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Computer science student donates prize money

From left are Jordan Chafe, Student Volunteer Bureau, Sahand Seifi, Wayne Rose, Student Affairs and Services, and LuAnne Kelly, University Bookstore.

By Mandy Cook

When graduate student Sahand Seifi learned he won first place in a university and college store association contest, he promptly handed the $3,000 grand prize over to others he thought could use it more.

Mr. Seifi, a master's student from Tehran, Iran, entered a contest hosted by the National Association of College Stores (NACS) this fall called National Student Day. Memorial University's bookstore is a member of the Oberlin, Ohio-based organization.

The contest encourages university and college students across Canada and the United States to celebrate student volunteerism and social responsibility. Mr. Seifi contributed an article about how the support and community he received from members of the student-run organization MUNIranians helped him adjust to university life in a foreign country. He now volunteers his time with the group in order to give back to the cause.

When asked why he decided to donate the money, he says he thinks his volunteer work is "not even close to the wonderful and unimaginable things" other students are doing at Memorial and other universities and colleges.

"I thought to myself that I do not need such an amount of money since the university, the department and my supervisor are kindly providing for my studies through scholarships," he said. "That was when I decided to donate the prize and the first place that came to my mind was the Student Volunteering Bureau, since they amaze me with the amount of volunteering opportunities that they are providing. I also plan to use some part of the money for improving the graduate student lounge at our department and I will probably use the rest for starting a social web project I am working on with the help of the Entrepreneurship Training Program at MUN's Career Development and Experiential Learning."

Students from Wichita State University and the University of New Hampshire at Durham took second and third place, respectively, in the competition behind Mr. Seifi.