Written by: Jasmine White
On Saturday, April 16th, Georgetown’s Hawaii Club held their 20th annual luau. The show featured eight individual dances with around 30 dancers, highlighting the islands of Oahu, Maui, Moloka’i and Hawaii Island. The dances also showcased both modern and traditional Hawaii fashion from pareo skirts to pu’a tops. The group chose this year’s theme to be “A Tour of the Islands” in hopes of dismantling some of the stereotypes surrounding Hawaii and Hawaiian culture.
“Lots of people here have preconceived notions of what Hawaii is or they just think of Waikiki and they don’t think of Hawaii as being eight unique islands with different flavors and so we just really wanted to bring that to Georgetown,” said co-chair Miranda Tafoya (SFS ’18).
Besides it being the 20th anniversary, this year’s luau was also special in that it deviated in many aspects from past celebrations. “This year we incorporated so many new programs; we completely changed what had happened in past years,” said co-chair Nicole Lam (COL’17). Out of the many changes to this year’s luau, the most impressive was most definitely the club’s collaboration effort. Collaborators included The Japan Network, which provided fresh mochi to guests, and the Hawaii State Society who provided dance and live music.
They also collaborated for the first time with Hawaii-based nonprofit IHS or The Institute for Human Services. All ticket proceeds from the event went to this organization whose mission is to aid homeless people in Hawaii. According to an article published last November by the Los Angeles Times, the number of homeless families in Hawaii rose 46% between 2014 and 2015.
While luau is currently Hawaii club’s main annual event, they do have other small projects which they hope to develop more in the future.
“We want to build that family, like the ohana here. It’s just that we’re starting as a small organization but we’re trying to restore [the club] to its former glory,” said Tafoya.
“In the coming years what I’d like for [others to see] is the larger Hawaii network out here, and there’s actually a lot of events focused on Hawaiian culture. It’d be really good for Hawaii club and its members to take advantage of these opportunities and go into the community,” said Lam.
The group also hopes to broaden its brand to students who have no affiliation with Hawaii. “Hawaii club is not just for Hawaiians. We’re a very open, diverse organization, welcoming of all people. We want to share Hawaii with everyone…the culture is so beautiful and rich and we just want to share that with as many people as we can,” Tafoya said.