HAPI hulas to educate and entertain at UA

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Courtesy of Jessica Kong

Students from the Hawaiian and Pacific Islander club perform during the 2014 Luau on the UA Mall on April 27, 2014.

Ever wondered what it would be like to experience a real luau but have yet to traverse the Pacific to see one on Hawaii? Well, Saturday on the UA Mall, the Hawaiian and Pacific Islander club is performing an authentic luau for students with limited airline miles.

The luau is the club’s largest event of the year, and the members have been actively planning it since the beginning of this semester. The luau will consist of food from Mama’s Hawaiian Barbecue and entertainment from many local acts, as well as the club itself.

“Some of the anticipated acts include Hawaiian and Polynesian dancers, a traditional Philippines dance called Tinikling and student singing and dance groups, like Dia Clones,” said Celine Bui, president of HAPI and a public health junior.

HAPI was created so that Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students would be able to spread their culture across campus.

“Our club’s fundamental purpose is to educate the Tucson community and about the various cultures in the Pacific Islands through social events, philanthropy and fundraising,” said Wendy Luu, secretary of HAPI and a pre-pharmacy senior.

In order to spread awareness of those cultures through the community, HAPI plans many events such as the luau, because they are not only fun and entertaining but also serve an educational purpose.

The luau allows for the club to come together with professional luau dancers in the Tucson community to prepare for this event, such as Hula Halau and the Siva Maia Polynesian Dancers, according to Trinh Nguyen, vice president of HAPI and a senior studying molecular and cellular biology.

This event not only allows the UA community to learn about the Hawaiian and Pacific Islander culture but also allows the members of HAPI to grow, due to the fact that they partner with these professional dance groups who are also representing the same cultures.

Many members of the club became aware of HAPI through the Asian Pacific American Student Affairs, which also oversees many other clubs, such as: Asian American Cultural Association, Epic, Vietnamese Student Association and the Filipino American Student Association. All of these clubs allow students to spread their love of their specific cultures to the rest of the campus.

The Hawaiian and Pacific Islander club’s luau will be held Saturday on the Mall from 3-7 p.m. There will be food, performances, prizes and raffles, booths from other UA organizations and much more. Tickets for food are $15 for two plates if you buy them at the door and $5 for a children’s plate.

So put on your lei and grass skirt, and learn how Wildcats do the hula.

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