Native Village
Youth and Education news
Volume 2   April 2011

Lunch events building bridges between Native and non-Native students at UM
Condensed by Native Village

Montana: When temperatures are well below freezing, beef stew and chicken soup hit the spot.

But it's not the weather which brings people to the University of Montana's Soup Fridays. It's the camaraderie.

Every other week, American Indian Student Services organizes Soup Friday. U of M  students, faculty and staff gather at the Payne Family Native American Center to enjoy a hearty bowl of stew, chili or soup.

The tradition began two years ago when Fredricka Hunter became director of American Indian Student Services. Hunter  hoped the informal lunch would help Natives and non-Natives build community, bridge cultures and and use the new Native American Center building.

On Soup Fridays, Hunter invites every student hunched over books in the Native American Center for a bowl of soup. Some non-Native students seem surprised by the offer, Hunter said

Connie Thompson was one. Thompson, 50, studies in the center three days a week for three hours. She jumped at the  invitation for a free bowl of Chicken a la King soup.

"Believe me, I'm going to be back," she said, finishing up a bowl.

Each Soup Friday is sponsored by a different department on campus or a community business or organization.

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