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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Students bringing ‘aloha’ to UA

Mia Yoneko Kalei Websdale tries to recruit members and educate the community about the Hawaii Club during the Wildcat World Fair which took place during Family Weekend Oct. 16. The club invites Hawaiians, islanders, and other community members who want to know more and embrace the ?aloha? spirit of Hawaiian culture to join.
Mia Yoneko Kalei Websdale tries to recruit members and educate the community about the Hawaii Club during the Wildcat World Fair which took place during Family Weekend Oct. 16. The club invites Hawaiians, islanders, and other community members who want to know more and embrace the ?aloha? spirit of Hawaiian culture to join.

Mia Yoneko Kalei Websdale was not born or raised in Hawaii like her mother was, but she visits Kaneohe on the island of Oahu every summer and Christmas vacation.

She never takes for granted the Hawaiian spirit she feels every time she sets foot on Hawaiian soil, and she wanted to bring that same feeling to the UA.

“”It’s all about aloha,”” or the spirit of Hawaii, said Websdale, a sociology junior and president of the newly recognized Hawaii Club on campus.

The goal for the club is to provide a network for people who are from Hawaii or the Pacific Islands and make everyone feel comfortable, bringing that island spirit to the UA, Websdale said.

“”Some of the people from Hawaii have a difficult time adjusting and get lost or homesick,”” she said. “”They can’t just drive home for the weekend like a lot of students can.””

The club meets every other Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the Nugent building room 205.

Websdale’s mother encouraged her to start the club at the UA, being the faculty adviser for a similar club at Northern Arizona University.

She said that both she and the club’s vice president, biology senior Ryan Wong, wanted to start the club this year to create a strong foundation that will last for years after they graduate.

There are roughly 10 to 20 students from Hawaii who have started to attend the meetings, but Websdale said there are many Hawaiian students on campus.

She hopes to incorporate food, hula classes and other fun activities to provide a sense of Hawaiian culture for those who are familiar or unfamiliar with it. 

Wong said that even though he is Chinese, a lot of his family was born in Hawaii and many family reunions have that “”aloha feeling.””

“”The meetings so far have been going well — our first meeting about 40 people showed up — a lot of Filipino students, about seven were from Hawaii,”” Wong said. “”The last meeting, 12 students were from Hawaii and some students showed up who had no connection, who were just interested in learning about the Hawaiian culture.””

“”The atmosphere in Hawaii is very friendly in comparison to being in Tucson,”” Websdale said. “”It’s a different feel here. You either have to be from Hawaii or know culture to feel that spirit.””

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