By Mariah Bennett | Staff Writer
The Baylor Hawai’i Club has brought its welcoming aloha spirit to campus in its first full year on campus through food, activities and social media.
According to Mililani, Hawaii, junior Aaliyah Iwamoto — the club’s vice president — Kākou is key when describing Baylor’s Hawai’i Club. Kākou is a Hawaiian word that means “all of us together.” According to the club’s Connect, this parallels the club’s goals of both community and cultural education. Iwamoto said kākou applies to her time in the Hawai’i Club ohana or “family.”
“With our Hawai’i Club ohana, we’re all together, and the club just feels like my safe space,” Iwamoto said. “I can talk story with anyone.”
Talk story is a Hawaiian pidgin phrase that is defined as having “conversations with family and friends.” It was featured on the organization’s Instagram — the first of now-weekly posts coined “Aloha Fridays.” These posts are meant to showcase Hawaiian words and phrases and are one part of the work done by the club to educate students on Hawaiian culture.
Through its Instagram, the club continues to educate followers with Hawaii-specific news and “Mele Mondays” or “song Mondays.” On these days, Hawaiian songs, artists or Hawai’i Club favorites are posted to the organization’s Instagram story. This all contributes to the club’s goal of cultural education and spreading the aloha spirit at Baylor. These goals are exemplified not only through social media but also in activities like making paper leis and listening to ukulele music at L&L Hawaiian Barbecue.
Honolulu junior Brianna Tancinco — the club’s president — said she hopes students see the club’s welcoming nature and want to join.
“The club is not exclusive at all,” Tancinco said. “It’s a place those from Hawaii get to feel more at home … and for people who are just interested to learn about the culture.”
The club welcomes non-Hawaiians, locals and native Hawaiians. Locals are people who live in Hawaii, while native Hawaiians are those who descend from Hawaiians. Iwamoto and Tancinco both call themselves locals.
The organization currently has nine officers and 45 general members. To join, dues are $25. The group hopes to have a profit share in the future, possibly with L&L Barbecue and merchandise. According to Iwamoto, its largest event — a luau — will be in the spring and will hopefully feature singers and hula dancing.
Ewa Beach, Hawaii, freshman Mayra Honda-Shimabukuro — the club’s social chair — is a native Hawaiian. She said the club makes her feel like she is back at home, even while 3,784 miles away at Baylor.
“When we had our first social event, we treated everyone like we knew each other,” Honda-Shimabukuro said. “I really did feel like I was at home.”