By Mariah Bennett | Editor-in-chief
The Baylor Hawai’i Club brought its welcoming aloha spirit to campus during its first full year on campus through food, activities and social media.
According to Mililani, in Hawaii, junior Aaliyah Iwamoto – the club’s vice president – Kākou is the key to describing Baylor’s Hawai’i Club. Kākou is a Hawaiian word meaning “all of us together”. According to the club’s Connect, this aligns with the club’s goals for community and cultural education. Iwamoto stated that kākou applies to his stay at the Hawai’i Club ohana or “family”.
“With our Hawai’i Club ohana, we’re all together, and the club feels like my safe space,” said Iwamoto. “I can talk to anyone about history.”
Talk story is a Hawaiian expression of pidgin which is defined as having “conversations with family and friends”. It was featured on the organization’s Instagram – the first of the now weekly articles titled “Aloha Fridays”. These posts are intended to feature Hawaiian words and phrases and are part of the work the club does to educate students about Hawaiian culture.
Thanks to its Instagram account, the club continues to inform its subscribers with news specific to Hawaii and “Mele Mondays” or “Song Mondays”. On these days, Hawaiian songs, artists or Hawai’i Club favorites are posted on the organization’s Instagram story. All of this contributes to the goal of the club for cultural education and dissemination of the aloha spirit in Baylor. These goals are exemplified not only through social media, but also through activities such as making paper necklaces and listening to ukulele music at the L&L Hawaiian Barbecue.
Honolulu junior Brianna Tancinco – the club’s president – said she hopes students see the welcoming nature of the club and want to join.
“The club is not exclusive at all,” Tancinco said. “It’s a place where Hawaiians feel more at home… and for people who just want to learn more about the culture. “
The club welcomes non-Hawaiians, locals and native Hawaiians. The locals are people who live in Hawaii, while native Hawaiians are those who are descended from Hawaiians. Iwamoto and Tancinco both call themselves local.
The organization currently has nine officers and 45 general members. To join, the membership fee is $ 25. The group hopes to have a share of the profits in the future, possibly with L&L Barbecue and merchandise. According to Iwamoto, his biggest event – a luau – will take place in the spring and hopefully feature hula singers and dances.
Ewa Beach, Hawaii, rookie Mayra Honda-Shimabukuro – the club’s social president – is from Hawaii. She said the club made her feel like she was back home, even 3,784 miles from Baylor.
“When we hosted our first social event, we treated everyone like we knew each other,” Honda-Shimabukuro said. “I really felt at home. “