at UCI, which she has proposed for May. Involving dozens of student and community groups, it will feature activities demonstrating kindness, including American Sign Language classes, designing cards for incarcerated mothers, and instruction in making pressed-flower bookmarks.
Participants will be invited to sign a "charter of compassion," vowing to treat others with benevolence. The document will be delivered to the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader.
"I hope to ignite the passion of UCI students, faculty and staff members to volunteer and give back to the community," Fang said. "A kind gesture can truly make a big difference in our world."
This summer, Fang, who is minoring in public health policy and management, taught hygiene and built latrines in rural Dominican Republic. She tutors and mentors students at Estancia High School in Costa Mesa and has served as a peer consultant with the UCI Career Center. She has also been a center attendant at Mesa Court housing.
Through UCI's SAGE Scholars Program - which places high-achieving students in internships with top employers - Fang has worked for a year in global marketing at pharmaceutical giant Allergan.
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Manuel N. Gómez said: "Jasmine exemplifies a selfless commitment to the community through her hundreds of hours of tutoring, mentoring and health education in underserved areas."
Born in Taiwan but raised in Texas, Fang attended high school in Torrance, Calif. She was inspired to apply for the XIV Dalai Lama Endowed Scholarship after seeing the work of 2007-08 recipient Rebecca Westerman. Her UCI Peace Flag Project involved more than 30 student groups creating and hanging 1,000 flags around the half-mile perimeter of Aldrich Park to promote peace.
"The Peace Flag Project really captured the idea that all people, regardless of their religious background or ethnicity, want to live in a peaceful, secure world," Fang said. "I hope my project can help people understand our global interdependence on one another and how our individual actions on the UCI campus make a difference."
About the XIV Dalai Lama Endowed Scholarship: The scholarship fund was endowed in 2004 by private citizens who attended a talk at UCI on ethical leadership and personal responsibility by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The scholarship is awarded annually to honor his visit and encourage future generations to follow the ideals shared by the Dalai Lama, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. Fang is the third Social Sciences student to receive the award since it's founding. For more information, visit www.vcsa.uci.edu/DalaiLamaScholarship.
--Laura Rico, University Communications
--photo courtesy of Cindy Love, University Communications