Caf Rio creates scholarships for American Indian students

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

The opening of the Caf Rio on 400 South gives U students more opportunities than just a chance to grab Mexican food.

The Utah-based establishment was expected to contribute $2,500 to the American Indian Services Scholarship Fund at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 9, but ended up nearly tripling its donation.

Dale Tingey, national director for American Indian Services, was overwhelmed by the donation, which was approximately $18,000.

“In the beginning, we were just grateful that Caf Rio was giving us $2,500,” he said. “Now we are just extremely grateful for the extra amount. It’s going to create so many more opportunities.”

Caf Rio donated $12,500 of the total amount while the rest of the money was donated by individuals who attended the ceremony. Bob Nilsen, CEO and president of Caf Rio, said that most people contributed to the fund after learning that it focused on providing scholarships for American Indian students.

“We are thrilled to be opening (the restaurant), but more to be part of this great opportunity,” Nilsen said in a written statement.

The donated money will create 20 to 25 new scholarships, which will vary from $800 to $1,000. The scholarships are available to any U student who is a member of a recognized American Indian tribe.

Anthony Shirley, program coordinator at the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs, said that he was very grateful for every dollar that was donated.

“I would say that we have an average of eight to 12 American Indian students who are currently receiving scholarships from the American Indian Services this year,” Shirley said. “But, with this extra money, the number will hike up significantly.”

Students who receive the award are expected to participate in community service while they are being sponsored, Shirley said.

“Students have to match their work with the money given to them,” he said. “We don’t believe in giving people a free ride.”

Students will be able to apply for these scholarships two months before the 2006 Fall Semester begins.

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