From the Pacific to Hanover: Hōkūpaʻa!
Hōkūpaʻa as a name literally means 'fixed star' in the Hawaiian language, and refers to Polaris, or the North Star. Just as that star is always visible, our organization strives to constantly perpetuate and maintain the Pasifika community on campus. Our members range from students with family roots in the Pacific to students who live(d) in the Pacific like Hawaiʻi and even just students with a connection and interest in the islands. As the only space featuring the Pasifika community on campus, it's really situated at the perfect niche: I met students that shared interests and connections with me, and we as an org provide a unique perspective to Dartmouth's own student community.
But what do we actually do? Every term, we plan events that allow for us to design and get involved with events that center our cultures, both for ourselves and for the enjoyment of the entire campus. These events range from community-building events, to workshops, to our annual lūʻau open to all of campus in the spring.
Because food is so central to our cultures, we often theme our events accordingly. One of my favorite events (and one that's featured on the picture for this post) is the termly breakfast. Many of our members hail from Hawaiʻi, so these breakfasts usually involve using ingredients that don't make appearances at the Class of 1953 Commons or Collis Cafe. We'll get pineapple juice, cook spam and rice, and just cook ourselves a home-cooked meal that reminds us of breakfast back home, wherever home may be! Other days, we'll have a group dinner catered by some of the amazing Asian restaurants in town like Tuk-Tuk, Sushiya, or Han Fusion. Usually, we time these meals to coincide with busy weeks so that it also functions as a much-needed study group — good food and great company never go wrong.
For some of our other events, we like to host workshops or lectures that center prominent issues and topics related to the Pasifika community that usually aren't talked much about in classrooms. During my first-year, Hōkūpaʻa invited a Native Hawaiian activist to campus to speak about ongoing protests on Mauna Kea against the construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope. During the fall of my junior year, we invited a hula practitioner and professor from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo to host a hula workshop where we could invite our friends to learn about the history of hula and even practice one ourselves.
At the time of my writing this post, us in Hōkūpaʻa are neck-deep in preparing for our annual lūʻau. Hosted every term, this event involves us inviting Hawaiian musicians to campus, a hula performance by our members, and tons of food catered from Hawai'i. Open to campus, it's a way for us to share Hawaiian culture with the student body. As a junior this year, this will be my very first lūʻau on campus because of our pausing the event during the global pandemic, but I'm super excited to see it come to fruition and to be able to share it with everyone!
This is just a little about our org, and if you are a student interested in joining Hōkūpaʻa, feel free to reach out! Especially if you're a prospective student, we'd love to have you and can't wait to meet all of you when you arrive on campus. Aloha a hui hou!