NEW STUDENT ISSUE 2021
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NEW STUDENT ISSUE 2021
ADVISOR LeeAnn Lambert EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Abbie Putnam ART DIRECTOR Katie Mower COPY EDITORS Amanda Penrod Micheal Kraft MULTIMEDIA JOURNALISTS Madi Berry Leiani Brown Adam Case Athena Chen Alexandra Clendenning Carlene Coombs McKenzie Connell Laurin Goodwin Hailey Huhane Serena Dugar Ioane Hannah Jones Elle Larson Xyron Levi-Corpuz Bruno Maynez Alyssa Odom Noah Shoaf Anna Stephenson Lisi Tiafu Greg Tivles Alexander Tumalip Haley van der Werf
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GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Emily Hendrickson Sadie Madriaga Marlee Palmer PHOTOGRAHERS Ulziibayar Badmadorj Mark Daeson Tabbilos VIDEOGRAPHER Uurtsaikh Nyamdeleg CONTACT Email: email@example.com Phone: (808) 675-3694 Fax: (808) 675-3491 Office: BYU–Hawaii Aloha Center 134 NEWS CENTER BOX 1920 BYUH Laie, HI 96762 PRINTER Print Serivces FRONT AND BACK COVERS: Students sign an I-beam that was included in the infrastructure of the new Science Building on campus. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos Editorial, photo submissions & Distribution inqueries: kealakai@ byuh.edu
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We are so excited to begin classes here this Fall and to give you help to navigate your time here at BYU–Hawaii. These stories are a collection of articles written by our staff throughout the past year and will let you know some of what campus, students and the community have to offer. Take a look, and stay tuned for our next issues brought to you every month!
The Ke Alaka‘i Staff ABOUT US The Ke Alaka‘i began publishing the same year the University, then called the Church College of Hawaii, opened. It has continued printing for more than 60 years. The name means “the leader” in Hawaiian.What began as a monthly newsletter, evolved into a weekly newspaper, then a weekly magazine and is now a monthly news magazine with a website and a social media presence. Its vision is to increase faith, passion and perspective by sharing inspiring stories.Today, a staff of about 20 students work to fulfill our vision for BYU–Hawaii’s campus ohana and Laie’s community.
© 2021 Ke Alaka‘i BYU–Hawaii All Rights Reserved
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CON T E N T S CAMPUS LIFE 8 Ready to lead – The Kauwe’s
FEATURES 60 Skating the Phillipines: James Astle
12 Leave your mark signing event
64 Senior Feature: Pablo Poblete
14 Painting through finals event
68 Graduation Speaker:
16 BYUH resources for students
Terrence Dela Peña
18 BYUH student app
72 Non-member: Ereen Ilaban
20 Great Ideas competition
74 Air Force to professor: Stuart Wolthius
24 The Give and Take
78 Inspiration from Jeff Merrill
26 Campus Resources for mothers
80 LGBTQ+ at BYUH
28 Car buying tips
84 Pacicic Islanders Pritus Kuitolo
30 Joining Enactus class
& Adrianna Metta
32 The power of neighbors
86 Instructor Becca Strain & hiking
34 Careers in conservation
90 Experiences from returned missionaries
38 Advice from professors
92 Scuba diving: Curt Christiansen
39 College survival kit
96 Stories through photography:
40 Making the most of your internship 42 Dates on a budget
98 Dining Facilities’ Wendy Lau
44 Campus construction
100 Surfer: Race McBride
46 Fundraising money for prosthetics
103 Story Telling: Jeff Collins
50 Restoring Hawaii's natural splendor 54 Culture Night 2021 58 Transportation on the North Shore
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100 YRS IN LAIE
108 Family Owned: J-slip sandals
144 Celebrating 100 Years of Laie
148 Goo's old plantation store
112 Keeping Hawaiian
152 Piecing together the
David O. McKay Mural
116 Bargaining at the Swap Meet
154 20 fun facts about BYUH
118 SOS Save our snails
156 Memories of BYUH basketball
120 Teaching Samoan to local children 122 Hawaii's ban on sunscreens 124 China and the Church 128 Best beaches on Oahu 130 Safeguarding Hawaii’s Sea Turtles 132 Digitization of Hawaiian Scriptures 138 Filming of the Book of Mormon in Hawaii
140 Hurricane preparedness
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CAMPUS C O M M E N T S Wha t do you wa n t to b e in t h e fu t u re ?
BY LIS I T IAFAU
Ma tt Lucas, a freshman from Idaho majoring in biology, said he was inspired by a family friend to become a physical therapist. He said, “Physical therapy is an interesting career. I am also a sports person, so I started to get interested in becoming one in the future.”
Munkhzu l Ga lbadra kh, a senior from Mongolia majoring in hospitality and tourism management, said she wants to build her own tourism company. “I love to travel. I want people who also love to travel to be able to find the best places with great prices, including cultural experiences they will never forget.”
Adr ianna h Metta, an alumna from Papua New Guinea who graduated in Fall 2020, said she wants to pursue a career in public administration. “I am very passionate about anthropology, and I am looking to further my study into the dynamics of culture and leadership,” Metta said. She shared she is looking forward to integrating what she has learned in anthropology to leadership.
Mahinalani Pulotu, a junior from Kailua majoring in social work, said she wants to use her major by helping children in Hawaii, build healthy families and homes. “Families are very important. I want to work with them so their children won’t end up with other families or in foster care. I want to help them establish and build strong and healthy families where children can stay and be safe.”
Graphics by Katie Mower. Photos by Ulziibayar Badamdorj.
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ready to lead
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John and Monica Kauwe share experiences that prepared them to lead BYU–Hawaii BY LEIANI BROWN
hen John S.K. Kauwe III realized he was being offered the position of president at BYU–Hawaii, he and his wife, Monica Kauwe, said their first thought was, “What? Us?” Regardless, the couple, living in Orem, Utah, prepared for the difficulties of moving a family of seven across the Pacific to begin their new life. “It is an incredible challenge and privilege to be asked to be part of such a great university,” said John Kauwe, who succeeded John S. Tanner as the 11th president of BYUH on July 1, 2020. According to Church News, he is the youngest-ever president of a university owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is also a descendant of Kaleohano, one of the original native Hawaiian converts of the early Church on Maui. Kauwe said, “I know the incredible potential that is here on campus, in every student. The fact I get to have a part in building the foundation for their future and launching them to be successful in both secular and spiritual things makes me really happy and excited.”
“We have a life that has prepared us to be comfortable with people from anywhere and to understand how important those different viewpoints are.” He said their life experiences have prepared them to “be balanced and realize in every conflict there are two different sides… and to think about them in a complex way.” One such conflict, he shared, was the proposal to build a scientific observatory on Mauna Kea, land considered sacred to Native Hawaiians. He said he knew key players on both sides of the argument. Many of his friends were interested in hearing his thoughts as both an elite international
scientist and a Native Hawaiian with deep connections to his homeland. During the height of the Mauna Kea conflict, Kauwe said he wrote a social media post expressing he wasn’t obligated to feel a specific way based on either his role as a scientist or his heritage as a Native Hawaiian. Kauwe said finding balance with all the different influences in his life is important to him and has been a flashpoint for both good and bad. “I have 100 percent had times in my life where I was treated poorly because I’m brown. I’ve had times in my life when I felt like I wasn’t brown enough. I understand all those feelings. I felt those things, and I understand
A life prepared Dr. Richard Gill, department chair of biology at BYU in Provo and a good friend of Kauwes’, said they were hired by BYU at the same time and connected over a shared interest in building student diversity in the sciences. “I can’t imagine somebody whose life would have prepared them better to take on the opportunities and challenges that exist [at BYUH],” said Gill after hearing the news of Kauwe becoming president of BYUH. Kauwe said he and his wife felt they had been uniquely prepared for the task ahead. BYU–Hawaii President John S. K. Kauwe and his wife, Monica, came to Laie in July 2020. As a teenager, Kauwe liked in Molokai and graduated from high school there. Photos by Monique Saenz
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why people are sensitive in those contexts.”
Upbringing and culture
In addition to Hawaiian, Kauwe explained he has Chinese, Maori and Portuguese ancestry. “Many of us are raised in multiple cultures, multiple places and with multiple influences. Over time, you identify with a main culture, but you still have meaningful parts of your life and your identity that are part of those other cultures. And so that’s kind of who I am, as I was raised in a family that was very strongly Hawaiian.” Kauwe shared he grew up cooking using an imu, a Hawaiian pit oven, in his backyard in Utah. He explained because he felt very comfortable in his Hawaiian heritage, moving to Molokai when he was young felt natural. Kauwe graduated early from Molokai High School as valedictorian, but he stayed connected to the school, “offering research and mentorship opportunities to promising science Moloka’i students,” according to The Molokai Dispatch. He explained Hawaiian customs were a part of his upbringing, as well as speaking Pidgin, which he said he occasionally slips back into when around family and friends. He shared an experience a few years ago where he took a student back to Moloka’i to do some research, and after talking with his uncle for 40 minutes, the student asked, “What language were you speaking?” Despite his Hawaiian ancestry’s heavy influence, Kauwe explained he finds value in all his cultures and life experiences. “For me, it’s not like we’re trying to say we’re this or we’re that. I value all the parts of my heritage and have identified with them at different parts of my life for different reasons.” Experiences serving a mission in Japan, living on multiple islands of Hawaii and working with youth in inner-city St. Louis, Missouri, are all experiences that have helped him, he said. These experiences placed him in a position where he could find balance within the pressures of culture and “the discomfort so many of us feel when we’re at the interface of those cultures and we’re not sure where we fit,” Kauwe explained. On top of all those complexities, he said there is a spiritual pressure of maintaining a testimony, despite any cultural and societal divides. “I feel like the Lord has prepared us with our experiences to be able to sit at that interface and have meaningful conversations with everyone, listen to everyone and show love to everyone. And hopefully, find some 1 0 KE AL A K A‘I 2021
solutions that maybe work better than some have in the past.”
Running with it Monica Kauwe said she first met her husband, John, through his cousin, one of her high school classmates. The two ran into each other years later at a 10K race John Kauwe said he had not initially planned on running. “I didn’t even sign up for that race,” he explained. “I just showed up that morning on a whim. I woke up and thought, ‘I should just go run that race today,’ and it changed my life.” John Kauwe shared a key aspect of his wife’s character is her ability to bring people together. “Even when we lived in St. Louis and we weren’t around family, she was always the person who got groups of people together and made them feel loved. For us, that involves great food and friends, but it’s deeper than that. It’s valuing people and feeling how important it is for them to get together and feel welcome in one place.” Although neither of them are runners, the Kauwes shared when they met at the 10K race, they were both preparing for a marathon. Both of their running partners had also recently dropped out, so they decided to start training together, explained Monica Kauwe. John Kauwe said he calculated it once, and he and his wife had run a total of about 200 miles together before they ever went on their first official date. Gill said he noticed their strength as a couple. “Monica is every bit [John’s] equal. She is compassionate and kind.” He said John Kauwe has the capacity to look outward and help others because of “the incredible work that he does in Alzheimer’s research and humanitarian work, in part because of Monica’s capacity to create a secure and nurturing place in their home. They are equally yoked, and they do amazing things together.” Although they don’t do much running anymore, the Kauwes said they value their children and any time they can spend together. “Our whole marriage we’ve continued to stay friends, and as much time as we can spend together, we do. It’s really rare for one of us to go off and do something separate from the family because we just like to be together.” Kacey Sorenson, a senior from California studying English at BYU in Provo, said she got to know John Kauwe during a school-sponsored trip to Samoa. As they drove around the
island visiting schools and screening children for rheumatic heart disease, Sorenson said she and a few other students would sit in the back of the truck and listen to him talk. “You get a sense that his Hawaiian heritage is super important to him,” said Sorenson. She added one of her most memorable experiences was listening to him list each of his children’s names and detailed explanations of how and why they chose each name. “You could see how important his Polynesian heritage is to him in how respectful he was towards the Samoan people we were with and how respectful he was to other people.”
The simple life Monica Kauwe worked for almost two years in the pharmaceutical industry before becoming a full-time mother. John Kauwe has spent last year as dean of Graduate Studies at BYU in Provo and made key contributions to discovering new genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. He is an internationally recognized researcher with 85 peer-reviewed publications, according to the McKay School of Education at BYU in Provo. Gill added he was impressed to watch his colleague take a professional leave once so he and his family could spend a summer in Moloka’i. Gill said it was difficult to do with how productive his research career was at the time, From the beginning, Sorenson said she noticed despite all of his accomplishments, John Kauwe was still very approachable. “You get this sense he is this remarkably capable person who maintains this groundedness and humility. He has this awareness that [he] can be smarter and more successful than anyone else but… [still] roll up [his] sleeves and do the grunt work because [he’s] just like anyone else.” John Kauwe said he and his wife are not complicated. “It’s funny because we feel like we’ve been given this big responsibility, and we should be more special and complicated than we are, but we’re not. We just love our kids and love our family. We have fun being together and try to take good care of the people around us.” •
The Kauwe family. Photo by Monique Saenz
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BYUH ohana become a permanent part of the new science building at the Leave Your Mark signing event BY ANNA STEPHENSON
he Leave Your Mark event gave people an opportunity have their names become part of the campus infrastructure and to celebrate the progress made on the new science building, as listed on BYU–Hawaii’s University Events website. Students and staff signed a beam that was placed in the rafters of the new building, allowing students to become a permanent part of the BYUH campus. The event was organized by James Brown, the director of Design, Planning & Construction, and was a take on a construction industry tradition known as a “topping out ceremony,” he explained. This ceremony takes place when a building reaches its highest point, normally a Christmas tree or flag is placed on the top beam and the workers share a toast or a meal, Brown explained. “In this instance, we wanted to include students in a way a small tree on top would not,” he said. “It is our hope that all who have signed the beam will always feel a part of the structure and BYUH.” He also hopes to include students in this way in other construction projects around
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campus and has even proposed installing a time capsule. Brown emphasized the investment the Church and University are making in the students and faculty here, especially with the recent construction. “Each of these structures represent the faith and sacrifice of the full membership of the Church and represents the hope and love of their Savior, whose church this is,” he said. New structures, he explained, such as the improved science building, will help attract and serve people from around the globe to uplift and educate one another at BYUH. Industrial I-beams, so named because of their resemblance to the shape of the letter I, are usually not decorated. However, the beam propped up in front of the Academic Advising building on March 23, 2021 was covered in a thick, smooth coat of dazzling white paint. Sharpies stood at the ready for students. Anyone passing by could write down whatever they wanted on the beam. The beam will not be visible to students or visitors after it was installed the day after on March 24, 2021, according to Laura Tevaga, assistant to the president. While it will be exposed, the area of installation is not
one with public access. Brown said the beam is installed at the highest point of the new science building. Student Life representatives were present for part of the day during the signing and passing students and staff were able to contribute.“I was here for lunch,” said Samantha Hanson, a senior marine biology major from Florida. She wrote her name and her year in school on the pole before leaving. She said the opportunity to write on the beam was fun. Other students were quite thoughtful about the event. Sateki Vaenuku, a senior hospitality and tourism management major from Tonga, said, “This is my last semester. … [The science building] is a new building for new students, so it’s pretty cool to have your name on one of the beams.” In a way, he said it will make him a part of the campus, so he can continue being a “living student.” He wrote his name and drew the flag of Tonga on the beam. The writings on the beam consisted of signatures, dates, drawings and encouraging messages in many languages. The building is not expected to be completed until 2022, according to Orange Cone, which tracks construction around the BYUH campus. •
Above: BYUH President John S.K. Kauwe signs the I beam. Top right and bottom: Additional members of the BYUH ohana sign the same beam that was placed at the top of the new science building. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos.
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the way BYUH students painted freely, socialized with students and enjoyed treats in the last student event of the semester BY ALEXANDRA CLENDENNING
rax Tapan came to paint therapy night with his own sponges and a toothbrush to create galaxy themed artwork. He said he was inspired to create the piece because the creation of the universe amazes him. “I really appreciate the creation of outer space. It amazes me how small we are on this earth. In outer space, I believe there’s more people out there, and I believe there’s more amazing things out there, and I just can’t wait to know, explore and see its beauty.” Sydney Sears, a senior from China studying business management, organized the painting activity as part of the New Student Experience team under the Ho’okele department. She said, “One student (Tapan) messaged us before and asked about the art supplies we were going to have here at the event. … It’s interesting to see what people came up with.” She said her goal for this event was to have as many students as possible having fun, relaxing before finals and enjoying their free time with friends and peers. With finals coming up, she said she thought the students needed something more relaxing and grounding, like art. On June 9th, 2021, the hale pavilion at BYU–Hawaii was loud with music, smiling students and colorful art pieces for paint therapy night.
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Surrounded by creativity As students settled in for their night of painting, many chose to bring their own colors and paint whatever they felt inspired by. Amidst the chatter, one student said they were impressed by their peers’ creativity because they saw another student using their fingers as paint brushes. Faith Crabb, a junior from Utah majoring in computer science, said she was impressed with the paintings she saw while wandering around the event. She praised all of the students who came out and brought their creativity with them. “I was so impressed by how creative everybody was … [and] the kinds of things people could do. It just looked like everybody was having so much fun.” Another artist in the crowd, Meira Stanger, a junior from Arizona studying psychology, explained her painting experience sprouted from having a mother who is a professional artist. “I grew up with her always painting in the house or giving me art tips and encouraging my siblings and I to enter art shows, so I would say my art is due to her influence.” Stanger painted a crashing wave with deep blues and bright whites, inspired by the nature here on Oahu. Tapan, a freshman from Manilla Philippines studying biochemistry, also attributed his art skills to his mother, who he said would constantly encourage his siblings and him to draw, paint and create. He explained, “I grew up in a family where we’re not really allowed to play games or watch TV. Our mom encouraged us to do a lot of artwork. … When I entered elementary school, I loved doing art projects, and when I was in high school, I was a part of art clubs where we did big projects in our school like murals and competitions.”
Emphasizing mental health Sears noted this event was intended to bring the students together in times of high stress to forget about their assignments to take care of themselves. “I feel like many students can get stressed with finals. When I get that way, what helps is spending time with my friends and doing something creative that doesn’t require much mental thought or concentration.” Megan Ketchum, a senior from California studying accounting, acknowledged school can be particularly stressful during finals, so having an event where she can go and relax is critical for her mental health. Ketchum explained being around people and getting to know friends and peers allows her to feel like herself again after enduring the pandemic. She expressed how difficult it has been to not have the opportunity to socialize with new people, so this event helped her reconnect with herself. Ketchum added how although she loves spending time with her close family and husband, she felt meeting new people would give her a new experience. “I needed someone to talk to beyond my own family because I can talk to my family all the time. … It’s nice to have more people around, to have fun and talk.” Averi Strickenberger, a senior from Colorado studying psychology, emphasized the event was full of support and was a “no-pressure” environment for creativity because there was freedom to create anything in a supportive environment. “I feel like this event helped me to recharge.” Ketchum added it was “fun to hear people and to have a party. Everyone was super supportive of everyone. It was nice to see all the support and love going around.”•
During finals week, the Ho'okele Department hosted a painting night to help students relax and have fun before finishing up the semester, says the student organizer Sydney Sears. Students show what they created. Photos by Ulziibayar Badamdorj
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for students at BYU-Hawaii Learn more about special deals available to students BY ALYSSA ODOM
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1. The Media Production Center recording studio If you have a song or podcast you would love to record, you can follow these steps and the Media Production Center will help you.
Step 1: Submit a project request
form on BYU–Hawaii’s University Communications & Relations website at https://ucwebform.byuh.edu/ form/media-production-centerproject-.
Step 2: The media production center
will review and approve your project. According to MPC sound technician, Riley Weston, a junior from Oregon studying computer science, huge or long-term projects cannot be taken on by the MPC. “We want people to have the opportunity to record their content. We will do our best to work with people who have prepared content and a real desire to get it recorded.”
3. Microsoft Office 365 is free for all students All you need to use Microsoft Office is your CES Net ID and password. BYUH’s website says, “Office 365 is available to students and university employees at no cost. The license enables users to install a full desktop version of Office applications on five personal computers as well as five Windows tablets and/or Ipads and multiple smartphones.” Office 365 includes both online and offline access to documents and editing. The download will come directly from Microsoft. The software will only continue to work while you are a current student or employee of the university. When your role as student or employee is terminated, the software becomes read-only. Download Office 365 using the link https://oit.byuh.edu/ O365Desktop.html.
4. BYUH C-Store
2. Free movie streaming for all students on campus Watch a variety of movies and TV shows from BYUH’s free movie streaming service, using the link movies.byuh. edu provided by Seasider Activities. To watch them, you have to have access to BYUH wireless services.
BYUH C-store BOGO (buy one, get one free) deals. Check out the C-store inventory at the end of the night, from 9 p.m. onward, to see what leftovers there are for the day. When over in inventory, the C-store offers bentos and drinks at a discount of buy one get one free. The BYUH C-store deals and discounts change weekly, check out the announcement board in the store as well as the Facebook page, BYU-Hawaii C-Store.
5. Discounted Adobe membership for graphic design majors If you are a graphic design major, you can get Adobe software at a discounted price. All other students can get a student discount on Adobe software by going to adobe.com. The discount for graphic design majors can be found on the BYUH “Student Center.” Adobe Software Purchase for Graphic Design Majors only. Once payment is made, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of your receipt. You may also contact Darryl at 808-675-3206 if you have any questions. Amount: $48.
6. Travel deals when booking with the BYUH Travel Office Staff members at BYUH Travel Services are ready and willing to help students book travel at the best cost and quality. Come to the travel office to find discounts on flights, rental cars, and hotels. Graphics by Lynne Hardy and Katie Mower
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ALL IN ONE
Student developers create campus mobile app to make online tools more accessible BY ELLE LARSON
elf-motivated student developers created BYUH Student, an unofficial school app that makes returning and new students’ lives easier with one-touch links and an interactive map of campus to navigate. Alger Aranda, a BYU–Hawaii alumnus of 2020 from the Philippines, praised the BYUH Mobile App because he said it provided easier access than the school website to the most frequently used student resources. “With the app, you don’t have to worry about memorizing the tools’ URL [because] it provides you with the most used tools with the click of a button.” A key developer of the project and BYUH alumnus from China, Ray Xu, said, “It takes longer to navigate on the website, and when you close the browsers, you have to do it again, but with the app, you just need a few clicks.” App Tools Xu said he wanted to create an “all-in-one” app to help students be more successful scholars. The app includes access to the following: 1. The cafeteria menus, updated daily. 2. A detailed map with cartoon icons that uses your location, if allowed, to pinpoint Photo by Ulziibaya Badmadorj.
where you are and help you find your way around campus. The map also has a search feature to find classrooms and buildings you need and connects to Apple Maps to provide directions and arrival times. 3. A “tool kit” containing various BYUH tools chosen for a student’s convenience, such as: Student Center, Canvas, Seasider’s online orders and Stellic Mapper. The tool kit also offers a truth table generator, a normal distribution calculator and an event pass. 4. A link to university events, such as the Malamalama ceremony, firesides and registration deadlines. Xu said he is excited for new students to benefit from the app, especially when they might have a hard time finding classrooms and other places around campus. The BYUH Student app was launched last year, on Sept. 28, 2020, and accumulated 152 users in the first two months. Looking forward Xu encouraged students to give the developers feedback or any suggestions for needed features that would be helpful for everyday use. “We need the student’s voices,” he said.
“Please let us know what are you looking for in the BYUH app.” You can leave feedback in the email to the address included in the “About” page in the app. As of now, the app is BYUH approved, but it is not an official school app. Feedback on the BYUH Student app will contribute to the creation of an official school app like those of other university campuses. Laura Tevaga, the director of communications and marketing, said, “Ray and his team are off to a great start. We are excited about the feedback as it helps them to gather about what students would like to see as the University explores developing an official app.” App developments have slowed down in the last year because of the pandemic, said Ray. He hopes BYUH will get to work developing an official app to fill student needs and facilitate student life. How to download The developing team said unfortunately, the app is only for iOS users and is now optimized for iOS 13. To download the app, go to the App Store and download BYUH Student.•
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TAKING LEAPS OF FAITH The 2021 Empower Your Dreams competition shows the commitment BYUH students have to making a difference in the world BY XYRON LEVI CORPUS & ABBIE PUTNAM
rom getting plastic out of the ocean, to opening a barber shop in the community, to selling affordable goat milk products in the Philippines to fight poverty, BYU–Hawaii students show they are committed to serving others around the world. Ali Barney, one of the second-place winners in the Math & Sciences category of the Empower Your Dreams competition, is part of the team Poly Plastic Fuel, a business started to clear the oceans of plastic. She said, “We envision taking our project to Kiribati, not so we can earn money and get rich, but so we can help solve [this] problem. We want to help make their lives better.” She said they eventually want to share their technology with the world. According to Spencer Taggart, an entrepreneurship professor in the Faculty of Business & Government, said starting a business is one of the biggest leaps of faith. “It requires faith to take action. The greatest action comes because of faith – faith to move forward, to take a step, to turn the key, to open the door, to make that payment, to design that product, to open that website, to enter a competition.” Taggart said the 2021 Empower Your Dreams competition differs in two ways from past competitions. First, he said this is the first year the competition was held completely online. Although he was worried not as many
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students would participate because of this, he said the 157 teams who competed this year made it the largest group of participants the competition has ever seen. There were four categories:Young Entrepreneurship, Arts & Humanities, Professional Studies and Math & Sciences. Jason Scott Earl, an entrepreneurship professor at BYUH, said the advantage of this was it put the students on equal footing and leveled the playing field. He said it is not uncommon for the best entrepreneurs to be students who are not business majors “because they usually have passion and knowledge for their course studies. So, we’re trying to take that and combine it with a business model that works. Bring your passion and discipline and turn it into something that could actually scale, feed your family and create jobs.” This is also a great opportunity for students to learn about business ideas from those in the same major as them, he added. Taggart said, “Regardless of what major, these competitions are for you. We hope people from different departments, teams and [with different] ideas get to win, which they will.” He said they want students to “be inspired and motivated to go start businesses.” He wants this inspiration to come to students because he said he believes running your own business is “a wonderful way of life” because “opportunities are endless.” It doesn’t
matter if a student is a mathematician or an English teacher, a personal trainer or an artist, he said if a student has a skillset and a passion, they can make a successful business out of it. On April 1, 2021, the final round of the Empower Your Dreams competition was held via Zoom. Taggart said the original 157 participants were whittled down to 12 finalists. On behalf of the Willes Center for International Entrepreneurship, he congratulated the 12 teams. “No matter what, every one of these finalists are going to walk away with a minimum of $1,000,” he said. He commended the participants for their impressive work. “I’m so proud, and I know Heavenly Father is too. He is grateful for your work and your courage and your faith.” Princess Stephanie Donato Astle, one of the four judges of the competition, said, “This competition is just a small portion of the bigger picture.” She said the real winners are the ones that continue to develop their business and urged all competition participants to continue following their passion and learning from their mentors. The first-place winner in each category was awarded $5,000, second place $3,000 and third place $1,000. During the Zoom event, Taggart said he hopes the students use the cash award to change their life by investing in their future.
Arts & Humanities Category Astle announced the winners for the Arts & Humanities Category during the Zoom event.
1st place: HI Fade Barber by Ka’imi Horito Horito first moved to the North Shore during high school. He said he soon noticed the lack of local barber shops and said people were driving all the way to Kaneohe or Haleiwa just to get a haircut. He said he dreamed of opening up his own barber shop. Upon saving enough money, he said he eventually opened up a two-man barbershop run in a tiny shack in Hauula. Eight months later, in April 2020, he said he got a lease in the Laie shopping center. “Unfortunately, when COVID hit that really impacted us, [and] that was definitely an obstacle to overcome for me,” he said. Running his shop as a full-time student has been a challenge, he admitted, but what helps him is knowing his business serves others. “As much as the community supports us, I feel like we are supporting the community one individual at a time, and that’s something really special.”
2nd place:Wood Crafts by Tania Delinila & Karizza Llanera “We are a team of aspiring entrepreneurs, committed to use our creativity to make personalized gift items. Our sole purpose of teaming up was to put to good use our set of skills,” Delinila said. Towards the end of November 2020, she said they started their small business selling Christmas wood slice ornaments. “After hitting our breakeven point at six weeks with a profit margin of 80 percent, we knew selling laser engraved materials has a lot of potential. We wanted to capitalize on that.” She described their business as “timeless.” Llanera said they are currently expanding their business by selling wedding invitations and favors, using an e-commerce Shopify store and collaborating with other businesses.
3rd place: Sempi Co by Ally Pack, Cameron Cameron & Tanner Fernandez “Here at Sempi Co, we truly believe happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of Jesus Christ. But for many of our Spanish speaking families, it’s nearly impossible to find Spanish [Church-themed] home decor that is modern in design,” Pack said. “So, that’s where I came in,” Pack continued. “I knew I had the passion and the skills to make their dreams reality. … I’m the lead marketer and designer here at Sempi Co. I oversee all our paid advertising campaigns on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.” Fernandez, chief officer of operations at Sempi Co, said, “I have five years of experience working interior design for a local studio here in Orem, Utah, where I’m located. For the last year, I’ve managed all the e-commerce sales and production for that studio.” He also can speak Spanish because he served a mission in Spain. These tools have helped him assist his teammates in expanding Sempi Co, he said. Cameron, CFO of Sempi Co, said, “I’m currently majoring in finance and I’ve articulated financial plans for multiple small businesses. This has really allowed me to maximize our profit margins by reducing costs effectively.”
Professional Studies Category Judge Nancy Hill announced the winners for the Professional Studies Category during the Zoom event.
1st place: Home Help by Eli Clark Clark said it is a struggle for homeowners in the Philippines to hire skilled plumbers and construction workers. Many of them are overpriced, don’t finish the work in a timely manner or are not readily accessible, he said. Home Help is a website for Filipino companies and builders to find reputable builders. Clark said taking advantage of the online market helped him the most. When the pandemic happened, the Philippines adapted by moving businesses online, he explained. “Almost overnight, internet-based industries [grew] tremendously because of their increased demand.” Quoting the International Trade Association, he said, “The need for social distancing has pushed the caste-centric and face-to-face shopping culture towards a more digital one, and this is expected to continue.” Because of this, he said his online listing service has high potential for success.
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2nd place:The Space SavingWater System by Franz Kuutti Kuutti said growing up in Florida taught him the importance of being prepared for natural disasters, such as hurricanes. “The National Hurricane Center says whenever hurricanes come, every family of four needs at least 20 gallons of water storage. But stores run out fast,” he said. People who live in Florida try to combat the water shortage by storing jugs in their garage. “The problem is it takes up a lot of space,” he explained. His product is a five-gallon jug which has a removable top section. “It’s made in different sizes … so they can all be stacked, screwed together and fit inside of each other.”
3rd place: Prosperity Pastures by Jordan Richards Prosperity Pastures aims to produce and sell affordable goat milk and goat milk products in the Philippines, Richards explained. He served a mission in the Philippines, came to love the people there and said the main issue in the country is poverty. In order to fight poverty, he said Prosperity Pastures “hopes to provide job opportunities in the community … and help promote better nutrition for the [Filipino] children.”
Math & Sciences Category Lindsay Hadley, one of the four judges of the competition, announced the winners for the Math & Sciences Category during the online event. 1st place: North Shore AdventureVan by Hazel Johnston and Bailey Bird Bird said Oahu received around 10.5 million guests during 2019. However, Johnston explained only 1.5 million visitors made it to the island last year. “Because of the Coronavirus, people were scared of airports, hotels and using rideshares and rental cars,” Bird elaborated. Johnston said to provide a solution to this problem, they converted a van into a hotel and rental car in one, allowing Oahu’s visitors to not only come and go as they please, but also to reduce their expenses by half.
2nd place: Poly Plastic Fuel by Sterling Kerr and Ali Barney According to the United Nations, 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year, said Project Manager Sterling Kerr. Barney, whose position is public relations, said this problem seems obvious even on Laie beaches, where recycling efforts are made. She urged people to consider how serious the problem is in other countries where recycling is difficult. Kerr said they felt they had found a solution for the plastic problem using a process called “pyrolysis.” Leslie Harper, manager of the BYUH Sustainability Center, said, “Pyrolysis is the process of taking plastic or any material and heating it in a container that has no oxygen.” Through this process, he explained the plastic resumes its original form because certain components are removed. Kerr said they are focusing particularly on removing diesel fuel so the plastic can be used again.
3rd place: Nasty Pizza by Sarah and EmilioValenciano Emilio Valenciano highlighted the problem of technology stealing away time with loved ones. “Statistics say an average American family spends only about 37 minutes of quality time together per day. In comparison, we spent over 180 minutes on our phones scrolling through social media.” He said one way to spend more time with loved ones is by playing a game together. “The Nasty Pizza is a card game full of [pizza cards]. The main objective is to avoid getting a nasty pizza card. Each nasty pizza card corresponds to a punishment everyone agrees on at the beginning of the game.” These punishments could range from doing 10 pushups to smelling every player’s feet, he elaborated.
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Give Take &
Students can find on campus their favorite things for free
BY HANNAH JONES
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oing to the Give & Take can help students save money and discover unique clothes and other items. Randy Olson, a junior from California majoring in finance, works at Give & Take. He advised, “You never know what you’re going to find there, but it’s always of value.” Inosi Kinikini, a freshman from Fiji majoring in biomedicine, said, “It has been so useful. It saves me money and it saves time. They have what you need.” Other students shared Kinikini’s enthusiasm. “Give and take is my life,” exclaimed Min Edwards, a junior from Oregon studying exercise science. Edwards said she could go on for days about how great Give & Take is, and said “being able to find something that you love and use for free is pretty awesome.” Olson shared his favorite part of Give & Take. “I love how everyday there are new items being brought in and how we are able to make people happy. Donations are freely accepted. Pretty much everything is accepted. Think before you throw away because people can really use your stuff. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Having found flashlights, goggles, and furniture, Olson said, “[I] highly suggest it because I’m sure there is something every student can find there that will be beneficial.” Edwards explained how she always tends to find her favorite clothes there. “I have entire outfits I wear on a daily basis from Give & Take.” She said she loves finding something for free and being able to use things others don’t need or want anymore. Kinikini’s favorite aspect of Give & Take is also the clothing. Having found his favorite T-shirt there, he said. “It has all these beautiful clothes. They have a lot of good T-shirts at the Give & Take. I can save tons of money.” Olson said he likes Give & Take because of the money he saves going there. “There have been a lot of things that are pretty beneficial.” He added, “The staff is super friendly, and they speak many different languages. If you’re looking for something you can’t find, they will be sure to find it for you.” He laughed and joked, “You could even find a boyfriend or girlfriend in there.” Edwards said Give & Take is a resource under utilized by the students. She laughed and said, “I kind of don’t want to suggest it to other students so they don’t go and take my stuff.” Olson added, “People need to take more advantage of it.The community has taken more advantage of it than the students.” While acknowledging not everyone finds treasure at Give & Take, Edwards said, “When you go to Give & Take, just keep an open mind and be patient. See the potential of what you’re looking at.” •
Clothes, bedding, books and household items can all be found at the Give & Take on campus next to TVA apartments. Photos by Ulziibayar Badamadorj
“I have entire outfits I wear on a daily basis from Give & Take...keep an open mind and be patient. See the potential of what you’re looking at.” Min Edwards
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S E C R U O S E R S U P CA M S R E H T O M FOR Student mothers share gratitude for nurses and new-mom kits while suggesting a daycare and TVA policy updates BY SERENA DUGAR IOANE
chool resources like TVA missionary nurses provide necessary care and relieve stress, said BYU–Hawaii student mothers. Also, efforts from the BYUH Women’s Organization to give student mothers newmom kits made being a mother in school less challenging, they said. Alyssa Orrego, a recent alumna who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English, said she is happy the school is mindful of mothers and families. “BYUH has so many young families, and all the resources they provide for us show BYUH is a family-friendly school, and it values education no matter what situation you are in.” Suvd-Erdene Boldbaatar, a senior from Mongolia majoring in human resources, said “We can’t raise children while studying and working at the same time anywhere else. But BYUH provides this opportunity for us. I just can’t thank the school and nurses enough for this wonderful opportunity.”
Nurturing nurses Boldbaatar said she received help from three different TVA missionary nurses. “First, Sister Black, [a previous missionary nurse] drove me to the hospital when I gave birth to my first son. Then, Sister Edgar replaced Sister Black. “Sister Edgar taught me many useful skills 2 6 KE AL A K A‘I 2021
to care for my newborn, such as how to shower. Now, Sister Bulkley is helping me with my second son. She is a very nice and helpful person. She checks my blood pressure and checks if I am having postpartum depression or not. Her care makes me feel that I am loved and cared for.” The current missionary nurse is Sister Judi Bulkley, who came in September 2019. It is her fourth mission, she said. She served in Connecticut with her husband. Then, she served in the Marshall Islands and Washington, D.C. as a missionary nurse. Bulkley works with the BYUH Health Center and is assigned to work with TVA mothers and babies. She visits mothers before they give birth to educate them about pregnancy. After they give birth, she visits them at least three times to inform them about postpartum depression, immunization, and caring for newborns. She also conducts “Keiki Corner,” a weekly activity, where mothers discuss motherhood issues and exchange information, and children can come and play with toys. Orrego added her experience with missionary nurses. “Sister Edgar helped me with my first son. It was very helpful since I was an inexperienced new mom. Now, Sister Bulkley helps with my second son. I know most of the things but still have some
questions. . . Everybody needs that extra help.” Student spouse and mother of two Cathy Elisan said, “My first daughter has Ohtahara syndrome, which is a neurological disorder that causes seizures. Even though she is 3 years old, she is like an infant. Sister Edgar helped me and comforted me many times when I was alone and far from home.” Jislene Tevi, a mother of three from Vanuatu, was alone when she gave birth to her second child, because her husband was in New York on a Career Connect trip making connections with professionals. “I was about to give birth, but I didn’t have anyone to help. I called Sister Edgar, and she helped me to go to the hospital. She also stayed with me in the hospital. Now, Sister Bulkley is helping me with my third son. She helps me with my postpartum depression and gave me the new-mom kit.”
New-mom kits Nancy Eastwood, president of the BYUH Women’s Organization, said, “Initially, it was Sister Edgar’s [the previous missionary nurse] idea. She approached us, and we supported the idea. Many of the new student mothers are far from home and
need help. It was one small thing we can do for them.” The organization contacts bishops and Relief Society presidencies to know who needs the kits and distributes the kits through the missionary nurses. Eastwood said they have distributed more than 80 kits. New-mom kits have diapers, wipes, baby clothes, baby hygiene products and breast care products for mothers. Trempty Akau, a sophomore from the Solomon Islands majoring in social work, gave birth to her third son recently and said she was happy to receive the new-momkit. She said, “We bought the big stuff like a crib, stroller, but didn’t buy the small things yet. But our son came out four weeks early, and we were not ready. However, the new-mom kit had almost everything I needed, and we are very grateful for this gift.” The Women’s Organization raises funds for scholarships for students who need financial
help through luncheons and bake sales. They provide $300 scholarships for more than 20 students every year in May. The scholarships are available for every BYUH student, and according to Eastwood, over the years many of the recipients have been student mothers. The organization also runs the “Sub for Santa” charity project for married students every December. The women work with bishops to find out what their ward members need. Eastwood said the Laie community helps the organization by donating toys, gift cards, clothes and other useful things.•
Breast care products
Blankets and baby clothes Toys
Baby hygeine products Bottles and diapers
RIGHT: Sister Bulkley helps a student mother, Suvd-Erdene Boldbaatar, care for her newborn son in TVA. Photo by Serena Dugar Ioane
Graphics by Hannah Manalang
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Car buying tips Take time to learn a little about cars and the registration process in Hawaii BY ADAM CASE
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iding the bus and hitching rides with friends is fun for a semester, but students said that can get old. When buying a car, they said find a friend who knows about cars, try adding your car to your parents’ insurance, and always use a code reader to find out if the car you want to buy has any mechanical problems. Finding a car Foster May, an accounting major from South Africa, just bought a Nissan Pathfinder. “I searched Facebook and Craigslist for a couple of weeks. I found a lot of good deals, but I never was motivated enough to drive across the island to check out a car. Finally, I found an ad for an older Pathfinder on Facebook. There wasn’t a lot of information on the ad, but the seller was very quick to respond and seemed honest - so I went to go look at it in Mililani. It has some mechanical problems that I haven’t identified yet but it seems like a good car.” Some sources that students mentioned finding good deals on cars were: • “BYUH Buy and Sell” page on Facebook. This is a private page you can join where they sell everything from cars to baby clothes. • Craigslist. Students recommend bringing a friend who knows about cars to check and make sure the car a working properly. A few students have unknowingly bought cars with major problems because they didn’t know what to look for, they said. • Ask friends who are graduating or leaving the island. Students end up selling
their cars cheap because they are leaving soon. • Consider shipping a car from the mainland. It usually costs $1,000 to $1,500, but you will have a car that you already know. Colton Roney, a senior studying phycology, shipped his car from home for around $1,000. He said it is worth it to ship one over because it is hard to find something of quality here. Insurance Insuring your vehicle is very important and should be done before you drive it anywhere. Most policies can be set up online or by phone. Some companies students have used are Geico, Island Insurance, and Allstate. Something important students mentioned doing was pairing up with their parent’s insurance policy. Hauk said he is on his parent’s AAA plan. Some mainland companies will not insure a car in Hawaii but, if possible, cheaper rates may be found this way. SAFETY AND REGISTRATION A big road block in getting your car ready for the road is safety and registration. The first step would be to get your safety check done. This can be done with most mechanics and costs around $20. They check and make sure your car is in proper working order. Students mentioned that places like Jiffylube and other well-establish businesses aren’t as lenient. Once you get the first inspection done, they give you some paperwork you can take, along with proof of insurance, title, and possibly other documents depending on your situation found at http://www.dmv.org/ hi-hawaii/car-registration.php, to the DMV. The DMV in Kaneohe usually has shorter
lines but other DMV’s, like in Aiea, let you take a ticket and come back in a few hours when they are ready for you. The cost of registration is more expensive in Hawaii than it is on the mainland and is based on the weight of the car instead of the price. One very important thing to know about registration in Hawaii is back taxes. It is important to buy a car that has been registered recently or you may have to pay any unpaid registration tax on the car if it has been unregistered. For example, if I buy a car from a man who has not registered it for three years, I must pay those three years of registration to get it registered instead of just paying this year’s fee. This can quickly add up to thousands of dollars. After paying your dues at the DMV, you must go back to where you had your car inspected and show them that you did your registration to receive your stickers. Then you are done, until next year… Repairs There are a few students on campus who have knowledge of cars. Roney, who said he has helped many friends with their cars, said a lot of cars here have problems with batteries, cooling problems, and leaky hoses. He suggests using a code reader to find out what exactly is wrong with the car before you buy it because most cars in the price range students are looking at have the check engine light on. •
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CHANGERS Students in Enactus create projects focusing on social entrepreneurship to improve lives on a global scale, says faculty advisor and professor BY ELLE LARSON
attica San said he loves to be part of Enactus because he feels blessed to have the opportunity to help the people back home who struggle in poverty, which he was able to escape. “I used to be poor. I used to sleep on the street and eat rats and insects. So, I understand the feeling of wanting to live like normal people.” San, a senior from Cambodia majoring in business management with concentrations in finance, supply chain, operations and analytics, competed with the BYU–Hawaii Enactus team the three years the team won nationals. He said he originally planned to study political science to help his country politically, but through his experience in Enactus, he knew he could contribute in more meaningful ways as an entrepreneur. “I can help my country through opening up different small businesses that all these poor people can benefit from,” he explained. He said he loved listening to the innovative ideas his competitors at the Enactus competitions presented. “Listening to them inspired me. I thought, ‘Yes. This is what I want to do in my life.’ I want to do projects that are innovative that can benefit poor people, help them increase their income and improve their living standard.” Lehonti Ovalle, a senior from Guatemala majoring in business management–economics, said, “You don’t have to wait until you graduate to do something good in the world.You can start today.” What matters most A part of BYU–Hawaii’s Enactus group, Ovalle works as a project manager for his Rice Up Guatemala team, where they empower
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Guatemalan farmers to practice efficient business and farming techniques. Paul Wilson, BYUH Enactus primary faculty advisor and assistant professor in the Faculty of Business & Government, explained Enactus is a global organization that focuses on social entrepreneurship within universities. He said when you join Enactus, you will help the planet and create experiences that will impact your life forever. Wilson stated what matters most in college isn’t grades, but the people you meet and the experiences you have. “Your grades are important now, but it’s those experiences and people that will make a difference in your life and be remembered.” BYU’s Enactus President Eli Clark explained Enactus allows people to live life-changing experiences, find their passion and do something that matters. Clark, a senior from Idaho studying business management with a supply chain, operations and analytics concentration, said he has enjoyed many unique experiences because of his work in Enactus. “As I’ve looked back on the last three years of my life, there’ve been so many wonderful experiences. “I travelled internationally, competed internationally and I’ve been able to take all the things I’m learning in class and apply them to a real project that has an impact on real people. … It’s really meaningful.” Going for gold There are about 300 universities that compete in the nationwide Enactus competi-
tion. Of these, one school is chosen to represent the whole country in the Enactus World Cup, said Wilson. “We’ve been doing it since 1991. The very first time we won the national championship was in 2015, and we took second place at the World Cup.” Wilson said the BYUH Enactus team won the national competition in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and in this year’s competition, the team placed 8th nationally with Mike Jarvis’ project ReefSavers. Though the team only competes with one or two projects, Wilson said they generally have 10 to 15 different projects going on at once. The Enactus class In addition to the Enactus competition team, Wilson said he and Spencer Taggart, of the Faculty of Business & Government, teach the Enactus course, Entrepreneurship Leadership Practicum. The R in the class name, ENTR 201R, means the course can be taken repeatedly. Wilson explained students who enroll in the class choose a project to accomplish by the end of the semester. Students can do anything from tackling a Peter Hollens course on how to make money on YouTube, which the Entrepreneurship Department has, to applying for funds from the Willes Center to help with their own businesses. Throughout the semester, he said students collaborate with mentors, listen to guest speakers and go on field trips on and off the island to work on their projects.
Wilson explained they try to give students many opportunities to find a direction for their careers. “This is a great class to discover what you want to do with your life. It’s not difficult, but it is very rewarding to accomplish your own personal goals.” Clark encouraged students to “try to get involved sooner rather than later” because their “time here at BYUH is so precious and so short.There’s so much you can do if you put forth the effort. Come, get training, find a great group of friends, make an impact and do something that matters.” Funding real-world experiences Ally Pack, a junior from Idaho majoring in business management–marketing and graphic design, said she took the Enactus class the last two semesters while working on her business, Sempi Co. “I love Enactus because it encourages small business creation.” She said the class teaches students how to take their passions and turn them into something that makes money. Pack and her team won first and third place in BYUH’s Great Ideas and Empower Your Dreams competitions, earning $4,000 in grants from the Willes Center of Entrepreneurship, she said. Her first semester in Enactus, she explained, she made a goal to develop a marketing plan for Sempi Co. “I spent hours each week
researching, designing and coming up with new material for marketing content.” She said she collaborated with other students in the class working on similar projects too. “The culture [of the Enactus class] is very success-driven in a supported way,” Pack said. “We were given all the tools and resources we needed to succeed. All we needed to do was take advantage of them.” Ovalle described Enactus as “a good place for start-ups” because it, combined with the center of entrepreneurship, offers the skills needed to turn great ideas into a reality. Wilson said not every project is successful. Many student businesses start in Enactus, get funding through the Willes Center, and then don’t succeed. “That’s OK,” he shared. “To me, that’s what Enactus is all about. It gives students a space to fail, and to fail in a way where they can learn and it not be absolutely devastating.” Clark agreed, “Enactus gives you an environment to practice and to fail and to keep trying … without having to worry about having enough money to survive.” Get involved Wilson said the best way to get involved is to enroll in ENTR 201R, the Enactus class, or visit https://willescenter.byuh.edu/enactus/ to learn more.
Clark said you do not have to be a business major to join Enactus. “Some of our members have majored in things that aren’t even related to business, but they’ve provided so much perspective into what we do and how to increase our impact.” He said what Enactus needs most is “more projects and students who want to make an impact and aren’t afraid to go for it.”• The BYUH Enactus team pictured at a competition. Photo courtesy BYUH Willes Center
There’s so much you can do if you put forth the effort. Come, get training, find a great group of friends, make an impact and do something that matters.” ELI CLARK
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Michaela Eisenhut crashed on her skateboard at one of the roundabouts in Laie. She said when she woke up, local people were there to help her out, and people have continued to help her as she recovered. She is a freshman from California. Photo by Ho Yin Li.
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The power of
NEIGHBORS Longboarding accident reveals Good Samaritans in Laie BY MCKENZIE CONNELL
fter suffering a concussion as part of a longboarding accident, Michaela Eisenhut said support and help from the Laie community, fellow students and the university have helped her on the road to recovery. Eisenhut, a freshman from California majoring in Pacific Island studies, said she was almost home when she crashed her longboard near the temple. “I was going really fast on my longboard and then took a really sharp turn going into the roundabout. I hit the curb, and I just remember flying off,” Eisenhut said. She said the next thing she remembered was “waking up slightly. Everything was super, super hazy, and my head hurt really bad.” Two Laie community members assisted Eisenhut; Luke Moffat, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and neighbor to Eisenhut, along with a woman whose identity is unknown. Moffat said the accident was right in front of his house. “It’s funny how it all came together in hindsight. If you’re going to faceplant on your skateboard, then there’s no better place to than in front of a temple. “She opened her eyes, and she was just so scared. I talk to her now, and she’s a totally different person. ... I have teenage daughters, and my heart went out for her,” he added. After coming to, Eisenhut said the first thing she asked Moffat was, “Are you a
priesthood holder?” Moffat said he was indeed a priesthood holder and gave her a blessing. Eisenhut said the next thing she remembered was “the paramedics coming and then putting a brace around my neck.” Moffat said although he had never given a blessing in an emergency with nonmembers around, he felt “totally calm.” After the blessing, Eisenhut calmed down, and soon after the ambulance arrived, he said. As all of this was going on, Eisenhut’s roommate, Jasmine Green, a freshman from Florida majoring in communications, said she was at home, unaware of what had just happened. When she heard what happened, Green said she “dropped everything and ran outside [and was] freaking out.” Once at the scene, Green said she met the two witnesses who explained what they saw. Eisenhut was taken to Queens Hospital in Honolulu, and Green, along with their housemate Kawena Murray, followed behind her. After arriving at the hospital, they waited six hours for Eisenhut to be released. Due to COVID-19 safety measures, neither of her roommates were allowed inside the hospital. Friends and fellow classmates came together on social media, posting requests for prayer and blessings for Eisenhut’s quick recovery. Eisenhut, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said she felt the faith of all those who assisted. “It gave me a really strong testimony of the power of the priesthood and the beauty of our
town here in Laie. I had so many people there to help,” she said. Moffat said he was impressed by her faith and used the experience to teach his young daughters. “To teach your daughter the importance of priesthood, I give her parents props. Kudos to her folks for teaching her right,” he said. Eisenhut said she was concerned about her classes and getting assignments in late. However, when she received a message from the BYU–Hawaii Dean of Students Melba Latu while she was in the hospital, Eisenhut said her concerns were alleviated. Latu was encouraging and told her the school is there for her. Her health and safety was their top priority, explained Eisenhut. “I decided to withdraw from my classes this semester and start fresh next semester,” Eisenhut added. She said she hopes she can share her recovery through social media. Eisenhut said an anonymous fellow student delivered multiple pizzas boxes to the girls’ apartment during Eisenhut’s recovery. Eisenhut and Green said throughout the entire experience, both girls felt blessed by the support each individual who assisted them gave, from both fellow students and non-student members in the community. “I was surrounded by people who are strong in the faith, and it is amazing. I have so much support around me,” Eisenhut said. “I am really grateful. BYU–Hawaii is awesome. It is such a great school, and I am so grateful to be a part of it.”• N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 33
Save the planet, GET PAID
Hawaii-based conservationists share their paths to success through gaining well-rounded skills, and not being afraid to change career paths
BY ANNA STEPHENSON
hree conservationists said finding a career in conservation after graduation can be daunting, but not impossible. Savili Kamuela Bartley, Jr., from Waianae, said he went from working in IT, to traveling around the world as a volunteer working on conservation projects with elephants, coral and plastic-related effects on the environment. He currently works as an intern at the Loko Ea fishpond in Haleiwa. He said, “If there are volunteer opportunities at nonprofits that you are interested in, go for it. Check different website platforms to find available positions, such as conservation job boards or conservation careers. Also, if you are able or are interested in traveling, I 100 percent would recommend this because you will view the world in a totally different lens, and it will open your mind to so many things.” Rae Okawa, from Kawaihae, said she got a master’s in environmental studies and started out as a field researcher in Pennsylvania. She said she then switched to a development coordinator for the Hawaii Wildlife Center and has worked there full time since 2012.
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She said, “You can take what you’re good at or what you’re interested in and find a way to work it into conservation. And don’t get discouraged if your path changes along the way. It happens. “If hard-core science and research is your thing, then great! If it isn’t your thing, that’s also fine. Perhaps environmental policy or law is more interesting to you. There’s also environmental education and outreach, media and communications, graphic design and more.” She explained all these are helpful in the conservation field. Rebecca Choquette, from Pearl City, said she studied veterinary science for two years before she decided she wanted to work in conservation. “The biggest setback I faced,” she explained, “was realizing and admitting the goal I had set for myself, veterinary medicine, needed to change. It wasn’t what I wanted to spend my life doing.” Choquette said this was a “painful realization” because she had already been studying veterinary medicine for two years and had wanted to be a veterinarian her whole life. However, after school, she landed the “perfect job” at the Reptile and Keiki Zoo at the Honolulu Zoo.
Following his passion around the world Bartley said, “From a young age, I was always fascinated with the ocean and knew that I wanted to be a marine biologist. With that dream, I took a marine science class in high school and then decided to focus on biology in college.” Bartley said he attended a university in Iowa because of a scholarship. He graduated in 2017 with a degree in biology because the university he attended did not have options in marine biology, he explained. After school, he said he could not find a job within the biology field, so he worked in IT for two years. Because working at a desk was difficult, he said he saved his money and eventually told his boss this was not the right job for him. “After that, I vowed to myself that I would never work behind a desk again, and I would pursue my passion for biology through conservation.” He then went abroad by seeking out hands-on working opportunities in Asia, he reflected. In Thailand, he worked with Asian elephants. “With this opportunity, I lived in a rural hill-tribe village about a six-hour drive from Chiang Mai. I lived in a villager’s hut. … Every morning we would hike out to find the elephants we were observing.” He said he collected data to help people learn about how to work with the elephants in an ethical way and also “immersed [him]self within this different, unique and beautiful culture.” He said, “I also was very keen to start networking within this niche internationally and see where to go from there.” After Thailand, Bartley said he visited Malaysia and built a “new coral nursery and [learned] how to properly propagate healthy corals in a new location. I did this on a beautiful island off the eastern coast of Malaysia, ... the Perhentian Islands.” Indonesia and Bali were next, he recounted, but Lombok, the island next to Bali, was the most productive. “In Lombok, I made connections
with a nonprofit that focused on educating the local communities about sustainability and the negative effects of plastic pollution.” Being able to travel and see the world cemented Bartley’s dedication to conservation, he said, because he wanted to do all he could to make the world a better place. He said he was able to do research with sea urchins and the effects of zinc oxide. However, due to the pandemic, Bartley said he had to leave Indonesia and return to Hawaii. “I told myself when I go home, I will dedicate my time to deepen my roots in my Hawaiian culture, all while trying to make a difference through conservation work.” He started working with Kupu, a Hawaii-based conservation and sustainability centered internship placement and service-learning program, where he was accepted into the Loko Ea program. The Loko Ea fishpond in Haleiwa is taken care of by the Malama Loko Ea Foundation. He said Loko Ea has become very special to him. “I felt the mana of this place, and I knew this is where I will deepen my roots and grow as an individual, as a student, as a Hawaiian and as a conservationist. The work we do here is more than aina work, it is a haven for all our native animals and plants to make a comeback. “Loko Ea is a space for the community to leave their problems at the gates and forget time. This place is where our keiki and our future generations can come to learn hands on and connect to the past by recognizing the foundation that has been laid out by our kupuna. The work we do at Loko Ea is important for the land, for the community and for Hawaii.” Bartley said his advice to new conservationists is to jump in with both feet and take every opportunity possible. He said to get involved in volunteer opportunities that interest people and check job boards and postings. “Everyone has their own path, and my path has led me to Loko Ea. So the next question is, where will yours lead?”
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Preserving nature through different disciplines Okawa said, “I was born and raised on Oahu and always knew that I wanted to come home after grad school to work in Hawaii conservation. “I went to Cornell University for college, graduating in 2010 with my bachelor’s in biological sciences and then attended the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 2012 with my master’s in environmental studies.” She then found a job as a field researcher but found it difficult to do the job from Pennsylvania. She said after searching, she found and landed an internship at a well-known environmental nonprofit organization. During her work with the organization, she reached out to the Hawaii Wildlife Center to inquire about receiving assistance in creating a conservation fundraising plan. Okawa then got a job there as the development coordinator. She said, “There are certainly days when I miss being out in the field, banding birds and checking nest boxes. However, that’s more than made up for by the fact that my work with the Hawaii Wildlife Center has provided the resources for hospital and rehabilitative care for nearly 2,000 native Hawaiian birds and bats since I first began working here.” Okawa said she pins her success on flexibility. “The conservation field is quite broad. I wanted to be well-rounded, so I tried to fit in areas of study outside of my biology degree, completing courses in environmental law, natural resources management and economics. “When I went for my master’s, I shifted gears and focused more on education, outreach and communication and also took courses in environmental policy, nonprofit management, quantifying sustainable business practices, philanthropy” and others. By being flexible and well rounded, she said she was able to avoid setbacks and disappointments by letting her circumstances guide how she would work in the conservation field. She advised current conservation students to follow in her footsteps by remembering there are many opportunities in the conservation field. Preserving nature, she said, requires a multitude of different professions and disciplines all working together. Okawa encouraged all conservation students to take at least one course in communications, citing how being able to effectively communicate with people will be a key skill in any profession they may go into.
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Perseverance is key Choquette grew up on the Big Island then moved to Oahu to attend college at UH Manoa, she recalled. “Moving from a rural environment on the Big Island to an urban one on Oahu for college was a difficult adjustment. When I started college, my goal was veterinary medicine.” She said during school, she volunteered for various veterinary opportunities but decided to change her major to zoology. She said this was challenging and “switching majors also meant it would take me longer to graduate, and I was mostly paying my own way through college.” She said she worked as a waitress in Waikiki to support herself during this change. Choquette said she has “a passion for reptiles, amphibians and insects. All the weird, creepy-crawly animals many people dislike.” She said she applied to the Department of Land and Natural Resources for field work, but “by coincidence, a few months after graduation, a position opened in the reptile department of the Honolulu Zoo.” She said this was the “perfect position for me.”
Now, Choquette is the working supervisor for the Reptile and Keiki Zoo at the Honolulu Zoo and has been working there for 27 years. Choquette explained the staff at the Honolulu Zoo work with the DLNR to “breed and exhibit Kamehameha butterflies, which are the Hawaii state insect.” She said these butterflies are endangered. “We also breed Amastra cylindrica land snails, a species that was extinct in the wild until DLNR began a reintroduction program. … They are on display here, helping to educate local folk and visitors alike about some of Hawaii’s endangered species and the challenges they face in our current environment.” The Honolulu Zoo’s Aloha ‘Aina Conservation Fund supports conservation in different environments and has many partners, Choquette explained. Animal keepers from the Honolulu Zoo often participate in research projects all over the world. Overall, she explained, it’s an important force for conservation. •
Graphics by Sadie Madriaga.
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WORDS FROM THE WISE BYUH professors offer advice and encouragement to current students
BY LISI TIAFAU 1. Isaiah Walker Faculty of Culture, Language & Performing Arts “Surround yourself with professors, advisors and peers who believe in you.” 2. Stephen Hancock Faculty of Arts & Letters “Don’t study by reviewing or re-reading. Test yourself and reflect.” 3. Marcus Martins Faculty of Religious Education “Get your degree as fast as you can and get out of here.” 4. Scott Hyde Faculty of Math & Computing “Make sure you never lose that raw naive curiosity that got you interested in learning in the first place. Don’t get too wrapped up in seriousness. The universe is a cool place. Exploring it is fun!” 5. Troy Smith Faculty of Business & Government “There are no shortcuts to success.” 6. Benjamin Jordan Faculty of Natural Sciences “Embrace learning as a way to improve yourself and your understanding, not just a means to get a grade.” 7. Susan Barton Faculty of Math & Computing “Never put off until tomorrow what you can and should do today. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring in terms of what you need to do or unforeseen challenges that may eat up your planned study time.”
Graphics by Katie Mower.
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COLLEGE SURVIVAL KIT headphones
phone charger mints/gum
Here’s what you’ll need to pack for your daily trip to campus. Photo by Mark Daeson Tabbilos. N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 39
a sneak peek
into the future
Career Services employees say students should prepare now to make the most out of their internships BY LAUREN GOODWIN
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mployees at Career Services and students who have completed their internships advised students to prepare by discovering what they are passionate about. They said an internship gives students a sneak peek at their futures and can help them know if they’re on a career path that is right for them. Preparation is key Kenneth Kalama, manager of Career Services, said his job is to support, advise and consult students on internship experiences. He explained an internship isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience, so preparation is an important part of the whole process. Kalama explained, “What you want to do professionally may differ greatly from your co-workers. Before you do internships, it’s important to explore where you want to live, what you want to do and what you want to get out of the experiences.” He said once students figure out those key components, he can help them narrow down the search. According to Kalama, preparation is the key to finding what you want to do in life professionally. He said, “Thinking about the experience a year in advance is really important.” He stressed that in order for him to help students, they need to know what they want out of their internship; the student is the only person who knows what he or she wants. Career Services Mentor Camilla Paul, a senior from Malaysia majoring in interdisciplinary studies, said her job is to help students with the internship application process. “When students come to me for the first time, I ask them what their interests are and what they are looking for,” she explained. She said she helps students to dig up their desires and helps them with what they need. If students don’t know what they want from the beginning, Paul said they often will just pick whatever comes their way and they may not enjoy it. Do your research She explained when students put more effort into researching their internship, they feel the experience is more fulfilling. She commented, “The students learn more from their internship when they explore their options. It’s better when you know your interests.” Paul explained because there is no limitation or restriction placed on where
Career Services employees Hidden Canite and Camilla Paul. Photo by Ulziibayar Badamdorj.
students can go, the options are endless. So she said doing research about a place or organization will help the student get more out of the internship experience. Know what you want Munkhzul Galbadrakh, a senior from Mongolia majoring in hospitality and tourism management, recently completed her internship in Montana. She said, “I really enjoy nature and natural settings, so I knew I had to go somewhere close to nature.” When Galbadrakh was going through her internship application process, she said an opportunity arose where she had a chance to intern at a Marriott hotel in Utah. However, Galbadrakh said she knew she wanted to be close to nature. “I did an internship in Montana, and it was the right place for me. I found everything I wanted there.” Galbadrakh said she enjoyed her internship experience and learned the importance of communication. “In the work field, I have
learned that being an effective communicator is an important skill,” she said. Galbadrakh said doing an internship she enjoyed gave her the opportunity to learn things efficiently. The lessons she learned will stick with her for life, she explained. Naimila Aluesi, a senior from Tonga majoring in hospitality and tourism management, said her internship exposed her to the real world. “I was able to practice what I learned in class in the real world,” she shared. She said her internship has helped her understand what she wants to do after she graduates. Aluesi said, “[During your internship], you are not only representing yourself, but you also represent BYUH, so go out and do your best.” She said an internship will give students a sneak peek at their future and will help them know if they will enjoy their current career path or not. She stated, “Having an idea of what you want to do now can help you in the long run.” •
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Dates on a budget: Laie edition
BY MCKENZIE CONNELL
mall town entertainment provides budget friendly date opportunities for BYU–Hawaii students. Laie is filled with inexpensive and fun date opportunities provided by the University and surrounding community. Whether you are dating, engaged or married, these dates provide opportunities to get to know your partner in a fun and exciting way that doesn’t break the bank.
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1 Bookstore rentals:
Check out the BYUH Bookstore for cheap beach day rentals. For only $6, students can rent a volleyball and net for a day. Take it on down to Hukilau Beach and enjoy the waves and the sand. The bookstore also offers
One of the closest waterfall hikes the island has to offer in Laie is Laie Falls, a 7.9-mile hike that requires a permit for usage. Pack some snacks and a swimsuit and prepare for an exciting day trip.
At home restaurant dish recreation:
Laie is lucky enough to have beautiful weather all year round and the beach is a great location for a picnic. Instead of spending money on basic PB and J sandwiches, visit your friends and ask for their help. Collect food and finish the date at Hukilau or Temple Beach with your mismatched picnic basket.
Copycat recipes are easy to find online and will be cheaper than going out to the restaurant itself. Cooking together will also allow for time to get to know one another and requires team effort.
Isabelle (Izzy) Hanson and Jaden Hills
BYUH Give & Take:
The Hukilau Marketplace is home to many shops, but that does not mean you have to buy anything. A sneak peek into the Polynesian Culture Center, the Marketplace is a great place to window shop and find some treats.
Thrifting is the new treasure hunting. For 30 minutes of service at the BYUH Give & Take, located behind TVA (Temple View Apartments), students can take home all sorts of quirky items. From your finds, see who can put together the funniest outfit. • • •v
demonstrate date ideas in Laie. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos. N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 43
Constructing a c a m p u s that builds leaders
Construction manager says projects around campus are not about producing profit but about producing quality leadership BY ALEXANDER TUMALIP
alking through the BYU–Hawaii campus, students can hear a chorus of drilling, hammering and giant trucks driving by. Despite the inconvenience, construction workers said their work is a fulfillment of prophecy. Among the projects under way are the Seasider Turf Field behind the McKay Gymnasium and the REC Solar Project that provides both covered parking and a projected one-third of the electricity on campus. John Tippetts, project manager, said BYUH is at an unprecedented point of development in its history. They have built more and faster than ever before, Tippetts said, and they expect to continue building for the
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foreseeable future. He added he hopes each project never truly finishes, since the mission of the Church is to continuously grow. “It’s a great testimony builder to me to see how committed the brethren are to building character in students,” he said. The projects aren’t about profit, but rather producing quality leadership, he said. Peni Kioa, a senior from Tonga studying applied mathematics and an intern in the Planning, Design & Construction department, said the goal of these new construction projects is to guide students to BYUH. “This is where leaders are built to help them build the kingdom of God. We want future students to see we have something nowhere else has and have them experience it themselves.” Kioa said the leadership of the construction department makes these projects meaningful, particularly Kirk Tyler, the major projects manager of the Planning, Design & Construction department. Tyler said he is excited about the projects because he gets to see students use them. “They will benefit mostly because the designs deliver a better opportunity for student life and academic learning,” he said.
The turf field The Seasider Turf Field, located outside of the McKay Gymnasium, south of the Cannon Activities Center, will be given high-tech turf that contains a special material that will regulate the temperature of the turf even in high temperatures, Kioa said. “Students are going to be very happy to have this field, and I’m excited for it, too.” In addition to the high-tech turf, Kioa said there will be a raised rock wall and adjacent pavilion to accommodate spectators for intramural events. To address the previous issue of soccer or rugby balls entering the Polynesian Cultural Center’s back lot, Kioa said the fences are being raised and protective netting is being installed to keep them in. The solar project The solar project, originally approved by President John Tanner, is taking shape, Tippetts said. He always wanted to do a solar project, he shared, but still has a lot to learn. One of the project’s pieces of equipment is a Tesla megapack battery, the only one of its kind on Oahu, which will power the solar grid, Tippetts explained. He said he is pleased BYUH is becoming green by using solarproduced electricity on campus. “Fossil fuel production represents 70 percent of the greenhouse gases, so we’re doing our part to reduce greenhouse gases,” he said. Tippetts explained when the grid is activated, it will produce one-third of the electricity on campus. At the end of January, the project was more than 60 percent completed, Tippetts said. The project will be nearly completed in April, he said, but workers will continue to do electrical work. Dedication and commitment Tippetts said he hopes students understand the level of commitment needed for these projects. “We are a small group, yet the First Presidency are so interested in what goes on,” he said. “They
want to be certain that students here have an opportunity to grow and develop.” Kioa said the leadership in the construction department are dedicated to their jobs, and he is fortunate to work with them, especially Tyler and Tippetts. “They are always receiving revelation and their vision is the same as President McKay, which is to bring millions to this campus,” he said. From Tyler, Kioa said he has learned to be open to learning and serving. “He has all the skills from his many years in construction, and I am just fortunate to see and learn from him every day.” The most exciting thing about the construction on campus is the progress that has been made, Kioa said. Even though it takes a lot of work, he explained it makes him happy to see the joy in the faces of students and faculty. “Our goal as a construction company is ensuring the customer is happy. If that happens, we’ve accomplished our goal.” Before a construction project begins, Kioa said there are phases, like planning, zoning and design, that need to be completed first. “It can take many years before a project even starts.” He said planning is the hardest part. “If you make a mistake in that phase, everything else will fall apart.” “We’re all in this together,” Kioa continued. “We’ve talked about the importance of teamwork a lot.” Tippetts said, “It is another family here. Because we’re dealing with different contractors from different places and backgrounds and experiences. We get kind of a combined knowledge that not any one of Top left: Construction intern, Peni Kioa, said the goal of the new construction projects is to guide more students to BYUH. Photo by Ulziibayar Badamdorj. Bottom left and right: The high-tech turf field and solar project on campus. Photos provided by Jordan Keck.
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Guryn family raises funds to help an Ecuadorian dancer have prosthetic legs
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BY SERENA DUGAR IOANE
rooke Guryn shared how her faith grew after starting a fundraiser to raise money for a young girl from Ecuador to receive prosthetic legs after she was injured in an auto accident. Guryn, a sophomore from Canada majoring in elementary education and psychology, shared she still needs help for the last step in getting Nicol Tobar prosthetics. Tobar needs funds for her travel and accommodation to Quito, Ecuador, to where the organization is that is providing her prosthetics. A tragic accident Guryn served in the Guayaquil Ecuador South Mission from 2017 to 2019. While serving in a branch in Pasaje, Ecuador, she met Nicol Tobar, a 17-year-old dancer and branch member. Guryn said Tobar was outside helping a dance therapy class in 2018 when a 15-year-old
LEFT: Nicol Tabor is pictured with Jalen Guryn. Photo provided by Nicol Tobar. ABOVE: Fundraising for Tabor's prosthetic legs. Photo provided by Emma Funes.
boy pinned both her legs against a wall with his car during a police chase. This caused damage to both her legs, leading to her having both legs amputated above the knees. “I remember the day I found out about her accident. I felt sick to my stomach and couldn’t believe why something so tragic could happen to someone,” Guryn commented. “The whole town of Pasaje knew of what happened. Every investigator and member we visited would ask us soberly, ‘Why do such things happen to good people, and why did she deserve this?’” Guryn struggled to answer their questions and help with their doubts while experiencing them herself. But Guryn said she had never doubted God’s plan when hard things happen. “I know He always has something beautiful in store, but this time I was unsure. “I couldn’t comprehend her feelings and how hard of a trial she would have to experience. Would she believe in a loving, caring God when she just lost her mobility and ability to dance? Little did I know she learned of Him. She learned of His goodness as she recovered from such a tragic accident. She felt
His grace as she had to lean on Him every step of the way.” Learning the Lord’s grace through hardships Guryn left Pasaje a few weeks after Tobar’s accident. She said it was hard not to know how Tobar was doing. When she came back home, she immediately added Tobar on Facebook. “I cried as I saw she had a photo in her wheelchair graduating high school. Just a few months after getting out of the hospital, she said Tobar had courageously gone back to school and graduated with a massive, beautiful smile on her face. “I went through her Facebook, photo after photo, smiling with all her friends. Doing her make-up and dressing up so nicely. I was so proud of her courage and her strength,” Guryn shared. Inspiration to raise funds Guryn said one night she was talking with her family about Tobar, and her mother, Melody Guryn, a senior from Canada majoring in psychology, blurted out, “Why don’t we get her prosthetic legs? Let’s put jars around the city.” Brooke Guryn said it N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 47
was an inspiration of the Holy Spirit because they had never fundraised before. Brooke Guryn shared she and her brother, Jalen Guryn, cut out magazines pictures to create nice jars with Tobar’s face on them and put them around stores on Vancouver Island. “One store had raised $400 in a few months. I couldn’t believe it. I started contacting the press to write an article about the jars and where they were located if anyone wanted to donate.” The Guryn family spent months creating jars and going to businesses asking for donations. Brooke Guryn said people started offering gifts to support, which gave her an idea to have a dinner with an auction. “Almost every business I approached gave me something to support Nicol. I felt so encouraged and supported.” After much planning and hard work, the Guryns did a fundraiser auction with dinner and music. They went door to door selling tickets, put fliers all around town, and shared it all over Facebook. They raised $7,000 on Tobar’s behalf. Brooke Guryn said businesses from all over the city donated everything: auction gifts, food and even music. “It was an absolute miracle, and it was so exciting, stressful and joyful. In unity and love, we gathered 50 people and 15 volunteers who attended the event.” Melody Guryn said Church members from their stake and other stakes helped them host the event. “We received so much help and support from people, and everything was taken care of by God’s hands.” When Brooke Guryn started fundraising, she told Tobar how much support and love she has from her community. Tobar said, “Thank you to the people in Canada. I’m so grateful for your love and support.” Brooke Guryn said a man who contacted her to donate to the fundraiser told her she was meant to be there and bring Tobar’s story to Canada. “I knew that day the truth of what he said. I knew the Lord was involved. “I was supposed to bring her story and be her voice. I know it opened up her world, and she knew she was known and was loved.” Brooke Guryn said Tobar has been moving forward with perseverance and strength since graduating from high school with courage and dignity. “She has been working in a local office, continuing to socialize and serve others as well as prepare for university and learn English.” 4 8 KE AL A K A‘I 2021
A miracle A month after Brooke Guryn contacted many places, one organization got back. Range of Motion Project (ROMP) is a non-profit organization that mainly works in South America, Guatemala and Ecuador to help people who cannot afford to be mobile again. They were more than happy to help Tobar walk again, Brooke Guryn said. In September of last year, the organization told the Guryns the money they had raised was sufficient. “We were in shock. Two prosthetic legs cost over $100,000, and the amount we had raised was not enough,” Brooke Guryn explained. “However, they had the materials, and even brand-new bionic knees that were donated right before Nicol went to Quito, Ecuador, to meet the ROMP’s CEO, David Krupa, and get sized in February.” Josefine C. Ferger, a family friend of Guryn’s, said when Brooke wanted to help Tobar, it was amazing, but it seemed so hard at the beginning. “However, their faith was strong. There was a lot of uncertainty, but they pushed through a lot. It is so impactful and selfless. In the end, they reached the goal, and I am glad to be a part of such a beautiful thing.” Ferger shared she has learned when people do what they can, God will do the rest. “Brooke and Melody did all they could, and God showed His miracles. They have raised a good amount of money, and it was still not enough, but one donor provided the way. They opened up a new door for Nicol. I hope I will remember this principle for the rest of my life and apply it. Witnessing this project was life-changing.” ROMP uses donated prosthetics and makes their own. They have everything prepared so Tobar can start the first phase on stubbies, then to full prosthetics, Brooke Guryn said. “She hasn’t walked in two years, and she was able to start her journey in March 2020, but due to COVID-19, everything got pushed back due to interprovincial travel being shut down,” Brooke Guryn shared. “We recently were told Nicol is now allowed to travel and will be able to go for her first phase of prosthetics. ... Martha Christianson, CEO of J-slips Hawaii, has fully covered all expenses for her first trip to get her first phase of prosthetics. Guryn said they are grateful for their generosity “to support Nicol in this life-chang-
ing experience of receiving two prosthetics legs. Due to her support, we can get her to the ROMP organization to start her hard but beautiful journey to mobility.” The organization is located in Quito, Ecuador, a 10-hour bus ride away from Tobar. “Nicol will be able to do it there and have the rehabilitation and support she needs from this organization,” Guryn said. “Nicol is very humble and the definition of sweet. When she found out about what we were doing, she was more than grateful. She was filled with joy, felt loved and blessed by the Lord,” Brooke Guryn shared. Brooke Guryn said Tobar shared her testimony was faltering after her accident, but now she has a testimony stronger than ever. “She thanks God every day for everything He has blessed her with. I think that is the greatest gift anyone can receive is a strengthened relationship with the Lord. “If my contribution and service have helped her to see the Lord’s grace and unconditional love in her life, that is the most amazing reward to me.” Melody Guryn said their family was baptized six years ago, and Brooke Guryn is the first person who served a mission from their family. “When I sent my daughter to Ecuador, I was scared and unsure. However, I knew she was supposed to go there and be the voice of Tobar. ... I believe it is still a part of Brooke’s mission. “It is just amazing to see how these two young ladies helped and strengthened each other through their struggles. God has aligned them in that way.” Brooke Guryn said she has learned to never turn down an opportunity to make someone’s life easier. “I know our small efforts to serve the Lord’s children come back tenfold. I will never regret taking my time to serve the Lord’s children and my brothers and sisters. Their joy gives me joy and as well as the Lord. I promise He will provide a way as He did for Nicol.” According to Brooke Guryn, donations are appreciated as they need to raise more funds so Tobar can travel to Quito with her mom, and for hotel accommodations, food, incidentals and time off work. To donate to this cause, visit https://gf.me/u/y2wgf7. BYUH student Brooke Guryn helped raise money to purchase prosthetic legs for a young women in South America. Photo by Emma Funes.
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RESTORING HAWAII’S NATURAL SPLENDOR Biology students assisting in the restoration of native Hawaiian wildlife say they are defending the environment so it can better care for people in the future BY ANNA STEPHENSON
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ne of the ecological restorations taking place on Oahu is happening on the BYU–Hawaii campus. If all goes well, then one corner of campus, will look just how the island looked before European contact, said Dr. Spencer Ingley, assistant professor of the Faculty of Sciences. If the project is successful, then it may be used as a starting point for reintroducing Hawaiian plants all over campus and Laie, Ingley said. Until then, however, be prepared to see a muddy field with students hard at work, pulling weeds and picking up trash, eagerly looking forward to the day when Hawaii’s natural splendor is restored. He said it will be a beautiful sight, especially for newly arriving students who have not yet been introduced to Hawaii’s rich plant life. “I have long been passionate about protecting and restoring native habitats,” Inlgey said. “So much of what we see in landscaping around Hawaii, and even in most forests, is dominated by introduced plant species. Few people get to experience what Hawaii should look like.” Dr. Ingley’s BIO 348 class and research students from BIO 496 are building a new native forest and wetland on campus, stocked with plants indigenous to Hawaii. The ecosystem will be behind the science building and will include several species of plants not currently found on campus, including some plants that are rare and at risk of extinction, Dr. Ingley
explained. He said future plans for the forest and wetland include a walking path and outdoor classroom. “Native ecosystems provide many valuable services to both people and the environment, and I wanted to put that on display right here on campus,” Ingley said. As members of the BYUH ohana, he said people should care about the health and well-being of the environment. “I think this project can serve as an outward manifestation of that care.” Ingley said he also wants to create an outdoor area that can be used for teaching, research and outreach. “I hope people will be able to come here for years to come, and it will inspire an appreciation for taking care of the land.” The return of native plants and animals The assortment of native plants that will be added to the wetland, many of which are only found in Hawaii, will provide research opportunities for BYUH’s biology tract students, especially as native insects and animals return to campus to make their homes in the new forest and wetland. “It’s definitely a long-term project,” Ingley said, who predicted it will be several years before it’s fully completed. “We’ll do it in a couple courses and continue it until it’s done. But we want to get more of the University community involved.” Before new plants can be added to the landscape, old plants must be removed, Ingley explained. Many of the plants on campus are not
MIDDLE: Dr. Spencer Ingley leads his class, RIGHT, that is working to restore native Hawaiian plants all over campus. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos
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Hawaiian and invasive or detrimental to the native Hawaiian plants. The first phase of the project, using student labor to remove these unwanted plants as well as clearing out rubbish and litter, is mostly completed. Students have already started planting native plants, he said. The restoration is not without its challenges, but Ingley said he is optimistic. “I’ve been really happy with the progress we’ve made so far this semester. We are only about a month into the project and we have a lot of the invasive plants removed and about 100 new native plants in the ground. “The invasive weeds we are dealing with are tough, so it will certainly be a challenge to help our plants become established over the next year or so. Students in my Natural Resource Management Lab have been fantastic, and I look forward to involving other classes and University groups or clubs in the near future.”
“...This ecological restoration gives us an opportunity to be stewards for the local environment.” Emri Trainor Stewards of the local environment Emri Trainor, a senior biology major from Colorado, referred to Doctrine and Covenants 104:13–15 when she said, “I think this ecological restoration gives us an opportunity to be stewards for the local environment.” Bobby Senar, a freshman biology major from Papua New Guinea, said, “We’re defending the environment so it can look after us in the future. I have been dreaming of doing this project for a couple years now and have actually had previous classes help design what we’re doing,” he said. Ingley said, “The COVID-19 crisis presented us with a great opportunity to get it started because we had some extra funds to jumpstart the project, and having an outdoor lab experience right here on campus works well within the bounds of the restrictions we have for in-person classes. “I had great support from the other faculty in my program, from my dean and from the President’s Council. They each reviewed my plans and approved them without any pushback. I am very grateful for their support.” Looking to the future In future semesters, Ingley said he plans to open up the project to clubs and service projects. The new plants to look out for, he said, include four new trees: hala, loulu, koa and alahe’e. These new trees will exist with the hau and banyan trees that will be allowed to stay on the site.
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Students work on planting native Hawaiian plants on campus, Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos
The grass currently there will be replaced with pili grass and O’ahu sedge. Two new species of shrubs, the ‘ulei and the ‘a’ali’i, will also be planted. For ground cover, ‘ilie’e and ‘akia will be used. Finally, the wetland section will include flowering akiohala and ‘ae’ae, as well as makaloa and aka’akai. Ingley said he hopes to also plant rare pu’uka’a and ahu’awa. He said the plants are currently being sourced from the native plant specialists at Hui Ku Maoli Ola, a plant nursery based in Kaneohe. Additionally, clippings and seeds are being gathered from the mountains behind Laie. “Eventually, we hope for this plot to also serve as a sort of seed bank for restoration efforts happening in the mountains behind campus,” Ingley explained. •
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AT LO N G Caption of photos goes here.
C U LT U R E
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G L AST: BY ANNA STEPHENSON After 2020’s cancellation, BYUH students from across the globe come together as one in the culture of Christ
fter the stresses of the global pandemic, an opportunity was presented to share unique cultures with one another and to cheer on brothers and sisters of the BYU– Hawaii ohana from all over the world. The nine chapters that presented their dances at Culture Night 2021 were met with enthusiasm and cheers and smiles from the crowd. The gratitude from the students and faculty participating in the event was unmistakable. Vice President of Student Life Jonathan Kalaonalani Kau said at the event was a momentous occasion for President John S.K. Kauwe III because it was his first Culture Night. Additionally, Culture Night 2021 was the first large-scale event hosted by BYUH since the beginning of the pandemic. Determined to be an essential activity, the event was chaperoned by the Hawaii Police Department to ensure proper COVID-19 safety protocols were followed. More than 600 live audience members were in attendance and were required to sit in assigned seats and refrained from screaming while keeping their face masks on at all times. A
livestream of the event was also broadcast on the BYUH YouTube channel. The Hawaii Club was the first to perform. The club members danced the hula in simple costumes of black skirts and pants, white shirts, colorful patterned belts and kukui nut leis.The Hawaii Club Vice President Piliahloha Haverly, said they danced to songs picked to broaden the horizons of the club and audience members alike. Both songs were a tribute to the nearby town of Hauula and its landmarks, such as Sacred Falls. For the first song, only female members of the club danced. They were joined by the men for the rest of the performance. Everyone was smiling widely as they danced and communicated the importance, culture and history Hauula holds for its residents. After the Hawaii Club finished, the Cambodia Club members took the stage. In their introduction, they invited anyone, regardless of national origin, to join the Cambodia Club to learn, share and love each other as a family. “We are all the same no matter where we come from,” Cambodia Club President Amreth Phirun asserted.
They proceeded to present a four-part performance in which the first three parts were traditional folk dances and the fourth was an energetic pop-culture dance. The Cambodia Club dances placed emphasis on individual dancers and their hand gestures, Phirun said, which conveyed the meaning of the dance. Their costumes were white and gold with either long skirts or colorful pants, topped with elaborate gold headdresses, belts, necklaces and bangles. Props were used throughout the traditional dances, which were: the blessing dance, the apsara dance and the ken dance. Finally, during the pop-culture dance, the audience clapped along to the beat as Cambodian flags waved at the back of the stage behind the dancers. The Great India Club members also invited students to participate in their club activities in the upcoming semesters.The choreography reflected the diversity of India, they said in their introduction video, selecting four different dances from four different corners of India, three folk dances and one classical dance.
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Students from the different culture clubs on campus participate in the annual Culture Night extravaganza. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos
Indian dance has far more to offer than just Bollywood, said the India Club President Vidya Purushottam, because the dances tell stories and share history. The happiness and excitement of the dancers was infectious as they ran onstage with colorful, flowing outfits. The women wore face and hand makeup. They danced to the upbeat music and displayed the Indian flag at the end of their performance. The Ballroom Dance Club was the only club at Culture Night not representing a specific country. The club members instead represented the diversity and shared passions of the BYUH student body, which consists of both domestic and international students. The Ballroom Club Vice President Abigail Smith said with an active group chat and weekly Zoom meetings, the Ballroom Dance Club was a gathering point for many brand new freshmen. However, some new club members were unable to perform in Culture Night because they hadn’t made it to campus yet. Those who did perform showed off a lively performance based off of old-school American dances. 5 6 KE AL A K A‘I 2021
The all-female troupe was dressed in black shirts and bright red skirts and danced to electric swing and pop song remixes. Fifth up was the Mongolia Club, which was described as a supportive and tight-knit ohana by Mongolian Club President Jaagii Battulga. They danced to a song titled “The Rising Sun,” which told the story of separated lovers. The title of the song comes from the idea that no matter how long and dark the night is, the sun will always rise in the morning. Because students have experienced being separated from loved ones for long periods of time during the pandemic, the choreographer, Narantsatsral Ganzorigt, said the Mongolia Club wished to express hope and joy to the audience and share the message that everything will be okay. Their costumes were patterned and embroidered, the women wore bright colors and the men were outfitted in fur. The Kiribati Club followed with a twopart dance performance that incorporated both modern and traditional elements. The members of the Kiribati Club consider this club their
home and a place to share their culture even when Kiribati is 1,000 miles away, said Club President Angelina Kum Kee. With female club members in black grassstyled skirts and male club members in woven wraps, they imitated the motions of the frigate bird, the national symbol of Kiribati. After the traditional dance, they cut to a slideshow of pictures of Kiribati and changed their costumes to black shirts and bright red lavalavas for the second part of their performance. During this dance, they mixed traditional Kiribati style with other schools of dance from around the world. They capped off their performance with waving the Kiribati flag. The China Club went next during Culture Night with a traditional performance with a modern feel. Paying homage to the ancient Chinese philosophy of yin and yang, said the choreographer, Joy Tang, their dance was a delicate balance between two different styles of dance. The performance started with a live music solo performed on the zheng, a 2,500-year-old
Students said they were happy to be able to have Culture Night again after it was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Chinese instrument with an ethereal sound. Afterwards, dancers in traditional pink and red flowing dresses, called hanfu, took to the stage to perform a classic dance.They then changed costumes into casual Western-style clothes to dance again to the same song, but with more explosively energetic movements. At the end, they showed their country’s flag. Next up, was the Philippines Club, the biggest club at BYUH, said the club’s introduction video. With their dance, Club President Gerome Romero said they hoped to send a message of hope and resilience.They included a touching tribute to Filipino healthcare workers who stood on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world. With white shirts, black pants and white shoes, the Philippines Club was eye-catching as
they danced in celebration of their country. They waved colorful scarves and the Philippines flag at the end of their performance. Last, but certainly not least, the Samoa Club put on a performance highlighting the strength and courage that carried people through the challenges of 2020 to 2021.Their dance was preceded by an emotional announcement from Samoa Club President Jannah Fogavai of how the taualuga would be the last dance of Culture Night 2021, but not the last of times spent together as friends and peers. Fogavai highlighted the importance of faith and trust in Heavenly Father combined with hard work and preparation. The women in the club wore long yellow and blue patterned skirts, white necklaces and feather hairpieces.
The men were mostly shirtless and dressed in traditional clothes. For the men’s segment of the dance, they delivered a powerful performance with jumping, dancing and clapping. Finally, Fogavai came out in traditional regalia, complete with a tuiga headdress and performed a taualuga. The excitement and joy of both the club and audience members was thick in the air. When the dance was over, the audience was thanked for their love and support by Culture Night organizers. •
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WHEELS, HEELS & AUTOMOBILES Making the most of transportation options on the North Shore BY GREG ERICKSON AND ELLE LARSON
Walk The oldest and most independent mode of transportation can sometimes be the best. If you are headed to the beach, shopping center or anywhere else in Laie, walking will get the job done. The shopping center, where you can buy groceries, a great burger, ice cream and even hardware, is only a convenient half-mile away from campus. The Polynesian Cultural Center and beach access points are also a short walk east of campus, and, heading west, the Laie Hawaii Temple is only a few steps from home. There is a bike path parallel to Kamehameha Highway between Laie and Kahuku that is good for walking or running, too. The path is 3 miles round-trip with picturesque views of the mountains and open fields near Laie.
Drive There are several ways to drive around on Oahu, even if you don’t own a car. Look for a car to buy on Craigslist or the Buy/Sell @ North Shore Community and BYUH Facebook page. If you’re not looking to make a big investment, the Facebook page is a good place to find students willing to carpool or rent their car out for the day. For a luxurious ride, you can rent cars through a private company with your friends too.
Board Longboards and skateboards are great for navigating around campus and fun to ride. You will see many students, some teachers and even the University president longboarding around campus. However, don’t ride them on sidewalks. Use the bike lane on the street.
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For only $5.50, you can get a day pass for TheBus, ranked one of the best public transit systems in the US by Redfin. To pay for a fare, you must get a Holo Card from Foodland’s help desk and register for a Holo Card online at holocard.net.You can load your Holo Card with money online. Frequent bus stops line Kamehameha Highway, including nearby stops at Foodland, temple beach, the PCC and McDonald’s. The bus comes about every hour and can take you almost anywhere on the island. Use the DaBus2 app, Google Maps or thebus.org to find nearby bus stops and arrival times. Travel time will vary depending on your final destination, but a one-way trip to Waikiki takes about two hours.
Bike Even though bikes are generally quicker than walking, they require frequent maintenance on the North Shore. The salty humidity, rain and winds of Oahu can rapidly rust bikes, and loose gravel can leave you looking for a replacement tube. Don’t let that stop you from getting some wheels, though! Ace Hardware in the Laie Shopping Center has everything you need to keep your bike in working condition. You can also sign up with SWATT Global at BYUH by going on their Facebook page to schedule a time to learn how to fix your bike at their free bike shop. For 3 hours of service, you can even get a bike for free (if they have enough parts). A lock or chain is a must, as bike theft is common on campus and in the community. Even if you are just going inside for a few minutes, make sure to lock your bike. There is a counter-flow bike lane on campus and several bike lanes around Laie. Bikes are not allowed on sidewalks, so only ride your bike on the street.
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Skate, Sleep, Repeat Alumnus James Astle creates new documentary out of 400-mile skateboard trek across the Philippines BY NOAH SHOAF
n a wooden board with four wheels and a camera in hand, James Astle, a special instructor for the Willes Center, rolled through the Philippines. Astle had no camera crew or partner along for the ride, but he said he found support from the Filipino people. Astle turned his 400-mile, 12-day journey across Northern Luzon into “Rolling Moments,” a documentary available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Astle said the message of the film is simple. “If you’ve ever had an idea, go out and do it now. Because the world is waiting for you, but who knows how much longer that moment will wait for you.” “Rolling Moments” begins with a voiceover layered with uplifting melodies and aerial shots of rice fields. Astle said, “Ever since I was young, I loved an adventure. I loved the idea of getting lost somewhere in a faraway land and not knowing what would happen next.” From biking across Los Angeles without a phone to walking from Laie to Honolulu in a day, Astle said those adventures pushed him to make “Rolling Moments.” Crazy idea “I had the idea to skate across the Northern Philippines. Kind of sporadic, but it came to me one day, I’ve got to do this. It would be a challenge. And I thought, why not find a way to share this experience with others?” Astle said he thought a documentary would provide viewers with inspiration and guidance to do something they have always wanted to do..
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“It’s not as hard as it seems to get out in the world and do a trip of your own, whether it is on a bike, a unicycle, rollerblades or even just regular traveling. I am hoping people will see these kinds of adventures are possible, not as far-fetched as it may seem.” According to Astle’s former classmate and alumnus Ben Joseph Howells, Astle is a creative genius. “I have made a career working and collaborating with creatives. Some of them are world-famous, but I have never met anyone more creative than James.” Howells said he loves how Astle fully commits to his ideas. “The fact that he just had an idea, booked a flight, filmed the whole thing and then put it out of his own is incredibly brave on so many levels. “He’s a humble guy, so he would play that down, but that’s brave. The world needs more brave people to chase their crazy ideas.” How to prepare Astle said if you want to follow through with your dream, you need a plan. That requires setting goals, creating expectations and having an open heart and mind. “You shouldn’t be scared because it will only hold you back from experiencing what could potentially change your life. Just go out there and do it, but make sure you have a plan. It doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous. The plan is there to guide you to good opportunities.” Astle planned for his trip by using Google Street View and mapped out every road he would take. He also skated 15 to 20 miles each day to get into shape and planned his expenses.
Live in the moment Astle shared, “All you really have is right now. It’s the only thing that really makes life possible in this moment right here.” If you are worried about something, whether that is in the past or the future, you miss out on the present experience, added Astle. “[Right now] you have complete control of how you feel, what you’re doing and where you’ll go. But you don’t with the past and the future. “Take a break, take a moment and take a breath. What is your goal right now? Where are you going? What steps are you making?” Astle said his trip allowed him to be more present. He was not looking at social media or the computer screen. He was on the road. “On the road, you’re aware, and your senses are engaged. As you’re skating, you’re just completely in the moment, and you feel everything. And you start using all your senses. A lot of times, we forget about [using all our senses] because we’re not engaged in the moment as we should be.” The harder, the better Astle shared the trip challenged him physically, but emotionally and mentally, he found strength. “I pulled a muscle in my calf, and it was pretty hard the last 75 miles. It was really difficult. I felt like giving up, but I kept going because I knew it would be worth it in the end.” Towards the end of his trip, it began to rain, making the streets slick, but Astle said he kept going, imagining finishing his trip without regrets.
James Astle pauses for a photo with children he met along the way as he skateboarded through the Philippines and filmed what he experienced and felt. His documentary can be see on Amazon Prime Video. Photo courtesy of James Astle N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 61
James Astle took photos of the people he met along the way and (right) himself as he skateboarded through the Philippines making a documentary. Photos courtesy of James Astle
Astle said there was always an unknown on his journey. “If I break my skateboard, if I get lost out here, if there’s no cell service, what am I going to do? “The fact that it was hard made the trip a lot more meaningful because it pushed me in ways I would normally not be pushed.” Astle said when things get hard, remember it’s part of the journey. “When you finally get there, you’ll be so happy, and you’ll enjoy it so much more. The value of your experience goes way up because you really earned it.” Blessed by the people Astle said finishing the trip was a great blessing. “There were a lot of opportunities where who knows what could have happened. I could have gotten sick pretty badly from the food or could have gotten injured by a car.” Beyond safety, Astle said he was also blessed by talking, smiling and laughing with the Filipino people. “The [people] helped me realize everything I had and everything I was experiencing was a blessing in itself. They didn’t really live fancy lives. Their livelihood was very, very simple and easygoing. That helped me realize my life needs to be simpler.” The Filipino people also helped Astle document his trip since he had no camera crew 6 2 KE AL A K A‘I 2021
on his solo expedition. He asked people he met on his journey to film him, which he said was a great conversation starter. “You always think, ‘Oh no, what if somebody takes the camera and runs?’ I never really thought about that. I never really sensed that from the people because they’re so kind.” Astle added people wanted to follow his journey, so he updated them on Instagram and Facebook. “No one really reacted negatively in the sense that they were like, ‘What are you doing? Get out of here. This is not your property.’ Everybody was very supportive and positive.” Ruth D. Allauigan, cousin to Astle’s wife, said Astle is carefree and a jolly person. “When you’re around him, it’s always a happy vibe.” She added she felt his trip was crazy and not safe, but she knew the Filipinos would like him, and he would be okay. “Filipinos, in general, are welcoming, hospitable and always have kind words to say. And it has always been our culture to be like that to anyone.” Part two “Rolling Moments” is just the beginning for Astle. He said he wants to do a “Part 2” once traveling is safe and not restricted by COVID-19.
Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and some Latin American countries are all potential settings for his next documentary, which he said will feature people giving back in creative ways. Astle said he wants his next adventure to go on Netflix, a more challenging platform to get published on than Amazon Prime. So, he is committed to make the film even better than “Rolling Moments.” He added he wants people to review “Rolling Moments” on Prime Video to build up his notoriety and credibility. For people who want an adventure but cannot travel due to the pandemic, Astle said, “Go out and explore your hometown. There’s still a lot of cool things at home that you may not have seen. “And No. 2, plan everything you can do. Research, get inspiration and save money, so that when the time is right, you’ll be ready to travel, and you won’t have to worry about anything.” Watch “Rolling Moments” using this link:
Visit Astle’s website, www.tukanproductions. com and follow him on Instagram: https://
Each day he skated up to
The journey from Claveria to Manila took
Astle's documentary is
44 minutes long.
Astle drank a water bottle every
Astle skated more than
400 miles 5 pounds.
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Finding joy in the journey Graphics by Sadie Madriaga.
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Biology major with a knack for writing shares struggle to find the right career path but says he’s stepping into the unknown with faith in every step BY XYRON LEVI CORPUZ
hen Paolo Poblete decided on being a biology major, he said he realized he didn’t want to give up his ability to express himself through writing. So, he wrote a poetry book. For Poblete, a senior from the Philippines, writing poetry is a source of self-expression and creativity. As a biology student, he said he doesn’t get to do that. “Biology is very technical and scientific. There’s nothing with biology that uses the right area of the brain about creativity.” He said he wants to put himself out there and make sure he doesn’t miss out on his talent for writing. He plans to publish his poetry book when he graduates in April. A free spirit Attending BYU–Hawaii was not part of his plan, Poblete said. However, when he was accepted, he said he told himself, “Why not?” Because he had previously attended nursing school, Poblete began working on a biology degree, despite his passion for writing. In his hometown of Cebu, Poblete attended the university nursing program for two years before leaving on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During his mission in the Philippines, he said his close friend, Hyrum Seth Castro, invited him to take the Michigan English Test, an English exam required for Filipino students who want to apply to BYUH. Castro, a senior from the Philippines majoring in business management operations and supply chain, said he knew Poblete would pass the test because his English was the best in the mission. Poblete said they took the English test at a stake center and they both passed. After their missions, he said Castro asked Poblete to continue with the BYUH application. “There’s no harm in trying,” Poblete said. In the end, they were both accepted. Poblete said his friends refer to him as a free spirit. Leaving nursing school to attend BYUH is a result of that, he said. Choosing a major was not an easy decision, Poblete said. Because biology fit well with his experience at nursing school, he said he decided it was the best choice. However, he said things changed when he noticed his grades were dropping from As to Cs.
The drop in his grades, he said, was due to the uncertainty he felt about his career path, and he is still uncertain if he wants to pursue medical school to become a doctor. “I felt that I was born to do something more than a biology major,” he said. “Was I really doing the right major, even though I like [the biology] major a lot?” Poblete said he considered an English major because of his writing ability. He said he can write books and poetry. “I was the editor-in-chief of my high school publication. I can write, but then I don’t want to be a writer either. I just want writing to be part of me and not my job,” he explained. “Because I felt really uncertain about my major at some point in my under grad life, I decided to write a book because I didn’t want to feel I missed out on my talent or on my capacity to be able to express myself beautifully and fully through my craft in writing,” he shared. Finding his tribe When he got to BYUH, Poblete said he made friends from Hong Kong, Samoa, Fiji, Japan and the Philippines. “It was fun. It was really easy for me to make friends.”
“I decided to write a book because I didn’t want to feel I missed out on my talent or on my capacity to be able to express myself beautifully and fully through my craft in writing.” – Paolo Poblete
In the beginning, it was exciting to meet new friends, he said. But as the semesters went by, the smaller his circle of friends got. He found his tribe, he explained. “[Poblete] knows how to have fun but at the same time excel in his studies,” Castro said. One weekend, Castro said he and Poblete invited another friend to town. “It was our first time doing so, and we did not have a reliable GPS at the time. Although we got lost and missed some exits, we still had so much fun.
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“There’s always the risk worth taking, but that’s the beauty of life. You have to take the risk to see what’s going to come.” – Paolo Poblete
“I think that reflects him and our friendship,” Castro said. “Sometimes we don’t have a concrete plan, but somehow our plans still work out, and most importantly, we find joy in our journey.” Jaden Sigua, Poblete’s friend from Utah, said, “[Poblete] is the type of friend you can rely on to lend a compassionate ear when you want to talk to someone.” Poblete is a very good listener who asks questions and thinks deeply about what you say to him, he said. Sigua recalled a time he and Poblete went to Park City, Utah, and stayed up until 2 a.m. by the fireplace outside of their hotel. “I remember laughing super hard as we told stories and danced by the fire. It was super meaningful to me as we grew closer with each other and some other friends. I felt connected to Pao and everyone else on a deep level because of the things we shared and all the laughter.” Anna Gomez, a junior from the Philippines studying clinical psychology, said, “Paolo is the kind of friend who you can be comfortable and real with because he also does the same,” she explained. “He is real, not afraid to share his opinions and emotions, and because of that you would want to do the same around him.” Gomez described Poblete as a friend who shows his love by giving. “It doesn’t matter what he gives, big or small. A simple card or a treat to a meal, it is sure to be something thoughtful and sweet,” she shared. Into the unknown After graduating from BYUH, Poblete said he plans to work in Utah for a year to save money. As for his career path, Poblete said he has four options: Working as a biology teacher in Japan, moving to Italy for a master’s in art history, completing a master’s in biology in Provo or going home to the Philippines to attend medical school. Although he said he wished the path to take was clearer, he quoted Elder Boyd K. Packer, by saying, “Faith, to be faith, must center around Pablo Poblete working in the biology lab. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos. 6 6 KE AL A K A‘I 2021
something that is not known. Faith, to be faith, must go beyond that for which there is confirming evidence. Faith, to be faith, must go into the unknown. Faith, to be faith, must walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness.” Poblete said every decision people take in life has to be done with faith in Jesus Christ. “We just can’t know it all. … There’s always the risk worth taking, but that’s the beauty of life. You have to take the risk to see what’s going to come.” Poblete said he is focused on making sure he steps into the darkness with confidence and his Savior will slowly light the way with every step he takes in faith. •
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FAMILY motivates graduate to excel
Winter 2021 Commencement student speaker says he is honoring his single mother by getting an education 6 8 KE AL A K A‘I 2021
BY XYRON LEVI CORPUZ
Winter 2021 graduate speaker Terrence Dela Pena is pictured with his family on campus. Photo by Uliizbayar Badamdorj
hen Terrence A. Dela Peña was selected to be the Winter 2021 Commencement student speaker, his mentor, Jennifer Kajiyama Tinkham, said she knew he was the perfect student to represent BYU–Hawaii. Tinkham, an adjunct assistant professor in the Faculty of Business & Government, said, “There are so many wonderful students [on campus], but I think he is a perfect representative of the type of student we want to get to be an ambassador for BYU–Hawaii and to speak on behalf of the students.” Dela Peña said before coming to BYUH, his dream was just to graduate, but he has accomplished so much more. “With this opportunity to speak and at the same time … graduating as summa cum laude, I think it’s just a great blessing,” he shared. Due to his academic achievements, Tinkman said, Dela Peña got accepted to a prestigious internship in his home country. “Terrence applied for a very competitive internship in the U.S. Consulate in the Philippines and he got a position.” She said he is one of the few students from BYUH who got accepted to the internship. However, Dela Peña explained he was unable to intern there and chose to accept another
internship in the Philippines, due to how long the internship’s clearance process took. Tinkham said she first met Dela Peña when he was a freshman taking one of her political science classes. “I knew right away he was very academically talented and smart.” Family support and sacrifice Dela Peña, a senior from Antipolo City, Philippines, majoring in political science, said his mother, Myrna Liza Aboguin Dela Peña, is a single parent who raised him and his two sisters. “She became our mother and father at the same time. She works hard, and she really helps me understand what hard work means.” Because his mother was the only provider in his family, he said his sisters gave up pursuing college and worked together with their mother to help him get through college. “On my end, … it’s very hard for me because I’m the only guy in the family. I’m the one who’s supposed to be helping them and supporting them.” He said his family’s dream is for both him and his sisters to get an education and a good job and he is accomplishing part of that. He said if he can get an education, then “I will be able to help my family get out of poverty. So they believed in me, they trusted in me and … N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 69
that motivated me to study hard in college,” he explained. His wife, Ana Katrina Fugaban-Dela Peña, is a senior from Isabela, Philippines, studying social work and TESOL. She said, “I just hope my mother-in-law is here [when he graduates] so he can honor her for all of her sacrifices as a single mother.” Throughout his time at BYUH, Dela Peña said he was summa cum laude, consistently on the Dean’s List, president of Prelaw Society, president of Pi Sigma Alpha BYU–Hawaii Chapter and inducted to Phi Kappa Phi. Dela Peña said part of his commencement speech will address the uncertainties graduates are going to face because of the pandemic and hate crimes going on in the world. “I know there are a lot of things we don’t understand, [and] there are a lot … of decisions we need to make. We’re not sure about what’s going to be the future for us,” he said. But those uncertainties don’t need to be crippling, Dela Peña asserted. “As we hold on to the things that matter to us … like our family, our education or our faith in the Savior Jesus Christ, those are the things that will help us get through and deal with the uncertainty in front of us.” Representing the graduates Dela Peña said he didn’t expect to be chosen as the Winter 2021 graduation speaker. “I’m
Whenever I take an exam [or] quiz, I always think I’m doing this for my family and that their future is at stake. So that’s why that motivates me. ... [It] helps me to find some inspiration and to not give up.
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honored I will represent the graduating class for this commencement ceremony.” He said BYUH’s Academics Vice President John Bell’s office called him and asked if he would still be in Hawaii during the commencement. “I told them I will be here, and then they extended the invitation,” he recalled. “It’s such an honor for me to have that opportunity. … The first thing I did after I received the news was I talked to my wife and shared the news to her.” They were both so happy about it, he added. Ana Katrina Fugaban-Dela Peña said, “Last year, I was joking around and told him he’ll be the graduation speaker. He didn’t believe it until the call came. I am so proud of him.” His reasons why Dela Peña and his wife are both full-time students and are raising two boys, Richard, their 4-year-old son, and Kyle, their 2-year-old son. He said it is not easy to be a parent, work part time and be a full-time student, but his family is the reason he can do them. “Whenever I take an exam [or] quiz, I always think I’m doing this for my family and that their future is at stake. So that’s why that motivates me. ... [It] helps me to find some inspiration and to not give up,” he explained. Ana Katrina Fugaban-Dela Peña said there were times her husband was discouraged, and she would remind him the reason they are
doing all this is to provide a better future for their children. She described him as hardworking, kind, humble and genuine in everything he does. She said he is their boys’ best friend. “I am so blessed to be married to a man who loves and respects me as a daughter of God. I am grateful to have the chance to [go] through life’s challenges with him,” she said. Tinkham said, “[Terrence] and Ana are both so hard-working, but they also have such strong testimonies of Jesus Christ. They’re always serving other people and they represent the stories of so many international students and students in general.” Dela Peña said he and his wife got married in the Philippines and then were both admitted at BYUH while Ana Katrina Fugaban-Dela Peña was pregnant with their first son. The next chapter Dela Peña said he chose political science as his major because it would help him achieve his goals. “I believe the program helps students to think deeply and critically about different topics and to learn how to communicate and write well.” He said he also wanted to learn more about how the American government works so he could use that knowledge in the Philippines. Dela Peña’s dream is to become a foreign service officer for the Philippine government, he said. “Part of that [dream] is to equip myself with the ability to analyze policies, to learn how to write clearly and how to think critically,” he added. He has been accepted into the master’s program for public administration at BYU in Provo. “Part of my plan is to gain experience in policy analysis and learn some management skills so when … I return back to the Philippines, I will be able to apply as a foreign service officer,” he said. Dela Peña said he also hopes to become a lawyer and is planning to do a joint degree program for the juris doctorate and master’s in public administration at BYU in Provo. He also received an offer to work as a research assistant for the BYU MPA program working in organizational behavior and ethics. “I think it’s a rare opportunity because I’m an undergraduate student about to become a graduate student. … I [will] work with two of the great professors, [Dr. Jeff Thompson and Dr. Brad Agle].”•
Winter 2021 graduate speaker Terrence Dela Pena is pictured with his family. Photos by Uliizbayar Badamdorj
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THE LORD, HE HEARS ME
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Nonmember senior says university religion teachers were a source of help, understanding and acceptance BY HAILEY HUHANE
rowing up Catholic, Ereen Ilaban said he felt intimidated and overwhelmed when he was accepted to BYU–Hawaii. Now, as a senior looking back at his years at the university, Ilaban said he felt both welcomed and accepted by his classmates and teachers. Feeling encouraged and supported Ilaban, a social work major from Kahuku, was raised in a predominantly Latter-day Saint community. As a self-described “social butterfly,” Ilaban said all of his friends growing up were members of the Church, and he frequently attended sacrament meetings and missionary homecomings and farewells. Although his upbringing helped familiarize him with the Church, Ilaban said his decision to attend BYUH was difficult. “I am not a member of the Church, so coming to school here gave me an overwhelming feeling.” Ilaban said the first religion class he took was Doctrine & Covenants. Because he wasn’t raised in the Church, he said the class was difficult, “I thought I was dumb,” he said. Ilaban said he would hear his classmates say how easy the class was, but because he had never read
The Book of Mormon, understanding D&C seemed impossible. Throughout the semester, Ilaban said he began to understand the stories behind the scriptures they were studying, and his classmates and teachers were a source of help and strength he frequently relied on. “I was able to give my opinion on certain things, and the teachers and students would encourage me. It felt great.” While taking the Eternal Family class, Ilaban said Shad Anderson, who taught the class was helpful and patient with him. “I always asked questions, and [Brother Anderson] would always help me.” Ilaban said the two would converse over email, and his teacher would frequently reach out to see if he was in need of any extra guidance. Ilaban said, “[Brother Anderson] knew I wasn’t a member, yet he was understanding. That’s how it was with all of the other teachers as well.” Leading by example Ilaban’s friend, Randell Mahe, a senior from Laie majoring in social work, said Ilaban is often the one in their friend group to encourage them to attend firesides, stake conferences and the
“...learning about the Lord through the LDS perspective opens my eyes and helps me to see things more clearly.”
weekly devotionals. “He would go weekly and was a reminder for us to go. Even though he’s not a part of the Church, he was definitely a huge help to his friends who are members.” Ilaban’s friend since seventh grade, Maeleen Wesley, a freshman from Laie majoring in business management, said Ilaban is a part of most of her favorite memories. “A lot has changed since [seventh grade], and it is a blessing our friendship isn’t one of them. It’s been inspiring to see how he’s dealt with coming to school at BYUH as a nonmember, and I’m proud of all the things he’s accomplished.” “I don’t know what it is,” said Ilaban. “I guess learning about the Lord through the LDS perspective opens my eyes and helps me to see things more clearly.” Ilaban recounted a time when he would visit the Laie temple grounds frequently. “I don’t pray a lot, but a few semesters ago, I would go to the temple every day and ponder for 20 to 30 minutes. There were so many good experiences there.” One day, while feeling stressed over a class, Ilaban said he went to the temple and prayed for help. He said a few hours later, his prayer was answered. Looking back on the experience, Ilaban said, “The Lord, He hears me.” An eye towards the future As a social work major, Ilaban said Victor Kaufusi’s Introduction to Social Work class was the reason he was drawn to the program. “Just hearing [Brother Kaufusi’s] experiences and learning more about the field made me more interested. He was able to help people. I loved that.” Currently, Ilaban said he is interning at the Kahuku Medical Center and has applied to graduate school to continue his education and obtain his master’s of social work. Ilaban’s goal is simple, he said. “I [just] want to help people.”•
Ereen Ilaban said his goal is to help people by going into social work. Photo by Atea Lee Chip Sao.
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A LIFE OF
Stuart Wolthuis shares sacrifices and triumphs of 24 years of service in U.S. Air Force BY HAILEY HUHANE
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fter 24 years of active duty service in the United States Air Force, BYU–Hawaii Associate Professor Stuart Wolthuis has acquired an inspiring list of accolades, which includes more than two dozen honors and medals, a bachelor’s of science degree and a master’s of engineering degree in industrial and systems engineering. Despite the dangers and strife of serving in the military, his family said he cherishes his time in the Air Force. Of his achievements, Wolthuis’ wife Emily Wolthuis said, “My husband would never say this about himself because he is a very humble man. He was consistently recognized for his outstanding leadership and contributions; in fact, he was Airman of the Year for all fighter bases west of the Mississippi River in 1987 and Company Grade Officer of the Year when he served in Italy. He also led a team that received Vice President Gore’s Hammer Award for saving millions of dollars in acquisition costs on a significant national project. I’m extremely proud of his dedication and commitment in whatever calling, job or responsibility he has.” Of his military service, Wolthuis said, “Serving in the military is really tough, mostly on families. I also felt the loss of several coworkers and friends who died over the years during their military service. The most tragic died in a helicopter crash, another in an airplane crash and another from a gun misfire after training. Serving in the military is dangerous. “Many return from military service with scars and wounds, and many have wounds you can’t see, such as post traumatic stress disorder.” Wolthuis also acknowledged the sacrifices his own family had to make. He said, “Many people have thanked me over the years for my military service, but the real sacrifice was given by my family. If you tell my children or my wife how much you appreciate their support and sacrifice as a military family, you will probably see me cry. They are my heroes.”
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Wolthuis joked, “In my Air Force service, I did software development on smart weapon systems capabilities Captain Moroni would appreciate.” Wolthuis also worked at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), where he was chief over Foreign Military Exploitation. As chief, Wolthuis analyzed the enemy’s hardware and figured out how it functioned to improve U.S. weapon systems. One of Wolthuis’ favorite assignments was in Aviano, Italy, where he worked directly for the 31st Wing Commander as the Chief Protocol Officer. “In two years, I hosted 660 distinguished visitors, generals, White House staff, U.S. congressmen and senators, and many others. In fact, Aviano hosted the First Lady, Laura Bush. Her visit focused on inviting military members to transition to teaching in public schools after they retired. “In 2007, I was deployed to Qatar. My first grandchild was born while I was deployed.” Now a professor at BYUH, he said his favorite part about teaching is his students. He said, “They have incredible and amazing stories of faith and endurance, dedication to their families, and [they] possess so much creativity and innovation. Our BYU– Hawaii graduates do so many incredible things. “I’m so happy when I hear of their successes in their employment, and I’m beyond grateful when I hear of their joys with their own families, their ability to overcome adversity and stay the course of faithful followers of Christ.” Growing up, Wolthuis said he had never considered serving in the military, even though his father had served. In fact, his father was at parachute jump school when Wolthuis was born. As a young boy, Wolthuis loved the outdoors and enjoyed playing outside with his four siblings and the neighborhood children. “We logged hundreds of hours playing kickball, baseball, football, kick the can and any game we could invent. We built several forts and worked hard on the yard. My parents supported all our activities and encouraged us to be selfsufficient. We had part-time jobs delivering
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newspapers, mowing lawns, raking leaves and stayed very busy serving in the Church.” Eventually, Wolthuis would serve in the Colorado Denver Mission. In 1981, shortly after returning from his mission, Wolthuis married his wife, Emily, who, at the time, taught at the MTC as a Greek translator for the Church. After getting married, Wolthuis attended BYU in Provo, where he began his studies in mechanical engineering. He said, “I’ve always been fascinated with how machines and industrial operations work.” As time went on, Wolthuis said his university studies became side-tracked, and he began working as a carpet cleaner and worked a summer as a soda delivery truck driver. During this time, Wolthuis was home teaching an individual who informed him about the USAF scholarship for electrical engineering and encouraged him to apply. Wolthuis said, “My wife and I thought long and hard about this opportunity and did a lot of praying and fasting.” To assist in this difficult decision, Wolthuis asked his father for a blessing. He said, “The blessing stated I should base my decision to enter the USAF on how well I did on my entry exam. The military uses a standardized test, much like taking the ACT, but much broader to match recruits with the right job in the military. ... To prepare, I got my hands on every practice test and study guide I could find.” Wolthuis spent months preparing, he said. “After I took the test, my recruiter told me I had the highest score he had ever seen. I was able to pick my USAF job, engineering assistant. When I left for basic training in January of 1985, I was 24 years old, and my sweetheart was expecting our first baby.” For the first four years of his service,Wolthuis worked in civil engineering. In order to make ends meet,Wolthuis worked as a part-time janitor while also taking university classes part-time. After his third attempt applying for the USAF scholarship program, Wolthuis was
finally selected. After selection, Wolthuis earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees while serving in the Air Force. He also attended four months of officer training school, where he received a commission as a 2nd lieutenant. Wolthuis served 16 years as an officer and, after 24 years total, retired as a major. While serving in the Air Force, Wolthuis developed knowledge and skills he would Caption ofthe photos goes here. eventually implement in his classes at BYUH. In 2008, Wolthuis was officially hired and began teaching classes in software development, cybersecurity and project management for technology in the Faculty of Math &
“Many people have thanked me over the years for my military service, but the real sacrifice was given by my family.” Computing. Wolthuis’ father, Robert Wolthuis, said of his son, “As his parents, we detected at every turn how proud he was to serve our nation which he loves dearly. He reflected a standard wherein he made every assignment an opportunity to excel. He saw much of the world and the United States. He was a great credit to the uniform he wore, and he cherished those 24 years, which allowed him to serve his country with distinction.”•
FALL 2021 SEASIDER SEASIDER SPORTS SPORTS EVENTS EVENTS
PICKLEBALL 5 PM – 9 PM TOURNAMENT McKay Gym
ARCHERY TAG 9 AM – 12 PM Turf Field
OCTOBER 5K FOAM RUN 8 AM – 11 AM Flag Circle
NOVEMBER MAKAHIKI 10 AM – 1 PM Little Circle
POOL 8 PM – 10 PM BATTLESHIP BYUH Pool
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MERRILL Merrill gives advice and insight into art and BYUH’s art program
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BY HAELEY VAN DER WERF What is your favorite thing to paint? “I love to teach figure drawing. I love figure painting. Basically, anything to do to draw people, I really like. Those would probably be my favorites. “It’s just a general satisfaction that you can make it look like something. Painting a landscape, you can make it look like trees, but trees can look a million different ways. For me, there’s a real satisfaction in capturing the essence of the person you’re painting, creating that representation of the individual. That’s what motivates me.”
high, I’ve quit using it. I have used acrylic for illustration. If I’m doing a fine art piece, I’m not going to use acrylic. I’m going to use oil. Oil paint has a prestige associated with it. A BMW is just a car, but it’s a nicer car than most cars.That’s kind of like oil paint. It’s just paint, but it has a little bit of a prestigious quality associated with it.” What techniques do you use when you paint? “Your technique is something you develop on your own when you learn from other people. My general technique is I start with thin paint and then I add thicker paint on top. That’s pretty standard procedure for most oil painting. That’s kind of what I adhere to, is thin paint and then thicker paint on top.”
What is your favorite medium to paint with? “Oil paint is my favorite. It’s the most versatile. You can paint anything with it. You can paint it like watercolor. You can layer it. You can glaze it, which means you can use a medium like this gel, make it thin so it becomes very translucent. It’s just has a lot of options. It’s very versatile.”
What should people know about the BYU–Hawaii Art Department? “I think the program is changing. People need to know it’s changing. I think we have an opportunity to grow it a little bit and to expand the depth of it. That’s kind of in the works. I don’t know how much it will be expanded, but there’s a potential it will do that.”
Is there any medium you don’t like to paint with? “I’m not in love with acrylic. I started out painting in acrylic paint, but ever since junior
Are there any artists you look up to? “I like John Singer Sargent. I like a guy named Frank Brangwyn. There’s a lot. I have
a handful of different artists. Mostly they’re realistic painters who have an expressive quality to their work. It’s not hyper realism or photo realism.You can still see the brush strokes and the texture and all the abstract elements of the paint. That’s really what I try to do in my work and what’s appealing to me, is that sort of quality in the paint connected to a representation of something. So it has a duality. It’s a person, but also it’s really interesting to look at.” What advice would you give to people who aren’t sure if they should pursue art? “I would tell them you have to realize that you’re going to compete against all the professionals the moment you graduate. Sort of a sobriety test, like, this is the reality of this. In other words, you have to be really good to do this. If you’re not really good, you’re probably not going to make a living out of it. It will either become a hobby or some other things. “I would give them sort of a reality check on what it involves and how hard you have to work at it, and how competitive it is. The top people get the job. If after that, they’re still like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to do it,’ you just encourage them to develop their skills.” •w LEFT: Jeff Merrill is pictured by one of his paintings. BYUH photographer and instructor Monique Saenz checks out an art exhibit in the McKay Auditorium Lobby. Ke Alaka'i file photos.
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COME JOIN & FEEL SAFE Affirmation Hawaii Chapter presidency says its goal is to create a safe, welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ students and ohana BY LISI TIAFAU
team of four BYU–Hawaii students and one faculty member lead the Affirmation Hawaii Chapter. As one of the international chapters of the Affirmation organization, the Affirmation Hawaii Chapter is for all of Hawaii to support LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters in the Church and at BYU–Hawaii, according to the chapter presidency. The president, Hao Le, a senior from Vietnam majoring in business and peacebuilding, said, “The Affirmation Hawaii Chapter is not an official BYUH chapter. It is a place where the LGBTQ+ community here in Hawaii and at BYUH can come, join and feel safe. “Whether you’re gay or not, we can go to school together [and] participate in activities without any homophobic discrimination or judgment because we are all humans. Why love [one] and not the other?” She continued, “Our [presidency’s] goal is
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to make sure our LGBTQ+ students’ voices are heard. Acceptance is not our end goal. Unifying is our long-term goal, so we are working together with BYUH leaders, faculty and staff to ensure the safety of our LGBTQ+ students on campus and to let everyone know there is available help. “There is a community, a chosen family, for them. More love for LGBTQ+ individuals does not mean less love for anybody else. We all are God’s creations, and you cannot love God if you hate and exclude His creations.” Le said the Affirmation Hawaii Chapter is not an anti-Latter-day Saint organization. She said they support Church leaders and work together with them around the world to create a safe place for the LGBTQ+ community. “We have members who have strong faith, want to be in the Church, want to be at BYUH and also want their sexuality to be accepted,” Le said.
Iese Wilson, a senior from Hawaii majoring in music and the vice president of the Affirmation Hawaii Chapter, said, “Affirmation Hawaii is the chapter for the whole state of Hawaii at the moment, and BYUH is where we have the most members currently.” Wilson said they are doing their best to live up to Affirmation’s vision, which is “to be a refuge, to heal, share and be authentic.” Wilson said, “A strength of our presidency is we have a diversity of thought which ensures we cover the wide-ranging needs of our members. For example, we are equipped to support LGBTQ+ individuals with a safe space, secular support and resources, as well as spiritual support and resources, the latter being both my personal passion and role in the presidency.” Gabriella MoraVeracruz, a senior from Texas majoring in intercultural peacebuilding
Leaders of the Affirmation Hawaii Chapter. From left to right: Gabriella MoraVeracruz, Elisa Moncrief, Hao Le, Iese Wilson and Michelle Johnson Blimes.
and vice president of activities and planning, said, “We want to be an open community with open communication to anyone and everyone. “We want to personally connect with people and adhere to their needs, which is hard when you can’t meet in person, but we are doing our best to accomplish that,” MoraVeracruz said. Michelle Johnson Blimes, an adjunct faculty member in the Faculty of Education & Social Work and Faculty of Arts & Letters, is the Affirmation Hawaii Chapter advisor. She said, “We started out having a lot of students here at BYUH as members. We love them, and we want to support them.” Blimes said they have a vision of how they can help students at BYUH and try to reach out to the whole Hawaii LGBTQ+ community. Elisa Moncrief, a senior from California majoring in communications, is the Affirmation Hawaii Chapter’s marketing analyst. She said, “This chapter is a necessity as it opens up a new dialogue on this campus. “I want students from all backgrounds to be able to be unapologetically comfortable on our campus. The LGBTQ+ students here
should never feel like they need to hide, and they should feel comfortable seeking help when they need it,” Moncrief said. Le said, “When [I] first came here in 2017, there was no community like this. I remember times where we had to hide and suppress ourselves from microaggressions and discrimination on campus and in the community just to fit in. Hence why this organization chapter was created is to bring visibility to BYUH and to protect the LGBTQ+ students’ wellness.” She expressed her concerns about discrimination and harassment towards LGBTQ+ students during a meeting with BYUH Vice President of Student Life Jon Kau, she said. “He expressed his care for our students and his vision to help them reach success in their best self,” Le said. She said when they held their first chapter event in March 2020, they expected a few students and community members to join, but they were surprised with how high the attendance was. “Everyone came together. There was so much love, and it was a safe place for them to be themselves.
“We not only [have] students but also BYUH faculty, teachers, community and many other people who joined and want to know how they can support the LGBTQ+ community and the wellbeing of our LGBTQ+ students here at BYUH,” Le stated. Wilson said, “We are not contrary to the teachings, practices or doctrines of the Church. So, if you feel isolated, here is your community full of people like you and safe people who will love you and are learning how to build a better world for you.” Wilson is a LGBTQ+ Spiritual Liaison, which is a person who helps maintain relationships between the Church and it’s LGBTQ+ members, according to Le. Wilson said, “I am passionate about training members of the Church on how to be allies through a spiritual lens.” He feels it is important to note those not wishing to pursue a spiritual path are loved and accepted by him regardless, he said. “I know by personal experience this journey is painfully complex, and my love is not qualified based on another’s repentance or their choice to venture away [or] return to church activity.” N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 81
Hao Le: president of Affirmation Hawaii
Elisa Moncrief: marketing analyst for Affirmation Hawaii
Iese Wilson: vice president of Affirmation Hawaii
Gabriella MoraVeracruz: vice president of planning and activities for Affirmation Hawaii
Photos by Ho Yin Li
Moncrief said, “Since my freshman year, there’s definitely been a change in spirit regarding the unity of students. I think this is the perfect time for our Affirmation chapter to thrive because the conversation about LGBTQ+ issues isn’t one students are as afraid of anymore.” Le said the biggest change was adding Affirmation Hawaii to the map of the island as a new and only resource for LGBTQ+ individuals located in the North Shore area. “Through Honolulu Pride 2020, Affirmation Hawaii has built professional connections from other LGBTQ+ organizations on the island to support the well-being of our members, including BYUH students.” Moncrief said, as one of the students who has been around for years, the Affirmation Hawaii Chapter not only helped her but also students who are dealing with gender issues. “This chapter creates unity among the LGBTQ+ students and BYUH and [helps them] not be separated from BYUH and its standards,” she said. 8 2 KE AL A K A‘I 2021
“Even with the ongoing pandemic, there’s still a need for community and a safe place for the LGBTQ+ students. That is why we’re here and will continue to grow our numbers. We are looking forward to that,” Le said. MoraVeracruz stated they are doing activities online, but they are trying to have activities besides Zoom meetings. “We have so many activities we planned. When COVID-19 started, it was difficult to make plans, but we are doing activities online to bring everyone together,” she said. Blimes said, “We are trying to do online activities that involve everyone and keep up with our social media to let people know we care about them and [they are] part of our community, even though we can’t physically meet.” Wilson stated if students are not open about their sexual identity or are questioning, they can attend as an ally. “You deserve to bide your time and navigate your unique journey the way you feel is best,” he said. He added students will not get into trouble with either the Church or the school for being involved in the chapter.
Wilson shared he has met with members of the BYUH presidency but only acted as a student. “After talking with Vice President Kau, the school cannot work exclusively with this one organization, which implies the Church is officially working with this organization, he said. Neither is it in Affirmation’s vision to be a part of campus advocacy, he explained. “However, we are willing to provide training if the campus asked for it or if clubs or departments invited us onto campus,” he said. Le also said, “If you are currently living or planning to live, go to school or work in Hawaii, it is important to be educated about LGBTQ+ issues. The LGBTQ+ [community] has been part of Hawaiian culture for centuries, through terms such as aikāne, meaning gay and māhū, referring to a third gender identity.” Wilson said he believes “it is not a choice to be aikāne or māhū, but it is a choice whether or not to learn how to love other human beings.”•
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HOPE Pacific Islander students share BYU–Hawaii prepares students to serve their country and the world BY GREG TIVLES
acific Islander students shared they chose BYU–Hawaii because of the gospel and its resources, but the school’s diversity has expanded their perspectives. They added what they have gained from BYUH will help them better serve in their home countries. Pritus Luitolo, a sophomore from the Solomon Islands studying elementary education, emphasized she could never think of any wiser words than Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s words, “Education is not merely a good idea. It is a commandment.” “To graduate from an American university will almost be everything to me and my family,” she stated. Luitolo explained there are three girls from the Solomon Islands currently studying at
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BYUH, and to her family, her community and her country, it is already a great achievement. “We were confident at the very beginning to study hard,” and with her parents’ support, she said she was able to attend BYUH. She chose BYUH because the facilities and resources BYUH has, she said, would help her be successful. “I cannot think of any learning resources that are lacking [on campus] like it was back home in the Solomon Islands. All I need to do is to work hard for the A grade,” she said. She emphasized the diversity of students at BYUH also allowed her to view the world from a bigger perspective. Adriannah Metta, a senior from Papua New Guinea majoring in anthropology, Pacific Island studies, and peacebuilding, similarly said at home, in Papua New Guinea, she was
only exposed to her family and people from other provinces. Coming to BYUH has been an eye-opener, and the diversity here allows her a greater perspective on life. “You have to look at people as human beings and not objects. I am a peacebuilding major, and I’m grateful BYU–Hawaii offers an excellent program I believe will help me become an agent for change and peace in my country,” Metta expressed. “I feel like the mission of BYU–Hawaii has helped me become an advocate for peace, and that is how the university enables us to see the potential in ourselves and what we can do for the world,” she emphasized. Luitolo shared a similar sentiment, saying she can see the Lord preparing her to serve in
“Just face your fears, the challenges with faith, and you’ll find joy in the journey.” ABOVE: The Metta sisters came to BYUH from Papua New Guinea. FAR LEFT: Pritus Luitolo is from the Solomon Islands. Ke Alaka'i file photos.
her own country. “The Church is very small in the Solomon Islands,” she said. She praised her religion professors at BYUH for instilling in her gospel teachings and equipping her to be an educator not only for her career but also for the Church. “I believe in the mission and vision of the school because now that I am here, I can see the Lord is also preparing me to serve Him in my own country,” Luitolo explained. Luitolo reflected on her journey as “one that cannot be done without the help of my parents.” Luitolo said she is optimistic about the future every day because she has “real professors with immense experience and capacities.” She said she still appreciates her teachers at home even though most of them are just high school graduates. “I am fortunate to have professors here at BYUH who will give me knowledge and skills I can [take] back home and contribute to educating our citizens,” she said. She encouraged future students and especially
potential students from her own country to see the significance of prayer and fasting. “Prayer and fasting work. Do not give up. Do not give in to feelings of self-doubt. Trust God, and just like He made my dream come true to be accepted to BYUH, He can do anything for you as well,” she reiterated. Charity Hoiesi, a sophomore from the Solomon Islands majoring in human resources, said her journey to BYUH was not easy. “It took time, effort and sacrifices,” Hoiesi said. She appreciates the Church and the full-time senior missionaries who have served in her country for their continuous support, which resulted in her being here at BYUH today. “Considering the current state of our lives,” she said, “I would like to reassure potential students from both here and my own country that if the Lord can do it for me, I know He can do more for you as well,” Hoiesi stated. Metta expressed at the very beginning, she felt like she wanted to be associated with people of the same standard as her. “As a senior
here at BYUH, I have come to appreciate my association with friends who have the same standard as me. It’s a great blessing,” Metta said. “Learning about other people’s cultures and how they do things in life helps me to view life from a bigger perspective.” Metta said there are times when she wanted to give up, but Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin’s quote kept her motivated and moving forward. “Come what may and love it,” she quoted. She said, “Just face your fears, the challenges with faith, and you’ll find joy in the journey.” Hoiesi said BYUH is one of the best schools because it taught her the importance of setting priorities, and great leaders and professors teach her. “At first, things didn’t seem right, especially at the beginning of the pandemic. But moving forward with faith and optimism, I felt like I have developed the ability to accept the challenges and trust God for better days,” Hoiesi explained.• N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 85
Rebekah Strain said she loves to find new places to explore when she travels. Photo by Ulziibayar Badamdorj. 8 6 KE AL A K A‘I 2021
mama Having hiked all around the world, BYUH instructor, Rebekah Strain, said hiking brings her to a sacred place that feels close to heaven BY SERENA DUGAR IOANE
ebekah Kay Strain said her love for hiking helps her to discover herself and connect with nature. Strain said she hikes every week for her mental health and tries to instill her love for nature in her children. She also shared some of her favorite hikes and gives some tips for beginners. Strain, an instructor in the Faculty of Religious Education, said hiking brings her to a sacred place that feels close to heaven. Being in the wilderness helps her feel “peace, order, beauty and the love of my heavenly parents,” she said. Strain said she grew up in a rural area of Southern Utah where she developed a passion for exploring nature through hiking. Hiking is still her passion, she said. “If I have a full day with nothing to do, I will definitely be spending some, if not all of it, in the mountains,” Strain added. Small but mighty Emily Bradshaw, an instructor in the Faculty of Arts & Letters, said, “Becky is the definition of wanderlust. She is at peace wandering through the woods, seeing which trails connect where. She is a small person, but mighty.” Bradshaw added, “The best thing about hiking with her is that I know we will hike
fast, talk about deep matters and laugh along the way.” Ann Springer, an assistant professor of the Faculty of Business & Government, said Strain is one of her favorite people, and they share a love of hiking. “She is kind and patient with me. She is always showing me fun trails and taking me on unexpected adventures.” Springer added, “Everyone needs a Becky. [Someone] who knows when to scoop you up out of your sorrows and take you to a mountain top. … She’s one of a kind.” Favorite hikes One of her favorite hikes, Strain shared, is a 22-mile-long hike along the Na Pali Coast of Kauai called Kalalau Trail. The hike, she said, pushed her out of her comfort zone both mentally and physically. Hiking with a group of close friends, disconnected from phones, work and family was special, said Strain. “We laughed and cried together. I value the time I shared with these sisters of mine.” Some of Strain’s favorite hikes in Hawaii include Kaena Point, HauulaWaipilopilo Loop Trail, Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail, Laie Summit, Kalalau Ridge Trail, and any of the bunker or pillbox hikes, she shared.
Strain said she has done a lot of hikes outside of Hawaii as well. “Whenever I travel, I always try to find places to explore,” she shared. Strain said her other favorite hikes include the John Muir Trail and Mist Falls in Yosemite National Park in California, Mount Timpanogos in Utah, Dewey Lake Trail in Alaska, Porth Wen and Snowdonia Slate Trail in Wales, Erawan Falls in Thailand, and Phnom Kulen in Cambodia. Hiking, she added, doesn’t always have to be in the wilderness. “I have enjoyed hiking the streets of Ghent in Belgium, the shoreline of Dunkirk in France and miles of old cemeteries in London, England. I love hiking through historical sites too.” Strain’s next challenge is to hike the Inca Trail in Peru, she said. “It is a three-tofour-day hike through the mountains of Peru, following the old Inca highway. The hike ends at Machu Picchu.” Lessons from hiking Strain said she has learned about plants, animals, geological formations and weather patterns from hiking. She likes to take time to notice the different plants, insects and animals, she added. “I am fascinated by the canyons, hills, rocks and cliffs. I love to watch clouds move
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“Everyone needs a Becky. [Someone] who knows when to scoop you up out of your sorrows and take you to a mountain top. .… She’s one of a kind.” -Ann Springer
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across the sky,” Strain shared. “My kids taught me to be curious by always asking questions. When I see something new and fascinating on a hike, I look it up and learn about it.” Strain said sometimes it is hard to find time to take a long, therapeutic hike. “Sometimes the weather can make things difficult or even dangerous. The physical challenge can be hard, but I enjoy working my body and seeing what amazing things it can do.” Passing on her passion Strain said she learned to love nature and hiking from her father. “He took us camping, hiking and fishing whenever he could. I always enjoyed our outdoor adventures. I try to share my love of nature with my children. It is a gift I am keen on sharing.” She and her husband, Jeff Strain, an assistant professor of the Faculty of Math & Computing, have six children. Nancy, 21,
Nathan,19, Anna, 17, Thomas,15, Mindy, 12 and Timothy, 10. She said she takes her three youngest on hikes about once a month. “When they hit their teen years, spending time with mom isn’t as cool, so I don’t force them because I worry that they would lose the love of the outdoors I worked hard to instill in them. But, they haven’t.” She shared her oldest two children are pursuing college degrees in conservation and natural science. “My daughter worked for three summers at a Scout camp teaching Boy Scouts about wilderness survival, conservation and recreation. “My oldest son spends his weekends exploring nature. Like me, he has found his time in nature is important for his mental health. I’m a proud mama,” Rebekah Strain said. Advice for beginners Strain urged individuals to respect the land and culture because hikers are guests of nature.
“Do not harm the plants or animals. Stay on the trail. Shortcuts can cause erosion and harm the mountains. Try to leave as little of a mark as possible. Nature is a precious gift. Treat it with care and love and it will return the favor.” Strain said, if you are a beginner, make sure you do not hike alone. “Download an app, like AllTrails. Learn about the trail before you go. Read what other hikers say about the trail. Check the distance, elevation and the weather.” She advised to start small and simple. “Find a short, easy, well-traveled hike. Learn how to use the GPS on your phone in case you get lost. Watch the weather. If it looks like it will be rainy, don’t hike in gulches or on narrow ridges. If it is windy, avoid high peaks and ridgelines.” • Left: Rebekah Strain said she hikes every week for her mental health and to share her love of nature with her children. Below: Rebekah Strain and her son. Photos by Ulziibayar Badamdorj.
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ACCEPTING THE UNEXPECTED Returned missionaries adjusted to new cultures by losing themselves in the Lord’s work BY LISI TIAFAU
hree returned missionaries at BYU–Hawaii spoke of the importance of understanding culture in missionary work. They noted respecting and learning a new culture on their missions helped them feel happy and shared stories and gave advice for prospective missionaries at BYUH. Called to serve Seniloli Komaisavai, a junior from Fiji majoring in intercultural peacebuilding, was called to serve in the Australia Adelaide Mission in 2015. He admitted that, at first, the location did not excite him and he did not want to work in Australia. A few years before receiving his call, Komaisavai and his mother worked in Australia. Eventually, Komaisavai said he discovered their manager had underpaid all of his employees. “Seeing my mother struggle for hours in the sun on several acres of land day after day, only to be scammed in the end, was such a demoralizing experience for me,” he said. Disappointed and discouraged he said he vowed to never fly to Australia again. After receiving his call, he said he went straight to his room and complained to Heavenly Father because the farm his mother had worked on was in his mission. “I didn’t realize why the Lord had called me there until much later,” Komaisavai said. He recalled feeling the Lord wanted him to return to the farm and work as hard as he did in the field. “He called me to serve, and I accepted it whole heartedly.” Dalvin Keil, a junior from Western Samoa majoring in computer science, said he felt excited and overwhelmed when he was called
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to serve in the New Zealand Auckland Mission in 2018. Growing up, he said New Zealand was on top of his “must visit” list. When he was called to New Zealand, he was overjoyed and excited to preach the gospel, he said. Being familiar with the food and serving in his native tongue made him feel like it would be the best two years of his life. “And it was,” he said. Immanuel Susi, a senior from Oregon majoring in hospitality and tourism management, was called to serve in the Philippines Cebu-East Mission in 2016. “When I opened my mission call, I was overpowered by the Spirit,” Susi said. He explained his parents were born and raised in the Philippines. “When I was called to serve in my parents’ homeland, it was a blessing and a miracle I did not expect.” Susi stated he was the first member of his family to be baptized in the Church and the first to go on a mission. “It wasn’t even a full year after my baptism that I got my mission call. The only thing I knew was that I was called on by God to serve as a missionary, and I was super excited,” he shared. His parents were disappointed with his decision to join the Church and serve a mission, he said, but knowing there were people waiting to hear the restored gospel message motivated him. “I wanted to find those families who wanted to be eternal.” He prayed every day for his parents’ hearts to soften and for them to embrace the gospel, Susi recalled. “To finish off my missionary journey, I was able to be sealed to them for all time and eternity in the Philippines Cebu Temple.”
Be prepared to adjust “Growing up, my parents would always try to teach me Filipino culture through language, food and stories, but it wasn’t until I was in the Philippines that I could experience everything firsthand,” shared Susi. A family they were teaching invited Susi and his companion over for dinner during a Christmas holiday and spent all of their money and food to provide them dinner, he recounted. The dinner was simple, but meaningful, he said. “There was only one candle in the middle of the room, and it was the only source of light in the house.” He would never forget the time he spent with them, he said. “They were not even members at the time, but they went out of their way to make us missionaries feel welcomed. That night, I saw the light of Christ in their eyes and the Spirit was very powerful.” Komaisavai remembered when he was called to serve among the Aboriginal Australians and their communities in the heart of Australia, also known as “the Bush,” he shared, “Everything was new and unfamiliar.” Eventually, he said he fell in love with the people and their culture. “You learn so much from them because their culture is so rich. We did everything together, from hunting for food and eating together, to talking story under the stars at night.” Keil stated it took him two or three months to adjust to Maori culture in New Zealand. He attended Maori institutes and marae, or meeting houses, he said. “I got to hear the people speak their native language and witness their traditions, their culture and their ancestors’ genealogy.”
Despite not understanding everything about the culture, Keil said he would always respect and admire it. Susi said he appreciated the Filipino community’s sympathy and willingness to share. “People in the Philippines are always giving,” he explained. “Giving snacks, rides, time and energy to strangers and the people they love. They are so willing to give anything they own if they believe it will make someone happy.” He said it was amazing how everyone was always willing to contribute to ensure that everyone was fed. Susi said serving guests and making sure they’re satisfied and happy comes first in Filipino culture. Keil shared learning the tika tonu haka, or war dance, and knowing its roots is something he still treasures today. “The haka is performed for those who are about to embark on a journey,” he explained. “I enjoyed performing the haka because it helps me feel the spirits of our ancestors and allows me to connect with them.” Through his mission, Keil said he learned people don’t need much to live a good life or to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. He cherishes the culture and the people of New Zealand because they made him feel like family and at home, he recounted. Komasavai said sometimes people tell themselves they are not good enough or their life choices disqualify them from something worthwhile. “That isn’t true. Even at night, the moon is outshone by the thousands of stars, implying that even the major setbacks in our lives will always be overshadowed by the many decisions we have yet to make,” Komaisavai explained.
Advice to future missionaries Susi said the most valuable piece of advice he could give someone considering serving is to be ready now, not tomorrow. “If you are thinking about serving a mission, do it.” He said it is important to be prepared to preach and invite others to accept and live the gospel. Komasavai advised, “To those who are considering serving a mission or making a major life decision, let go and listen to the Lord.” Keil said, “Learn to accept your mistakes and learn from them. Most importantly, lose yourself in the work. There is no greater joy on the mission than to do the Lord’s work, no matter where you serve.” • Komasavai advised, “To those who are considering serving a mission or making a major life decision, let go and listen to the Lord.” Keil said, “Learn to accept your mistakes and learn from them. Most importantly, lose yourself in the work. There is no greater joy on the mission than to do the Lord’s work, no matter where you serve.” • Top left and far right: Seniloli Komaisava served in the Australia Adelaide Mission. Photos provided by Komaisava. Above left and middle: Immanuel Susi served in the Philippines Cebu-East Mission. Photos provided by Susi. Left middle and bottom: Dalvin Keil served in the New Zealand Auckland Mission. Photos provided by Keil.
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Dive master, Curt Christiansen, shares experiences from more than 30 years of scuba diving in an alternate reality BY XYRON LEVI CORPUZ
urt Christiansen, the advisor of the BYU–Hawaii Dive Club for the last 16 years, said his first encounter with diving occurred when he was 15 years old. Now, after more than 30 years of diving experience, he looks back on his underwater adventures and said the best part about diving is experiencing it alongside someone else.
Where it all began Christiansen said when he was a 15-yearold Boy Scout he went to Camp Lemhi in Idaho where he saw a man setting up his scuba gear on the boat dock of a small lake. He shared, “I was waiting to start my canoeing merit badge, and I was watching him put his gear together. Then I saw him turn on BYU–Hawaii students on a dive. Photo provided by Curt Christiansen.
the tank and I asked him about it.” Christiansen said the stranger told him he was checking to make sure all of his gear worked and invited him to try it out. Christiansen said, “We got in shallow water and he turned on his scuba tank.” He said the scuba tank has two mouthpieces: the backup, which is the one he used, and the regulator, which the other guy used. “I was underwater and holding to the side of the boat dock. Looking around, I could see fish underwater. I could see things I couldn’t normally see when I was up kayaking or swimming,” he said. The experience was one he would remember and that day Christiansen said he told himself he would do it someday for real. In 1988, Christiansen said he moved to Hawaii as a student and became scuba dive certified on Oahu. He said he first had to learn
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Members of the BYUH Dive Club going on a dive. Photo provided by Curt Christiansen.
to be comfortable with the water. Activities like snorkeling and spearfishing helped him gain an understanding of the ocean, he added.
The world underwater While describing what it’s like to scuba dive, Christiansen said, “Sometimes you’re underwater and you forget you are underwater.You look up and you see the surface of the water … and it reminds you. I’m in this environment. I’m clear down here underwater. I don’t worry about breathing because it’s all set up. I don’t have to have any fear or panic to get to the surface because everything is okay down here.” It’s cool to look up and see the surface of the water, he said. “It’s almost like a ceiling above you, and you’re separated from the world of air,” said Christiansen. “You’re enclosed in a world of water and there’s a whole different world down there.” Before the pandemic, Christiansen said he would scuba dive half a dozen times a year. One
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of the places he loves to go to is Lanai Lookout, an advanced dive not for beginners, he said. “Scuba diving on the island is just like surfing. It’s seasonal,” Christiansen said. In the winter there are big waves on the North Shore, so people go to the south shore or the west side to dive, he explained. During the summer it would be the opposite, he added. “You can scuba dive all year round as long as you are willing to go where it’s calm … because the waves change to each side of the island every six months,” he said.
The BYUH Dive Club Christiansen said he became the advisor of the Dive Club at BYUH about 16 years ago. “In the Dive Club, we get people certified to Open Water Diver, the basic level, and then they can go on and become an Advanced Scuba Diver or become a Dive Master, the highest rank before instructor.”
He has been a Dive Master for about 30 years, he said. “A basic diver should have their own mask, fins, snorkel [and] booties,” he shared. Scuba gear consists of a Buoyancy Control Device (BCD), which is the vest, a tank, a weight belt, a regulator and a suit, he said. “A part of the [club] fee to go scuba diving is a rental of [this] equipment,” he explained. Diving teaches people how to take care of the environment and how much of what people do affects it, he said. “Sometimes when we’re out diving, we see some trash like a plastic bag or some fishing gear that’s left out there, and we pick it up so the next diver doesn’t have to see that and it doesn’t tangle up sea creatures in it.” Divers should take care of the environment so everyone can enjoy it more, he said. Brandon Moore, a senior from Alaska majoring in art education and Dive Club vice president of activities, said the fee to be part of
the club this semester is $3. If a student wants to get certified it will cost them $350 because they have to pay the dive guide, he shared. “Unlike a driver’s license where you have to renew it every couple of years, once you get certified, you’re certified for the rest of your life,” Moore explained. Moore said it took him a couple of weeks to get his diving certification. “What you do is you [spend] a couple of nights in a classroom where you watch a bunch of videos about diving. [Then] you have a workbook that you’re supposed to read and answer questions in, and then you’ll meet with the instructor in a classroom [where] he’ll go over all the questions in the book,” he shared. After that, Moore said, divers do their first dive in a swimming pool, followed by four more dives in the ocean. “It’s really pretty quick. It’s not a process that takes months,” Moore said. “It’s a pricier club and that is one of the things we always caution people about. … But as far as the benefit, diving is just one of the coolest ways to explore the ocean,” he added. If the dive is from a boat it’s $100, and if it is a dive from the shore, where divers just walk into the water, it’s $50, he said. “You can spend 10 minutes looking [at] a little five-by-five area of coral and find all sorts of fish, animals [and] crabs. It’s so much fun. It’s an amazing way to experience the ocean that you really can’t experience in any other way,” Moore commented.
“As much as it is a recreational sport, it’s a social sport,” Christiansen said. Diving together makes it really fun, he said. Christiansen’s wife, Dr. AnnaMarie Christiansen, an associate professor in the Faculty of Arts & Letters, said, “We see the ocean, but we often do not look at what is underneath. [Diving is] a great way to explore nature in an underwater context.” She echoed her husband when she said, “It’s a social activity that is fun to do with your partner and with the group that you know well. It’s fun to become certified [by taking] the classes through the Dive Club with someone you’re dating or some of your friends and work [through] that process together,” she shared. When the two got engaged, AnnaMarie Christiansen said her husband automatically signed her up for scuba diving lessons. She said her husband loves to get people interested in diving. Both of their daughters are certified through the BYUH program, she shared.
On one occasion, while they were both scuba diving, AnnaMarie Christiansen said a little tiger shark swam by. She said she was afraid but her husband stepped in front of her to protect her. “He is very conscientious, and safety is very important to him,” she added. Moore said Curt Christiansen is one of the most experienced divers he knows. “If you have any questions about diving, Curt has something to say about it, which is really cool.” Moore said he enjoys talking to Christiansen about his diving experiences. He can go on forever talking about it, he shared. Besides being the adviser to the Dive Club, Curt Christiansen works for BYUH Facilities Management as the capital assets and key access coordinator. •
A social sport When asked what the best thing about diving is, Christiansen said it is the interactions with fellow divers. “It’s a buddy system, so you’re usually paired up with somebody else for safety,” he said. Each pair watches each other while diving, occasionally inspecting each other’s air and communicating underwater through signals, he explained. “You then get to experience things underwater together. … You often point at things underwater so your buddy can see it also, so they don’t miss [what you discovered].” When the divers get out of the water, everyone is excited to talk about what they saw and it is really fun, he added. Christiansen with a sea urchin. Photo provided by Curt Christiansen. N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 95
Telling stories through pixels Content creator with a passion for storytelling recalls spending over 100 hours on a five-minute video BY ALEXANDRA CLENDENNING
milio Valenciano said he prefers making videos over photographs because he likes to tell stories and create an emotional connection with the audience. Valenciano, a senior from the Philippines studying exercise and sport science, is an avid content creator who tells inspirational stories and captures beauty through film and photography. His wife Sarah Valenciano, an alumna from Colorado who is also a photographer and videographer, said she admires her husband’s talent for interacting with the people and the things he films. He knows how to portray them very well, she said, adding she has learned a lot from him. Emilio Valenciano said he loves to connect with his viewers and enjoys hearing how his videos and photographs have touched them. He expressed it brings him joy to know his hard work is giving people the emotional experience he strives to create.
order to convey his messages with ease. He recalled dedicating over 100 hours of work on a five-minute video about a BYU–Hawaii student’s weightlifting journey, titled, “Lifting Burdens Short Film.” He explained the process of creating good content consists of starting with an idea, finding the inspiration and talent and bringing the idea to life. One unique aspect of his process is first recording the audio and syncing it with the music in order to create a vision and layout for his video. He said, “I like to put things together with the music and audio before I even start filming because I want to listen to the audio, listen to the music and just imagine what the final product will be.” He said he asks for feedback from his fellow videographers and photographers while in production in order to improve the video’s quality and to have a fresh set of eyes critique his film. He often asks his wife for advice, he said, since she is also versed in photography and videography.
The creative process Emilio Valenciano said it takes many hours to produce great videos. He expressed he tries to make high-quality work with precision in
Passion over everything His friend and fellow creator, Harold Pedroso, a senior from the Philippines studying hospitality and tourism management, shared
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how much passion and drive Emilio has for creating and telling stories through his work. He commented, “Whenever he is feeling burnt out, he always comes up with these crazy ideas that we should do, which always brings back my motivation to keep creating.” Pedroso noted Emilio Valenciano often does jobs for fun and as a creative outlet, rather than doing it for money or praise because of his pure passion for creating. “He doesn’t think about being paid when taking on a project. He cares about if the film is going to impact a lot of people and how he’s going to do that.” Sarah Valenciano shared, “He has a bolder view of life that definitely reflects his personality through his work. He’s a go-getter. He dreams big, which is shown through his works.” Emilio Valenciano said he first discovered his passion for creating videos and photographs when he arrived at BYUH three years ago. He recalled marveling over the beauty, colors and sunsets, and said he felt inspired to capture the beauty through his camera. Valenciano said there are so many places to find inspiration for creating. “I really love the saturation and the colors of Hawaii, especially underwater when I’ve gone diving. I love the
feeling of freedom and life underwater. It is so blue and one of the most beautiful places. It feels almost like flying,” he remarked. He added inspiration can be as simple as going for a walk or swim at the beach. Valenciano urged beginning creators to follow their passions with a simple word of advice: repetition. “The best way to master it is repetition. I can see the difference between my first shot to my shots right now. Editing is one of the main factors that affects how beautiful a photo can be. It took me hours of editing, tons of tutorials and tons of going to the beach and diving and taking photos to create my images today,” he commented. He also said it takes practice to “find good timing, the best shot, best angle and the position as well. If you’re in the wrong position then obviously you’re not going to get the best shot possible.” He added aspiring creators should get outside and enjoy what they have in front of them while here on the island. He stated, “Give yourself a break, go have a walk, watch the sunset and enjoy nature.” •
“ Give yourself a break, go have a walk, watch the sunset and enjoy nature.” EMILIO VALENCIANO
Photos by Emilio Valenciano.
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DINE FULL go forth
Food Services supervisor shares 39-year journey to bachelor’s degree and describes joy of serving students in the university's cafeteria
BY SERENA DUGAR IOANE
endy Lau, an alumna and the BYU– Hawaii Food Services supervisor, said she strives to deliver quality food and service to the BYUH ohana and shared her 39-year journey towards her bachelor’s degree. Her coworkers describe her as a positive, polite and understanding person. Lau shared she loves her job in every way, from upper management to their front-line workers. “It is the team who feeds hundreds of students, faculty, staff and the community members every day,” she commented. She said her team helps BYUH to fulfill its mission, “Enter to learn, go forth to serve,” through their own mission, “Enter to dine, go forth full.” She said, “I am a foodie and enjoy food from growing, preparing, all the way to delivering and eating. I have a passion for food and love gardening, so ‘farm to table’ is natural for me.” Delivering quality food, service and care Lau said she believes in positive leadership and effective team style management. Her goals as a supervisor for Food Services are to serve quality food and deliver quality service and care, she shared. “I strive every day to do my best to meet these goals.
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Wendy Lau is a BYUH alumna who is a Food Services supervisor. She says she is a foodie and strives to do her best each day. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos
“Of course, as a food service business, our customers are our No. 1 priority,” Lau explained. “Yet, we prioritize our student employees and do our best to practice positive leadership principles, build effective teamwork and to have an organized and safe work environment.” Tselmuun Dashdorj, a freshman from Mongolia majoring in biology, said of Lau, “She is a very polite and understanding person. I used to work with her, and I love to see her treating our customers very nicely. “She always understood and cared for me when something came up in my personal life,” Dashdorj added. “One time, I saw her playing basketball with young students, and I was impressed because I didn’t know she was good at playing basketball.” 39-year journey towards a degree Lau is an alumna who graduated in 2013 and majored in hospitality and tourism management. She said it took 39 years for her to finish her degree, starting as a freshman in 1974, the same year the Church College of Hawaii became Brigham Young University–Hawaii. At the end of 1976, Lau got married and started building her family. She married Lawrence Lau, whom she met as a fellow student and coworker at the Polynesian Cultural
Center. Together they have four sons who are all graduates of BYUH. She said her sons are all married and all of their wives are BYUH alumnas as well. Today, Lau and her husband have 10 grandchildren. In 1985, Lau started a flower shop business. “It was too difficult financially and logistically to finish school with four sons, so I took classes intermittently and finally got my bachelor of science in 2013,” Lau shared. “Walking in Spring 2013 as a graduate was a highlight in my life and an achievement I always wanted.” Lau said she worked as a cook for seven years for BYUH Food Services and became a supervisor in 2018. Prior to that, she said she worked at the Polynesian Cultural Center Food Service Department for five years. She added her husband is also a retiree of BYUH after 35 years of service as the coordinator of the BYUH TV Studio. “It was a long and rewarding career,” she said. Maheono Ly, a senior from Tahiti majoring in finance, said of Lau, “We used to work together at the cafeteria. ... I appreciate and respect her. She is someone who always tries to stay positive when facing challenges. She even came to my wedding. An experienced florist Lau said she is also an experienced flower designer. She used to own a flower
shop, Rainbow, Balloons & Flowers, at the Laie Shopping Center. She managed and operated it for more than 20 years. Closing the flower shop, Lau said, was the greatest challenge of her life. The shop, she explained, started in her garage and then moved to the Laie Shopping Center. Rainbow, Balloons & Flowers, she said, served the North Shore community for years. Lau said the shop’s motto was, “Send someone some happiness today.” Lau shared, “We were sending out aloha and happiness to our customers with leis, flowers and balloons on their special days, such as weddings, graduations and birthdays.” Lau said the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, was the cause of her shop having to close. She explained, “It was a difficult time and my business closed because of those tragic events. COVID-19 is even worse today.” However, she said she chose to move forward and found a new career in the food service business at the Center and BYUH. “My life has been challenging yet rewarding. I have learned a lot from all my experiences,” she commented. “My treasure has been found in my journey of faith and testimony in the gospel of Jesus Christ.” •
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through paradise 1 0 0 KE AL AK A‘I 2021
Race Mcbride says the waves in Hawaii are unlike anywhere else in the world BY ALEXANDRA CLENDENNING
s the wave approached, Race McBride recalls glancing over his shoulder to see his buddies cheering him on. In the distance, he heard them yelling, “Go, go, go!” With that, he was off. Shifting his board to face the shoreline, he started to paddle, his arms cutting through the water until he was taken by the wave. Suddenly, McBride said he saw the world around him in slow motion as he grazed his fingers along the barreling wave. Waves like no other McBride, a sophomore from California studying marketing, said he had been surfing for seven years in California before moving to Hawaii. Although the waves in Hawaii are different from the ones in California, McBride said he was excited for the move. He expressed, “The waves [in Hawaii] are unlike anywhere else in the world and will make you or break you. I feel like Hawaii has definitely improved my surfing and has helped me charge bigger waves than I ever would back home.” McBride recalled his most memorable surfing experience. He said, “The waves were 8 to 10 feet high and barreling. I remember seeing a set come in and getting nervous, and only hearing my friends yell, ‘Go go go!’ When your buddy calls you into a wave like that, you go.” He said he took off on the water and the next thing he knew, he was riding the wave and everything around him went into slow motion. “I put my hand into the wave by me and pulled in for the best barrel of my life. I will never forget that wave.”
Self-taught surfer No one can really teach you how to surf, McBride said. “It’s more of going out in the water and learning through trial and error,” he added. Learning to surf by a harbor in California, McBride said he developed a love and passion for the sport. McBride advised people to stick with the sport and to keep getting up despite failures. He expressed, “Surfing is really hard and requires dedication. Stick with it for the first three months of paddling and looking for waves, and you’ll be rewarded generously.” He advised Castles Beach on the North Shore is where beginners should go. “The sandbar on the North Shore is where intermediate surfers will have the most fun, and the Pipeline is where legends are made in the water.” Surfing etiquette in Hawaii Surfing is not just about catching waves. There are rules and regulations to consider. According to the article “Surfing Etiquette” published by Outdoor Hawaii, surfing the North Shore requires knowledge of the areas, locals and rules while riding the waves. The article said Hawaii is a very provincial state where locals feel a deep connection and ownership of their land. So, if outsiders don’t show appreciation for nature, it may cause feelings of resentment. Following the proper protocols will help people enjoy surfing in the best location in the world, the article continued. It went on to say that newcomers should wait their turn and get a feel for the water before launching into the lineup. It also suggested getting help from experienced surfers if people are feeling unsure. •
Race Mcbride catches some Hawaii waves. Photos by Ulziibayar Badamdorj.
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10 rules for surfers Pick the right location Don’t drop in Don’t snake Paddle wide Avoid other surfers Communicate Respect Hold on to your board Apologize Be a good person
The article “Surf Etiquette: 10 rules a beginner needs to know,” laid out the rules and etiquette of surfing for beginners and advanced surfers to keep in mind when hitting the waves. Photo by Wendy Wei. • Illustrations by Sadie Madriaga. 1 0 2 KE AL AK A‘I 2021
A refugee from Uganda, Bob Okot shares his story in a documentary made by BYUH alumnus Jeff Collins. His story and Collin's video, received an honorable mention in the 2020 Faith Counts video contest. Photo courtesy Jeff Collins
through storytelling BYUH alumni say Jeff Collins can make emotional connections through his films BY ALEXANDER TUMALIP
eff Collins said he has always had a passion for video making, but considered it a hobby until he entered the 2020 Faith Counts video competition. After receiving an honorable mention in the highly competitive contest, he credited his success to his time at Ke Alaka‘i for allowing him to develop his creativity and talent. According to its website, Faith Counts is a nonprofit, nondenominational organization comprised of faith communities representing nearly 100 million Americans, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Every year, the organization holds a video contest, which highlights “how faith changes lives, relationships and communities for the better.”
Collins, a 2015 BYUH alumnus, said when his cousin invited him to enter the video contest in August 2020, he wasn’t interested, explaining videos were his hobby, not his job. Yet, he was still intrigued because of the contest’s aim, he said, and the organization’s goal to promote faith in society. “I thought, ‘If I can create a good video, I can impact somebody’s life.’” The organization awarded Collins an honorable mention for his video submission. Collins credited his cousin’s encouragement for his award. “There are numerous entries, so the chances of winning awards are remote,” he said. “My cousin’s convincing made me step out of my comfort zone. I could have made up multiple excuses, but I decided to go for it.” Fellow BYUH alumnus, Reid Crickmore, said Collins lets his videos speak for him. “Jeff’s
creativity really comes out when he gets into it,” he said. “He has the talent to go against the best of the best, but it was at Ke Alaka‘i he began to expand his creative horizons.You can clearly see the impact it has had over time.” Another fellow alumnus, James Astle, said Collins was an example of someone who never focused on himself despite having tremendous talent. “The way the story came together and how he found the individual was perfect,” he said. “Being able to use his own raw talent was so cool to see.” Collins explained his submission was the story of a refugee from Uganda named Bob Okot, whose father was killed by rebel fighters, then he lived in refugee camps, and was eventually selected to come to America. The video used ocean tides to outline the challenges in adjusting to life in the United States and relying
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on faith. “Life’s hardships are like the tides,” he explained. “Even in our hardest times, the tides will rise again, and things will get better.” The way the story came together was Collins’ favorite part, he said. He recalled how his father started a nonprofit organization in San Diego to assist refugees in transitioning to life in the United States. “I have heard so many amazing, yet tragic stories of their upbringing in their native countries,” he said. “Some were born into difficult circumstances, often surrounded by chaos or war. Often, people think when refugees arrive they are out of harm’s way, but they are faced with entirely different challenges.” Astle said the storytelling element is a critical part of making films. “The goal of storytelling is to make someone feel something. How you do it is your decision,” he said. “We become who we are through stories, whether it is our own or someone else’s.” Collins shared even though the story was great, the biggest challenge was putting the script together. “I spent time interviewing my subject and writing down all the details, then fitting it all into two minutes,” Collins recalled. Even though time was short, Collins said it still worked out great. He said the easiest path 1 0 4 KE AL AK A‘I 2021
to making the video was to use the defining moments in his subject’s life. Collins said his defining moment in making videos came when he was at BYUH. Collins said he started getting into video making about six months before he joined Ke Alaka‘i. Crickmore said Collins would do GoPro videos when the two went surfing at Pounders Beach, and they also did weekly newscasts loosely based on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update.” One project Collins recalled doing with Crickmore was a story about a group of cross-country runners who sang in the locker room at BYUH. “There was a lot of personality on the cross-country team back then, and they used to call themselves the Lilikoi Boys,” Crickmore recalled, adding one of the runners on the team once ran the entire coast of Peru. However, he said the video came when BYUH was deciding whether or not to cut the athletics program. “Sports gave the university something to enjoy,” Crickmore said. “We wanted to do something to unite the community and provide comedic relief in a bittersweet moment.” According to Collins, that video received an award from the College Media Association,
which boosted his confidence. Crickmore said the award was unexpected. “Jeff texted me one day and said we won an award, and I could not believe it,” he said. “To see an idea come to fruition and have people appreciate it that much was an incredible feeling.” Astle also said he worked with Collins on multiple projects, including a time-lapse for another news competition. “It did not feel like work,” Astle explained. “We were constantly thinking about how to create the story of BYUH in different places and times.” The collaboration taught them how filmmakers express their own ideas, Astle added. He said he and Collins used different locations around campus, like the library and the cafeteria, to capture the diversity of the BYUH student body and the unique setting of the campus. Astle said that video also received an award. “To be recognized with an award, it gives you energy,” he said. However, to him, the greatest reward is seeing people be inspired, he explained. “It affirms to you maybe what you are doing is important.” Crickmore remembered joining Ke Alaka‘i with Collins in 2013. “I was working in the bookstore and was looking to do something different,” he recalled. “I enjoyed writing at the time, and [Collins] wanted to express his creativity.” Crickmore said he had known Collins since they were young, growing up 45 minutes away from each other in Encinitas, Calif., a small suburb outside of San Diego. He said they became roommates while at BYUH, but at the Ke Alaka‘i, he saw Collins’ talent firsthand. Crickmore credits Collins’ growth to Leeann Lambert, the current advisor at Ke alaka‘i and an instructor in the Faculty of Arts & Letters. “Jeff used his time to expand his current horizons and that came because of Sister Lambert,” he recalled. “She provided the tools, like Adobe, video equipment and layouts, and that produced amazing talent like Jeff.” Astle said he joined the magazine in 2015 and worked with Collins for two semesters. Like Crickmore, Astle said Collins’ talent impacted him the most. “Jeff was always super
humble, and he would never tell you what he was doing,” Astle said. “He is such an easygoing person, yet he is willing to try new things.” Astle also credited his time at Ke Alaka‘i for his ability to create media, including his recent Amazon Prime documentary, “Rolling Moments.” “They gave us all the resources we needed to succeed, and that is such a blessing,” he said. “We were always encouraged to be as creative as possible, and Ke Alaka‘i has always found a way to tap into every person’s creativity.” Collins said his honorable mention award from Faith Counts was more significant than any award he received at Ke Alaka‘i. “The competition was so intense,” he said. “The organization notified me when I entered the top 10, and hearing I was selected out of 900 entries was surprising, yet exciting.” Crickmore said even though he made videos when he was surfing and skateboarding in his hometown, he never had the passion Collins has. “Jeff can literally bring an idea to life,” he said. “You feel immersed in it emotionally, especially in his video submission for the contest.” To Collins, that emotional connection through storytelling makes films what they are. “That’s what makes me feel successful: If someone is able to feel something, like sadness, happiness or motivation,” he said. “The market for films may be competitive, but it comes down to the story you share.” To see Jeff Collin’s video “Faith in Tides” see here: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=8scpIBkV-Zk.
Life’s hardships are like the tides. Even in our hardest times, the tides will rise again, and things will get better. JEFF COLLINS
LEFT: Bob Okot is pictured with Jeff Collins. Photo courtesy Jeff Collins N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 105
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Family-owned footwear for all BYU–Hawaii alumna says time at BYUH as student and faculty member led her to start brand J-Slips BY CARLENE COOMBS
nspired by business majors to start her own company, Martha Christensen, a previous academic advisor for the Faculty of Business & Government, began her journey towards creating her company J-Slips. Presently, J-slips offers students business internships as the company continues to spread across Polynesia. She said these student interns have brought great ideas and connections to the J-Slips family. According to Christensen, a BYUH alumna, J-Slips is a family-owned footwear shop located in Laie, which sells Hawaiianstyle sandals around the world. In addition to running her business, she also provides students with on-campus internships through BYUH. “I was an academic advisor in the Business Department for 10 years. All these students would come in with their ideas, but I had never done a business myself. I just majored in business and was around people who did business,” said Christensen. She said watching these students come in with their business dreams is what made her want to start her own company, and after her children had gotten older, she decided to do just that. “My kids had gotten older, and I kind of wanted to start something, but I didn’t know what to start. The only thing I could think of was jewelry ... You can make a lot
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of money off of it, but it’s hard because there’s so much competition.” After attempting to sell jewelry and even Hawaiian food on Amazon, Christensen said she realized there was a high demand for Hawaiianstyle sandals, often referred to as jandals. “My son went to Utah … and he came back and said, ‘Mom, everyone is wearing these sandals in Utah, in the winter, with socks. Maybe we should sell some of those.’” After selling for another company, Christensen decided to begin her own brand, J-Slips. She currently sells on Amazon and to distributors on the mainland and throughout Polynesia. As her shop has grown, Christensen said she agreed to work with BYUH to offer on-campus internships by providing students with real-life experience and assist with the thriving business. Jake Billings, a California sophomore studying business management, is a part of the team of five students interning for J-Slips this semester. Billings said something cool about Christensen is her desire to help students. He said she hopes to improve their knowledge and their talents from wherever they are coming from. Christensen said her team of students has been able to bring fresh ideas as well as new connections into J-slips.
“I think it’s a really good experience for [students], and it’s super helpful for me. They have tons of good ideas. One served his mission in Fiji. We’ve haven’t really shipped to Fiji. We do Tonga and Samoa. I don’t have connections [in Fiji], but he does.” Ian Seiuli, a senior from Samoa majoring in information technology, said as part of their internship they help with promoting the business on social media and work towards increasing revenue for J-Slips. He added he believes bringing in students will have a positive impact on the business in the future. “Martha is doing an awesome job with the internship and partnering with the school. There are so many kids here with a lot of ideas. “We might just have a tiny impact on her business for now, but in the long run … consistently doing [internships] and involving [students] in her business … can help improve things which need to be improved. J-Slips has a big future ahead of them.” • Martha Christensen walks with her pair of J-Slips on the beach. Photos by Keyu Xiao.
“I was an academic advisor in the Business Department for 10 years. All these students would come in with their ideas, but I had never done a business myself. I just majored in business and was around people who did business.” - Martha Christensen
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Seven Brothers begins franchising but works to maintain a family atmosphere and the aloha spirit BY ALEXANDER TUMALIP
eek Hannemann, owner of Seven Brothers Provo and co-owner of Seven Brothers Laie, said, “Food was never meant to be fast. It was meant to bring us together.” According to him, the family-centered atmosphere is what sets Seven Brothers apart. Even though Seven Brothers signed its first franchising deal in 2020, Hannemann said he wants to maintain that same atmosphere. Driven by a better purpose “What the Hannemanns have created makes you feel like you’re one of their own,” said Jones Hughes, a senior at Kahuku High School. “They treat everyone like it’s their first time there,” he said. “As you’re eating, they’ll even come by and talk to you. That’s the sign of their aloha, their love, and it shows they care.” Hannemann said when Seven Brothers first began, he never could have imagined it would become so well known. “It has been a community effort.” Hannemann said every employee has had that mentality instilled in them. “We are still committed to serving the customer first. We want them to feel cared about.” Hannemann explained what drives him is how he feels when he wakes up in the morning. “I need something tangible or an emotional connection to get excited about what I do. If
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money is always your concern, it not only gets old quickly, but also it makes you lose sight of your purpose,” he added. “You start to feel incomplete if you chase after it. The dollars will come since you are driven by a better purpose.” Hughes said, “I want the community to know [Seven Brothers] represents more than a restaurant. The way they have supported us and the customer service they provide, it feels like a family.”
Brothers, their ability to work with the family and their experience in the business. “We needed that experience because we knew how difficult the transition was ourselves.” Hannemann said he wants the restaurant to continue on its current path. “Hopefully, people are still feeling the exact things they felt from the beginning, which is a connection to our family, the food or even our employees,” he said.
Gavin Baker, a senior studying communications from Arizona who works for the Hannemanns, said other restaurants cannot duplicate the atmosphere at Seven Brothers. “I’ve learned about the advantages of creating a good work environment,” he said. “The sense of family starts at the top where the Hannemanns treat us like family. It’s fun to be a part of it because it doesn’t feel forced.”
Support from the community Hannemann said he wants to see the community help get small businesses to thrive again after the impact COVID-19 has had on them. “If everyone can try to get these businesses in the clear, we can see miracles take place. It goes beyond government funding.” Hannemann recalled at the start of the pandemic, sales at the restaurant dropped 60 percent in April. “The pandemic was a real slap in the face for everyone. We really had to wing it and see what others were doing,” he said. “We had to work around how people wanted to interact during the pandemic.” He said the biggest assist came from the restaurant’s online app, which allowed customers to pick up orders in person. “As restaurants change, customers change. They want convenience and communication, but they also want protection against what’s going on,” Hannemann explained. He added more assistance came from the community. “I remember one man in Provo bought $2,000 worth of gift cards and sold them on his own to support us,” he said. “The community came together and brought us through this time.” Recent months have seen COVID-19 pre-flight testing and safety precautions, which, according to Hannemann, allow for increased optimism for a return to normalcy.
A family-centered atmosphere Hannemann said he sought to continue spreading the aloha spirit with their first franchise deal, which was signed two months ago. “Once we put the documents out, we got a flood of inquiries. These ranged from families, to single people, even former employees. Listening to all their stories and why they wanted to work with us was amazing.” Hannemann noted his biggest fear with franchising was maintaining what made Seven Brothers what it is, a family-centered atmosphere. “We connected with the person we signed with on another level, and the situation when we signed the deal was perfect,” he said. “We always had a difficult time hiring people, but we have certain standards to ensure our employees feel like they’re family.” What made the decision so difficult, Hannemann said, came down to how well the person understood the mission of Seven
Food was never meant to be fast. It was meant to bring us together. -Seek Hannemann
As an employee, Baker said he had to adjust to a different working environment. “We’re doing routine cleanings, using to-go boxes instead of trays and even cooking with a mask on,” he explained. Despite the changes, Baker added interactions with the customers are still important. “I was used to talking with customers, but now it’s more courteous to serve them their food and limit interactions as much as we can,” he said. “Whenever a customer walks in now, we always acknowledge them with, ‘Aloha.’ In the end, we want the customers to still be comfortable.” Hughes said supporting local businesses, like Seven Brothers, especially during the pandemic, is important. “It’s important to utilize them so they can continue serving the people.” • Top to bottom: Arthur and Peggy Hannemann, Seven Brothers in Kahuku, employees serving customers in Laie. Photos by Ulziibayar Badamdorj. N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 111
KEEPING NATIVE HAWAIIAN AGRICULTURE ALIVE Kualoa Ranch uses oysters to organically clean its fishpond and newspapers, banana and coconut leaves to grow taro with less weeding
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BY ANNA STEPHENSON
armers and researchers are using oysters in a more than 800-year-old loko ia, or fishpond, on Kualoa Ranch, blending Hawaiian heritage and modern innovations to overcome problems pre-contact Hawaiian farmers didn’t face. The problems include not having enough fish to eat pond algae, explained Kualoa Ranch employees, and a lack of banana and coconut leaves to help grow taro better by keeping down weeds. In fact, according to Kuuipo Mccarty, fishpond caretaker and “oyster maiden” at the ranch, Kualoa Ranch has become home to Hawaii’s only loko ia that can sell the oysters used to clean the water in the pond as food. “There are projects in Hawaii using native oysters to clean contaminated water.You shouldn’t eat those oysters.” The oysters Mccarty raises, however, are “delicious and sweet,” she explained, because so many years have gone into cleaning the water of the ranch’s loko ia. At some point, carnivorous fish were
introduced to the loko ia, she said. Thus, so many herbivorous fish were being eaten there wasn’t enough fish to eat the algae that grows in the pond. Soon, the loko ia had nearly three quarters of its surface covered in a thick mat of algae, preventing sunlight from reaching much of the pond. Because this was not a problem the ancient Hawaiians would have encountered, she said there was no age-old wisdom on how to combat it. Mccarty credits former Kualoa Ranch employee, Bruce Anderson, with the new addition to restore the loko ia to its former function. By adding oysters to the pond, the algae began to clear up. “An adult oyster can filter-feed about 25 gallons of water a day, on average,” Mccarty said, holding the palm-sized shell of one in her hand. “They feed on the nutrients the algae would eat.” Dr. Anthony Mau works as the diverse agriculture manager and oversees food production at Kualoa Ranch, including the
growth of taro. He received a doctorate from the University of Hawaii with a specialized background in aquaculture. Mau said aquaculture often gets a “bad rap” because aquaculture projects in the past have polluted nearby waterways with excess fertilizers and nutrients. Oysters, however, actually improve water quality. While the water in Kualoa Ranch’s loko ia already passes a stringent 15-series quality test set by the FDA to allow the ranch to sell its oysters as food, the water at other locations around Hawaii is still in the process of being cleaned, Mau explained. He also came up with a way to preserve ancient Hawaiian tradition, while making adjustments to suit available resources to grow taro. “It’s not just for show,” Mau said of their loi kalo, which are rectangular ponds with mud heaped into long “mo’o” or “lizard-style” mounds planted with a row of taro. According to Mau, growing the taro in this way maximizes yield. “It’s authentic, and it makes sense to be authentic. This is what’s meant to grow here. … When planting, you need to listen to what the climate is saying.” Traditionally, Mau said after the taro were planted, banana and coconut leaves were placed around the stems to prevent weeds from sprouting and water from evaporating. Banana and coconut leaves were a plentiful resource in pre-contact Hawaii, but not so much today because coconut and banana trees no longer grow as plentifully. However, without them, the mo’o quickly become covered in grass, impeding the growth of the taro as they suck up nutrients.
Left: Pictured are Dr. Anthony Mau and Kuuipo Mccarty, both employees at Kualoa Ranch. Middle: Taro is at the forefront of Hawaiian agriculture, said Dr. Anthony Mau. Right: Kualoa Ranch’s loko ia passes a stringent 15-series quality test allowing the ranch to sell its oysters as food. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos. N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 113
Mau’s solution to the problem, he said, was inspired by a common practice in Japan where gardeners use old newspaper as mulch. By covering the mud with a thick layer of newspaper before adding the banana or coconut leaves, the same effect can be achieved with less leaves. Following this practice allows Kualoa’s farmers to stretch their supply of leaves further. Additionally, Mau said newspaper is plentiful and actually improves the quality of the soil by adding carbon back into it as it breaks down. “There used to be over 300 varieties of taro, but many of them have died out,” Mau said. “A lot of the loi were converted into rice paddies when the Chinese and Japanese immigrants came, but nowadays a lot of people are growing taro [in those places] again. … Taro, along with sweet potato and ulu, [or breadfruit], is at the forefront of Hawaiian agriculture.” Kualoa Ranch’s popular Taste of Kualoa tour reopened in April and takes visitors through its agricultural sections and allows them to sample what is being grown and harvested. Ahupuaa system For thousands of years, native Hawaiians used a agricultural system called ahupuaa, which covered everything from the mountains to the
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sea, to sustain a population similar in size to the one in Hawaii today, Mau explained. Although much of this old land has now been developed, he said, the agricultural techniques the native Hawaiians used to grow food still work best. Amy Campbell, who lives in the town of Volcano on the Big Island, has a degree in sustainability and works for a large conservation group. She studied the ahupuaa systems on Maui and said they are incredible. “When I first started studying systems, I was shocked at how intricate it was,” she said. “They used the water flow that naturally occurred to irrigate a number of fields.” She said the taro was typically kept at the top, with other crops, like ulu, at the bottom. According to her, people are typically shocked when they learn how much food the ahupuaa system produces. She said pre-contact Hawaiians and those who maintain the practices today are “incredible botanists.” The loko ia, or fishpond, is traditionally built where the ahupuaa meets the coastal plain, Campbell explained. “If I was going to scientifically go in and design the ideal fishpond, I don’t think I could match what they did,” she said. “They were ingeniously designed.” Fish enter the loko ia while small and grow large within its walls by eating algae. Because of this, she said Hawaiians ate almost exclusively
herbivorous fish that were low on the food chain. To harvest the fish out of the loko ia, she said they used a plant called ākia to stun them. It’s just poisonous enough to the fish to temporarily immobilize them, but completely harmless to humans. After the harvest, the fish that weren’t eaten were released back into the ocean, where the ‘ākia wore off and the fish “came magically back to life. That plant was endemic and only found in Hawaii, so they learned about that and used it,” Campbell said. While using a loko ia to collect fish is no longer a common practice, restoring them is a hot topic among preservationists. In Haleiwa, people at the Malama Loko Ea Foundation work tirelessly to restore the Loko Ea fishpond. On its website, it describes Loko Ea as “a sacred space for the community of pae ‘āina o Hawai’i” because it’s a place to practice culture, share heritage and celebrate community.The website says the group has two sand-dune ponds in Waialua connected to the ocean through a stream or ditch. “Connected physically through the streams and freshwater springs, they are also spiritually connected, as both are the home to Laniwahine, the mo‘owahine female water guardian of the two fishponds. Together, they make up the third largest existing wetland on the island of Oahu.”
The Malama Loko Ea Foundation runs community workdays every Saturday between 9 and 11 a.m. Under current COVID-19 protocols, participants must pre-register groups between three and 10 people on its website. Other aspects of the ahupuaa system, such as the loi kalo or taro fields, are also actively preserved around Oahu and on the BYU–Hawaii campus. One such example is a community nonprofit in Hakipuu Valley, Ho‘āla ‘āina Kūpono.The Hakipuu loi kalo has been tended using traditional techniques for hundreds of years without interruption, says the Ho ‘āla ‘Āina Kūpono website. According to the Trust for Public Land, more than $1 million was raised in 2016 in order to preserve the loi kalo.Today, the nonprofit is still growing taro and the space is an outdoor classroom for students of restorative agriculture. BYUH also participates in restorative agriculture by growing various native plants using traditional techniques in the Hawaiian studies garden. A similar arrangement can be observed on a visit to Waimea Valley. However, restoration isn’t the only way to keep native Hawaiian agriculture alive. Other places where modern farming techniques are combined Left: Dr. Anthony Mau uses traditonal Hawaiian farming practices. Right: Floaters used to grow oysters. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos.
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GRAPHIC BY LYNNE HARDY
Vendors at the Swap Meet set up tables with a wide variety of products at great prices. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos 1 1 6 KE AL AK A‘I 2021
Bargaining at the
swap meet BYU-Hawaii students said Swap Meet is a great place to buy souvenirs at low price and bargaining with sellers is suggested BY BRUNO MAYNEZ
ntering the outdoor market on a sunny day, tourists, students, and residents can find signs saying “Big Sale,” “Best Deal Today,” or “Buy One, Take One.” Children can be seen playing with half-melted shave ice running down their arms and dripping on their shirts. Tourists can be seen lining up for spray-on henna tattoos, shoes or pieces of art. On his last visit for the market, Andino Bima Mahreza, a freshman from Indonesia majoring in HTM said, “My opinion on the swap meet is [it’s] a good place to find a lot of souvenirs. They sell clothes, food, earrings, etc. However, one thing I noticed about the Swap Meet is we can bargain with the sellers.” Buyers can try bargaining and chatting up the vendors selling leis, aloha shirts, and straw hats. Items for sale include quilts, school supplies, and even helicopter rides. The Swap Meet is located 20 minutes from Waikiki and is open three days a week on Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. According to www.alohastadiumswapmeet.net, there are over 400 vendors. On the website, it says, “...you can find discounts on a wide selection of high quality products from clothing, accessories, Hawai-
ian souvenirs, pre-packaged ethnic foods, fine jewelry and vintage antiques. “Beautifully handcrafts products and exclusive art pieces are made and sold by the artist themselves, which truly make great gifts for yourself or that special someone.” Explaining further on how to bargain at the Swap Meet, Mahreza said, “It’s a big place. So when you go, make sure not to stop at one shop only, but go around and look other shops as well. I just talked to the seller and asked, ‘Can I get a cheaper price?’ First she said no, but then I left and she called me back. I bought pants. They were selling it for $20, but I only paid $15.” Students looking to find cheap clothing may stumble upon finds such as one vendor who displayed a big, yellow sign with red lettering saying, “Big Sale T-Shirts, 7 for $20 or 1 for $4.” Sun dresses and lava lavas are also for sale. Roche Acosta Donato, a sophomore from the Philippines majoring in business management, agreed with Mahreza that “the Swap Meet is a cool place to buy souvenirs.They got cheap stuff there. If you don’t see stuff to buy at a certain store, there’s more on the loop.There are lots of options of things to buy.”
Musically inclined shoppers can find ukuleles priced from $25 to $85. The ukuleles can be found in traditional colors like light brown, but also in pink and turquoise. Additionally, there are snacks such as shave ice, peanuts, and fresh coconut for $1 to $5. At a glance, the items being sold seem to be a great money saver, but in reality, most shops at the Swap Meet are selling the same things at around the same price. For example, beach items like towels can be bought at 3 for $25. But shoppers can take a 5-minute walk in any direction and encounter the same towels at the same price. Novelty items like jandals are sold in more traditional colors like black, brown, and light tan. They are also available in different colors like pink, light blue, and even green. Students looking to buy leis for graduation or other events can find them in many colors and designs. Leis can go from $1 to $5. One of the lei vendors, Auntie Annie from the Philippines, said she runs her shop with her husband. She joked, “I’ve been selling leis forever. I’ll keep selling here until I turn to rust.”•
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save our snails
The Hawaiian tree snail and the Kamehameha butterfly are close to extinction, but all hope is not lost BY ANNA STEPHENSON
aving endangered snails and butterflies in Hawaii requires raising them in the safety of a lab, releasing them into carefully crafted environments where they can thrive without getting eaten by predators and then surveying them using tiny field cameras, explained biologists in the Snail Extinction Prevention Program and Pulelehua Project. Despite biologists’ best efforts, the coordinator of the SEPP said they sadly lost the last remaining snail of the species Achatinella apexfulva. His name was George. “George was … the last descendant of a handful that were found in the Ewa Forest Reserve [near Pearl City] about 30 years ago,” said David Sischo, the coordinator of the SEPP and the Pulelehua Project. He said George and other snails were brought to the University of Hawaii. He explained, “Prior to those founding individuals being discovered, the species were thought to be extinct. These were the last known individuals. “A pathogen or parasite that came through the lab caused mortality in all the individuals except for George. He was the last known individual and passed away in 2019 on New Year’s Day.” Sischo said the cause of death was likely old age. When an endangered species is down to one individual, as was the case with Achatinella apexfulva, the species is functionally extinct because they have no one to breed with. However, there is still a chance for their genes to live on. George was planned to be bred with a snail from a closely-related species,
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Achatinella concavospira. Unfortunately, Sischo said the breeding never came to pass. “It was unlikely to work anyways,” said Sischo. “It was kind of a last-ditch, Hail Mary effort. ... By the time we received approval to make that happen, he passed away. He may have been too old to reproduce anyway. We don’t really know.” Because all Achatinella species are considered endangered under the Endangered Species Act, he said any actions involving captive breeding must be approved by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forest and Wildlife, which oversees the protection efforts. “The Hawaiian Islands had about 750 distinct species of snails that existed nowhere else in the world,” he explained. “About half our snail species have been lost already, and about 100 species are likely to go extinct soon without prevention.” Hawaii’s delicate ecosystem has been hard hit since European contact, and the Hawaii Invertebrate Program officials say it is working to reverse this. Sischo describes SEPP as a shield against extinction. Its lab on Oahu is a captive-rearing facility housing close to 40 species of snails, he said, all of whom are extinct in the wild. The endangered snails were gathered to the SEPP lab in order to grow and breed them safely away from predators and other threats. Major threats to the snails include invasive predators the snails never evolved a defense against, such as rosy wolf snails, rats and Jackson’s chameleons, Sischo explained. All
three species find the slow-moving, colorful snails to be a tasty and easy-to-get treat. At the program’s small lab complex on Oahu, there are a few trailers and gardens where several dwindling species of native invertebrates are carefully maintained. In the hopes of one day repopulating the Hawaiian Islands, Sischo said the snails are watched after in small but stable breeding populations. On both Oahu and Maui, captive-bred snails are released into special patches of land that have been searched inch by inch to remove predators, Sischo explained. They also have a predator-proof fence erected around them. The released snails, from that point, will only face the threats naturally found on Hawaii, such as heavy rain or competing with other native snails for food. Under these circumstances, the snails can thrive like they once did, Sischo said. These patches of land, called exclosures, require maintenance, which is one of the duties of SEPP intern, Lilly Thomey. She said she lives in Halawa and began working for SEPP through Kupu and Americorps. She also works to restore native habitats and survey the habitats snails were once recorded living. “A favorite story of mine is when I first camped in the northern Koolau mountain range for an overnight snail survey,” Thomey shared. “My co-workers and I spent the day working in a snail exclosure, performing upkeep duties and then set aside time to watch the sunset over the Waianae mountains with the silhouette of Kauai in the background. Once it was sufficiently
David Sischo, the coordinator of the SEPP, said the Hawaiian Islands had about 750 distinct species of snail that existed nowhere else in the world. Half of them are already lost. Photos by Lilly Thomey.
dark, we piled on some layers, turned on our headlamps and went back to the exclosure to perform a night-time snail count. “While looking high and low for Achatinella lila and Achatinella sowerbyana, a moonbow lit up the landscape, casting shadows across Poamoho Summit and Kaneohe Bay. We paused our survey and a solid 10 minutes of our time was dedicated to absorbing as much as we could of the scenery. I felt so fortunate to be in that place with the snails in those conditions.” Sciencemadefun.net says, “A moonbow is a rare natural atmospheric phenomenon that occurs when the moon’s light is reflected and refracted off water droplets in the air. Moonbows are much fainter than rainbows made by the sun and often appear to be white. This is due to the smaller amount of light reflected from the surface of the moon.” According to Thomey, if Hawaii lost all of its snails, the ecological consequences would be dire. Native plants that co-evolved with native snails need the snails to survive. Without the native plants, she said Hawaiian landscapes would lose their nutrients.“Working with these Hawaiian land snail species is an uphill battle, but being able to release snails back in the wild or see a population bounce back in the lab makes all the effort, time and brain muscle power worth
it,” Thomey said. For some snails, their natural defenses against predators make it difficult for SEPP to even get them to the lab in the first place, Thomey explained. She said her favorite species, Laminella sanguinea, are found on the Waianae mountain range on Oahu. “A behavior of theirs is to cover themselves in debris, such as dirt and snail feces, so they can hide their deep, red-colored shell. Though this cryptic adaptation was once meant to deter native bird predators, this camouflage makes it hard for us to find them in the wild when we need to [move them] or evacuate populations,” Thomey explained. Jana Maravi, who lives in the Punchbowl area near downtown Honolulu, is also a Kupu intern placed with HIP by Americorps, but she works on the Pulelehua Project. Maravi said pulelehua means butterfly and is used to refer to the Kamehameha butterfly called Vanessa tameamea. This butterfly is a rare and endangered Hawaiian insect and one of only two endemic species of butterfly in Hawaii, Maravi explained. The Kamehameha butterfly is threatened by predators, but at the Pulelehua Project, Maravi said they’re still trying to figure out what predators these would be. Right now, all they know is that something is eating their butterflies. Caterpillars carefully raised in the HIP labs are
released only to disappear, she said. “My job is to put out cameras in the field and systematically deploy these caterpillars.” She said she has a background with scientific camera work, which is how she ended up with the Pulelehua Project. “We have these little field cameras that run on constant video 24/7 out in the field. Every other day, we take a big battery down with us and swap out the battery and the memory cards. “These tiny cameras can focus … on the caterpillars, as opposed to other field cameras that normally focus on deer. They’re special for our invertebrate project. We just sort of attach them to different branches, and the caterpillars feed on maki, a native plant here. They hang out on the leaves in front of the camera, and we can see what predators come and take them.” In addition to releasing and monitoring the caterpillars, which Maravi readily described as “adorable” with their fat green bodies and tiny nubby legs, she said the Pulelehua Project also plants native plants and eliminates invasive species. “There’s a lot of introduced butterflies and insects [in Hawaii]. So, it’s really cool to be able to work with something there’s only two [species] of,” Maravi said. “It’s really unique here. It’ll be great to see them naturally in the area we’re working in again one day.” •
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pride in culture Professor teams with nephew to teach Samoan language to local children BY LEIANI BROWN
t’s Saturday afternoon. Ceiling fans gently spin above about 100 children seated crosslegged on the La’ie Elementary Cafeteria floor. All heads face a single figure sitting just above them on the faded green steps, smiling as she softly prompts them to repeat after her. “‘Savalivali’ means go for a walk,” the children repeat in sing-song chant, squirming in their lavalavas and black t-shirts that display the name of their group, “Tava’esina.” Tava’esina is a Samoan bird, explained Tofamamao “Semi” Taulogo, the group’s creator, who said he chose the name because of the accompanying Samoan proverb. “E mamae le tava’e i ona fulu. It means the tava’e bird is proud of its feathers,” said Taulogo. “As Samoans, this is how we show our pride in our culture.” The birth of Tava’esina The woman teaching is Taulogo’s aunt, Rowena Reid, assistant professor in the Center for Learning & Teaching, Distance Learning, Faculty of Sciences and Faculty of Culture, Language & Performing Arts. She
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has taught Samoan at BYU–Hawaii for more than 20 years. “I’ve had a lot of requests from the community to teach Samoan for adults,” said Reid, who explained she could never find the time, despite a few tries here and there over the years. After attending her grandchildren’s Polynesian dance recital, Reid said her passion for perpetuating Samoan language and culture was renewed. “I thought, ‘What about Samoans? Come on.You’ve got to teach your own, your own language, your own dances.’” Reid said she knew her nephew already wanted to teach dances, so the two of them combined forces and created Tava’esina, a La‘ie-based group for children and youth ages to learn Samoan language, dance and culture. They began by creating a website, tavaesina. com, to see if there was an interest, explained Reid, who said she was floored by the number of people wanting to sign up. “We were worried because there are a lot of kids, but the kids are so busy.You know you’ve got school. Then, you’ve got games Saturday mornings, and now you’re going to ask
them to come again at 1? And I thought, ‘Well, we’ll just wait and see,’” said Reid. Taulogo, the driving force behind Tava’esina, described how the idea first came into his mind and the vision he has for its future. “It’s small right now, just one hour. But I know it will grow.” He also explained how the gospel played a considerable role in the inspiration behind Tava‘esina. Taulogo shared he wondered for years what he was supposed to do with his life, and when he started coming back to church and “striving to do the little things,” ideas formed in his head. “I see this going on for a while. I see it building people and bringing everybody together, not only in culture but through the Lord and the gospel.” “Everyone will probably see it as just a little dance group. If we do this how we’re supposed to and build it to where everyone is sharing their and talents with each other, then that will be wonderful.”
“You have to learn English to communicate in business and school. So, you just speak English, and then you speak Samoan to whoever can understand you, like your mom or your sister. Then, you turn around and realize your kids don’t know Samoan. It’s kind of sad.” A language of dance Reid shared how Tava’esina uses dance to show a love of learning Samoan language and Rowena Reid shared parents have volunteered to help teach culture. Samoan to the youth. Photos by Chad Hsieh. “It was never a written language.You just learn through singing. That’s how we tell our A platform for families Joy Dela Cruz drives from Kahuku to stories. We don’t write it. We sing it,” said Taulogo explained his vision is for people bring her six-year-old granddaughter, who Reid, who explained how she plans to teach the from all over the community to share their is half Samoan and half Filipino-Caucasian, to children the words, pronunciation and meaning knowledge and talents for everyone to benefit. Tava’esina every Saturday. behind any song Taulogo decides to incorporate “I’m just one person, but there are so “I love that she’s getting the exposure to in their dances. many people in our community who teach and that side of her culture,” said Dela Cruz. “She Dela Cruz said she believes groups like who don’t really have a platform, a place to does get exposure, but this is more intentional Tava’esina are crucial. “I’m a teacher myself, so share themselves,” said Taulogo. teaching, as opposed to when [she’s] with [her] I know the importance to me of perpetuating Most of the children who attend are La’ie cousins [and] may not be as tuned in. But I culture with my students. I think it’s equally and Kahuku-based families with Samoan herithink here she understands it’s a class, so her important to me for my granddaughter to tage. However, Taulogo said he was delighted a attentiveness to it is more than it might be in identify with the language, practices and food– couple of women from Honolulu and Kaneojust a family setting.” every part of it.” he also brought their children, adding all are Reid explained she received many phone She added her granddaughter loves it and welcome. calls from parents after the group’s initial opening looks forward to it every week because of the Although the group has officially only met social, expressing their gratitude and saying they “I see this going dancingon and for how a Taulogo makes it fun for the a few times so far, Reid shared how parents have meant to teach their kids Samoan for years. while. I see it building kids. have already volunteered to help out, with one Reid added her personal experience. every“Parents say, ‘Oh my child’s not a dancer,’” father stepping up to assist in teaching Samoan Despite teaching Samoan on people campus for and more bringing body together, not only in everybody’s learning. I’m said Taulogo. “[But] language to the youth. than 20 years, her children struggle to speak culture but the Lord still learning. The teachers are still learning. “I do notice some parents do strive to the language fully and have recently asked herthrough Everybody’s learning at one time… just come.” teach their kids,” said Taulogo. “But at the same to teach Samoan to her grandchildren.and the gospel.” Due to coronavirus concerns, all Tave’estime, I know sometimes they are just busy, and “For us coming from the islands- for the Tofamamao Taulogo ina activities have been canceled at this time. they don’t really have time to teach these kids. first time in the mainland, you teach your kids Check with the website tavaesina.com for So, this is just to help bring everybody out and English because that’s the language of the contact information. • actually set a time slot aside to teach them.” world,” explained Reid. N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 121
reef resiliency Hawaii’s ban on sunscreens harmful to coral reefs calls for residents to be mindful of the service coral reefs provide BY ANTHLEA CHEN AND RAHEL MEYER
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ome popular sunscreen products from brands such as Hawaiian Tropic, Coppertone and Banana Boat are prohibited from being sold in stores in Hawaii as of Jan. 1, 2021. According to Hawaiian legislators, the bill was passed because those sunscreens contain chemicals harmful to coral reefs and other marine life. Nonprofit organization Haereticus Environmental Laboratory says there are 412 pounds of sunscreen deposited daily on the Hanauma Bay reef, which drew an average of 2,600 swimmers per day before the pandemic. Dr. Spencer Ingley, a BYU–Hawaii biology professor, said, “This is something we can immediately reduce. We can immediately cut how much sunscreen we’re dumping, which is a shocking amount.” Ingley referred to “the tragedy of the commons,” which is when people pollute a common source because “they think their own impact is really minimal. But if everybody acts as if they’re the only one going out into the ocean wearing sunscreen or taking a bucket of sand from the beach home, the effects get magnified,” he said. To those who may feel like they don’t have to worry about coral reefs, Ingley said, “There’s this term called ecosystem services. An ecosystem service is something that an intact, healthy ecosystem provides to the human population without anything in return. “These things include protection from coastal erosion, storm surge and tsunamis. That’s a very direct benefit we get from this ecosystem being intact,” he said. “They’re really important but also really easy to take for granted. It’s not until we damage the ecosystem that we realize how much money, time and effort it would take to provide the same service the reef would.” In an AP news article, Governor David Ige said, “This is just one small step toward protecting and restoring the resiliency of Hawaii’s reefs.” Hawaii State Senator Mike Gabbard, who introduced the sunscreen ban, Senate Bill No.2571, said the sunscreens have been banned to protect Hawaii’s shoreline. The bill states “two chemicals contained in many sunscreens, oxybenzone and octinoxate, have significant harmful impacts on Hawaii’s marine environment and residing ecosystems, including coral reefs that protect Hawaii’s shoreline.” With this ban, sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate may only be sold if prescribed by a physician. Popular brands like Sun Bum, Alba Botanica, La Roche-Posay, CeraVe, Banana Boat and Aveeno offer some products free of oxybenzone and octinoxate. According to the New York Times, “An estimated 14,000 tons of sunscreen is believed to be deposited in oceans annually with the greatest damage found in popular reef areas in Hawaii and the Caribbean.”
In response, Audrey Acomb, a senior from Utah majoring in graphic design, said, “I think the bill is probably a good thing considering how many people go in the ocean every day.” Section 1 of the bill says “sea turtles, marine mammals, and migratory birds may be exposed to oxybenzone and octinoxate contamination. The two chemicals have caused the death of coral, coral bleaching, and genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms. These chemicals increase reproductive diseases in marine life, cause deformities, and threaten the continuity of fish populations.” Acomb asked, “If it’s harmful for the coral, is it harmful for us? And if it’s safer for the coral, is it safer for us?” In “Fisher’s Contact Dermatitis” (6th ed.) by Robert L. Rietschel and Joseph F. Fowler, it says oxybenzone has replaced para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) derivatives as the most common allergen in sunscreens. However, oxybenzone has not been proven to be toxic to the human immune system. Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved of the chemicals Hawaii is seeking to ban, the New York Times said those who make traditional sunscreens are opposing this legislation because they are “vital to preventing skin cancer.” To counter this claim, Ingley said, “There are lots of things that have been approved by the FDA that can kill you and lots of critters. Just because something’s been approved by the FDA doesn’t mean it should have a blank check to be used in whatever context someone wants to use it in. The FDA doesn’t have jurisdiction over the environment as a whole.” Ciara Sanchez, a senior from California studying peacebuilding, said, “I feel like they’re doing good things with the environment, but they probably won’t be able to stop people from bringing it when they travel. If anything, this will just be an inconvenience to people trying to buy sunscreen.” But Ingley said, “We can have a very deliberate, positive impact on those ecosystems by doing something different.” Section 2 of the bill clarifies any sunscreens that contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, or both, will be prohibited from being sold. This includes, but is not limited to “lotion, paste, balm, ointment, cream, solid stick applicator, brush applicator, roll-on applicator, aerosol spray, non-aerosol spray pump, and automated and manual mist spray.” People are being encouraged to use mineral sunscreens with non-nano size zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Non-nano size is considered reef-safe because it will be less likely to be consumed by corals. • Double check to make sure your sunscreen is safe for Hawaii's reefs. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos
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40 years of building relationships Leaders and students reflect on experiences with China in light of Shanghai Temple announcement BY LEIANI BROWN
ussell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, paused and, voice wavering, finished the list of new temple announcements in the April 2020 General Conference with, “Shanghai, People’s Republic of China.” “I actually wept,” said ‘Uncle’ John Muaina, a retired vice president of the Polynesian Cultural Center, whose professional career and life experiences are closely linked to mainland China. Muaina now helps out at the PCC as a senior Human Resources adviser. "When President Nelson became the president of the Church, I said to myself, ‘If anyone’s going to be the one to usher in work there in China, it would be fitting that President Nelson be the one.’” Muaina further explained not only President Nelson’s relationship, but also the Church’s relationship with mainland China goes back to the early days of BYUH and the PCC. Bobby Akoi, the BYUH chaplain and former director of protocol at the PCC, said his excitement of the announcement of the Shanghai Temple also came in context with the university and PCC’s background with mainland China. 1 2 4 KE AL AK A‘I 2021
“I think I cried for 10 minutes. I really had a hard time trying to calm myself down because we’ve seen what the Church, PCC and BYUH have done for the past years to get the Church into China and to develop our relationship. “Of course, I was grateful. I was so excited for our Chinese saints there right now who have the opportunity now to seal their families together. Some of them already did because they went to Hong Kong, but now they can have their own temple. For me, that’s what this life is all about. It’s getting all of our saints to the temple.” The Asian Executive Management Program Part of Muaina’s job involves running the Asian Executive Management Program (AEM), a program that started with six Chinese interns who came to BYUH and the PCC in September 1981. “What happens is we assign each of them to different departments at the Polynesian Cultural Center,” explained Muaina. “We have them also attend their classes just like any regular student, and most people wouldn’t have ever known that they were from mainland China.” ChiTi Chen, a student of the AEM program from Fall 2019 to Winter 2020, said
she believes the announcement of a temple in Shanghai shows the Church has built a good relationship with China. “The AEM program is already 35 years old, and I think it’s a very important bridge to that [relationship]. Sometimes it’s hard to build an official relationship with the government, but it’s easier by the people.” Chen said she believes it’s less of an official relationship between the Church and the Chinese government that has made the difference, and more so, the individual relationships among the Chinese people and Church members. Chen, who said she is “not a member yet,” but attended Church meetings with her friends while in Hawaii, added she is happy for the Chinese people to have a temple in Shanghai. “I know that it’s a little bit hard for the Chinese people that they cannot go to the temple. Not only the LDS Church but also for many other religions, they don’t have so many chances to reach out… I believe [a temple in Shanghai] is very big progress for both the Church and the Chinese government.” The AEM program today usually consists of about four to five interns from China and one from Taiwan.
Chen said she found out about the AEM program in her homeland of Taiwan through an organization called the Alliance Cultural Foundation selecting applicants to come and attend classes at BYUH without declaring a major, as well as get an inside look at the PCC as a business model. “I really like the people [at BYUH and PCC]. I met a lot of managers from PCC… and it inspires me how they treat their employees. The PCC says, ‘One Ohana, Sharing Aloha,’ and it’s not just a slogan. They really do it. I totally felt like I was a part of the ohana when I was at BYU–Hawaii, and it made me feel so good. I know I will go back to that ohana one day.” Chen was not the only one to receive a lasting impression from her time at BYUH and the PCC. One of the first original six Chinese interns,Yiannan Wang, made a statement after her time spent at BYUH and the PCC in 1981, which Muaina said AEM still uses in describing the program today: “I loved Brigham Young University–Hawaii because it changed not only my mind, but it changed my heart.” A history of Chinese dignitaries and divine meetings According to Muaina,Yiannan Wang would later tell her father, a Chinese government official,
to visit the PCC if he ever had the chance. A little over two years later,Vice Premier Zhao Ziyang visited BYUH and the PCC, which he chose as his one cultural event during his whole tour of the entire United States, Muaina said. Muaina, who remembered this historic visit, said Vice Premier Zhao Ziyang arrived by helicopter, landing in the middle of the flag circle on BYUH campus, and upon stepping out to greet the crowd, shouted, “Aloha!” His would be the first of many visits from Chinese government officials over the years, including Vice Premier Li Lanqiang in July of 1994. This particular visit was significant, explained Muaina, because of the interaction between the vice premier and President Nelson, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at that time. According to the Church’s website, President Nelson’s personal history with mainland China involved teaching at Shandong School of Medicine in Jinan, visiting two other Chinese universities and performing a life-saving operation on one of China’s famous opera stars in 1984. Muaina said he remembered sitting in the conference room as Vice Premier Li Lanqiang recognized Elder Nelson as the heart surgeon who taught at his alma mater. “And at that
point, Li Lanqiang put his hand on the arm of Elder Nelson, and said to all those there, ‘We know Elder Nelson. Elder Nelson is Chinese.’” “For a person like myself,” continued Muaina, “and many who were there, we were just so amazed the Lord could bring this together, knowing that Li Lanqiang and Elder Nelson were at the same university… At least for me, it was such an amazing comment that the Lord is very meticulous about how he brings things together.” Josie Luo, a senior from Guangdong, China studying TESOL education, who heard President Nelson’s announcement of a temple in Shanghai roughly 25 years later, said what amazes her is God’s timing. “I didn’t think we would get a temple so soon. I knew there would be one in my lifetime because my patriarchal blessing indicates that. So I knew it would happen one day, but I didn’t think [it would be] that soon. “When I heard it, I was super overwhelmed because I feel like I’m not ready. A lot of people are not ready for such a big message, but I am amazed how God used imperfect and not humble people to accomplish His work.” Luo compared it to job searching and how certain qualifications must be met, but added that
Left: Shanghai China, photo provided by Unsplash. Bottom Left: The Asian Executive Management Program graduates pose for a photo several years ago. Photo provided by John Muaina. Bottom Right: Vice Premier Zhao Ziyang visits the Polynesian Cultural Center in 1984. Photo provided by BYUH archives.
she felt God had qualified them for this blessing even when they did not feel ready. “Mostly, I just felt overwhelmed by His mercy.” Relations between China and the Church Of the Vice Premier Zhao Ziyang’s visit to Hawaii, Akoi said, “That was really the start of the Chinese governmental leaders coming to PCC. Since 1984, every year, someone has come from China from the Chinese government. “Several years later, in 1996, President Hinckley knew that we had good relationships with the government… So he asked us to make the arrangements. The person that was in charge was our senior vice president, John Muaina, and he is like our Chinese ambassador for the PCC. Everybody in the government knows John because he goes [to China] all the time. So, John made all the arrangements.”
On May 28, 1996, President Gordon B. Hinckley became the first president of the Church to visit mainland China, which he did after dedicating the new Hong Kong Temple, according to the Church Newsroom. Muaina, who was also present for this historic occasion, said he remembers thousands of people lining the streets to meet them in Shenzhen before they went to a Chinese cultural park and nearby university patterned after the PCC and BYUH. It was here that one of President Hinckley’s interpreters pointed out a slight mistake, said Muaina, in the signs that read in Chinese: “We welcome President Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the Polynesian Cultural Center,” 1 2 6 KE AL AK A‘I 2021
who chuckled and said, “Well, technically that’s right.” Following this historic meeting, Akoi said he was involved in the First Presidency of the Church hosting the Chinese World Religious Research Center, a group of eight board members who traveled around the world, learning about different religions. The First Presidency, Akoi explained, hosted them in five cities throughout the United States in 1998, with Hawaii being their final stop. In addition to receiving a VIP tour of the PCC, Akoi said the Chinese religious research group also attended Church youth and family programs, where they learned how to make candy leis for graduation and enjoyed looking at Scouting merit badges. Akoi said he spent the car ride to the airport at the end of this experience talking with Elder Jia, a Church general authority who managed the Church’s presence in Asia at the time. Knowing these were the people who had the power to open China to the Church and missionary work, Akoi asked Elder Jia what he thought would happen next. “He said it would take some time, maybe years for anything to happen as far as the Church getting into China. ‘But I don’t think the Church is ready,’ he said … ‘If the Church were approved to go into China now, we would need 300 mission presidents. That’s how many we have right now.’” The Church in China today Despite the country still being closed to missionary work, according to the Church’s website, “many individuals from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while living in other countries.” Ramona Zhang, a senior from Nanjing, China, studying communications, is one such individual. Zhang shared how she found the Church through friends while living in Singapore and was excited to hear about the new Shanghai Temple because of how much closer it will be to her than the Hong Kong Temple. She explained there is a small congregation in her city of about five to 10 members
who meet in a small apartment unit for church meetings. “The temple in Shanghai means our Church has had a great improvement in China, and hopefully, one day missionaries will come to mainland China to teach the gospel.” Muaina shared remembering a call he received from a Church general authority in March of 2003 with news that the Chinese government recognized the Church and would then allow the Church to organize in mainland China. Abby Cen, a junior from Guangdong, China studying TESOL, said she lives in a city that is closer to the Hong Kong Temple, but is still excited for the changes a temple in Shanghai will bring. Cen joined the Church when she was 11 years old, and she had to take a two-hour bus ride to church because, at the time, her congregation was tiny. “To be honest, being a member in Guangdong was hard for me. I was afraid to tell others that I am a member because of the government. Sometimes, some strangers will come to the church, and ask what we are doing.” “Before I came to BYUH, the government stopped us from having meetings on Sunday. We don’t have a church like here in Hawaii. We only rent a small house and have a meeting on Sunday. It is becoming better now. We found another place to have church meetings, and I believe it will become better in the future. The new temple will be the sign of opening to our church.” President Nelson explained in his announcement that the Shanghai Temple would be open only to Chinese members. The prophet also reminded members the Church does not send missionaries there and encourages members to honor and obey the law. “Expatriate and Chinese congregations will continue to meet separately. The Church’s legal status there remains unchanged. In an initial phase of facility use, entry will be by appointment only. The Shanghai Temple will not be a temple for tourists from other countries.” • Additional information is available at china.churchofjesuschrist.org.
F MO brought me here. *
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Message sponsored by University Communications N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 127
s e h c a e b t s Be
Ehukai Graphics by Hannah Manalang
Ko ’ol au
nt ain s
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The perfect beach depends on the activity, but either way, ‘The island is the place to be,’ says BYUH student BY ALEXANDRA CLENDENNING
tudents said their favorite beach depends on the type of activity they are doing. Among the beloved beaches were Hukilau, Lanikai, Sunset, Waimea, Hanauma Bay, Turtle Bay and Shark’s Cove. Favorite beaches Natasha Mathurent, a junior from Venezuela studying biomedical science, swooned as she talked about one her favorite beaches, Lanikai. She described the beach and said the “water is crystal clear, the sand is white, and while you’re swimming, you can see down to the bottom.” Mathurent lived in Canada before coming to Hawaii to start her education at BYUH. She said the winters in Canada last for half of the year and expressed, “When I got the chance to come here, I was on the first plane over. Win-
ters in Canada are nice for a week, and then I am over it. The island is the place to be.” Sydney Stewart, a sophomore from California studying psychology, expressed her love for Oahu beaches. She said, “I love the sand and just lying under the sun. I’m just obsessed with the sun. I love swimming in the ocean. I find myself getting giddy about it. I don’t know if that’s the right word, but when I’m swimming in the ocean, I’m just stoked.” Mathurent said some of her favorite beaches are not too far from the BYUH campus. She said her favorite, Hukilau Beach, is just a walk away. “If I just want a beach day to scratch my itch of just wanting to lay out in the sun, I could literally walk there.” Stewart shared her favorite beach depends on the type of activity she’s craving that day. She said, “I like going to Sunset Beach to watch surfers. I think it is tons of fun. I like going to Temple Beach just because it is so close, and I can see sea turtles quite frequently there. I like Shark’s Cove for snorkeling. That’s a blast.” Mathurent said another favorite beach is Waimea. She described Waimea as having some of the best sunsets. “I loved watching the sunsets there. The sunsets there are immaculate and spectacular, and it’s just a nice golden tone which I love.” Beach safety Mathurent shared COVID-19 greatly affected her beach days. “I just got back to campus in January 2021, so I literally have not been to beaches from March 2020 until December 2020.” She said people keep a decent social distance while at the beach, but added most people don’t wear masks. “I’ve seen people wear masks when they come to beaches but then take them off once everyone is in their little location because it’s really hot.” Stewart, on the other hand, said she hadn’t seen many people following the safety guidelines at the beach.
Beaches near and far Mathurent said her other favorite, more adventurous beach, farther away from campus, is Hanauma Bay. “They are very big on coral conservation, so when you get there you have to watch a video and sign some wavers to make sure that you won’t damage the coral reefs,” she explained. She described Hanauma Bay as “a nice place with immaculate vibes.” She added it is a perfect place to see beautiful corals and spend meaningful time with her friends. For those who want to stay close to campus, Stewart said a great place to venture is the stretch between Temple Beach and Castles Beach. “One day I walked from Temple Beach to Castles and there were some cool spots. I wouldn’t say it’s good for swimming or even relaxing, but it’s just a cool place to see.” While visiting Turtle Bay, Mathurent said she swam with a sea turtle. “I didn’t even know it was beside me until I turned around,” she said. Vacation in your own city According to the article “Beaches of Oahu” by Go Hawaii, the best beach for playing tourist in your own city is Waikiki beach, located in the heart of Honolulu. The article describes Waikiki as one of the best places in Hawaii to learn how to surf or paddle a canoe because of its small but long-lasting wave break. Another beach mentioned in the article was Sunset Beach, located on the North shore. The article said the beach spans from Ehukai Beach to Sunset Point, encompassing a dozen different reef breaks. The article said this two-mile long stretch of sand is one of the longest ridable surf spots in the world. It is also a place that hosts the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, a specialty series of professional surfing events that takes place every year. The article said, “It is a perfect place to watch surfers and the giant waves.” •
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Join Malama na Honu and become a citizen scientist defending an endangered species BY ANNA STEPHENSON
Malama na Honu volunteers. Photo by Ulziibayar Badamdorj.
t a beach in Haleiwa, endangered green sea turtles bask under the watchful eye of volunteers from Malama na Honu, an organization whose name in Hawaiian means, “Protect the Turtles.” Founded in 2007, Malama na Honu is a constant fixture at a Haleiwa beach whenever there are turtles. They also have a
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comprehensive educational outreach program, teaching adults and children alike about the importance of the honu, or green sea turtle, and how to protect them. Why this quiet cove? “This is the education beach,” said Debbie Herrera, the volunteer education coordinator for Malama na Honu from Mililani. “On other beaches, people
who see the honu are on their own. Here, there’s always someone from Malama na Honu to answer questions. … You can imagine the number of volunteers we need.” “Most volunteers never know anything about honu,” Herrera said. “But once they get here, they become obsessed with them. Everyone loves honu.” Herrera requested the beach not be named for the safety of the honu. According to the Malama na Honu website, the organization is currently tracking 20 individual turtles – five males, eight females, five sub-adults and two juveniles. Herrera said each honu has had its identifying characteristics noted and has been given a Hawaiian name. Many of them have English nicknames, like Oliva-Dawn. OliviaDawn’s Hawaiian name is Ipo or sweetheart. She’s a frequent feature on Malama na Honu’s Instagram and Facebook pages, where they post photos of the basking honu. “She is very colorful on the beach,” said Herrera. “She does amazing sand art … because she always moves around. She has that reputation of being the turtle who comes up and definitely dominates. We used to call her the honu with restless leg syndrome because she moved around so much. She’s here all year round.” According to the World Wildlife Fund, honu are threatened by “overharvesting of their eggs, hunting of adults, being caught in fishing gear and loss of nesting beach sites.” The Malama na Honu website says here in
Honu Olivia-Dawn’s Hawaiian name is Ipo, or sweetheart. Photo by Sarah Farquharson.
Hawaii, another threat to honu comes from everyone, tourist and local alike, who are asked to stay at least 10 feet, or 3 meters, away from honu at all times, whether on land or in the water. Volunteers at Malama na Honu are at the beach every day of the year from sunrise to sunset and are broken into three shifts of three to four people each.Volunteers answer questions and participate in an outreach and nesting team. Volunteers are expected to commit to at least two three-hour shifts per month. “We’re citizen scientists,” Harrera explained. “When a honu comes up, we record data. We mark down what time she came up and what time she returned to the ocean. All the data is compiled and at the end of the month we give it to [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]. … On the nesting site, we have a cooperative agreement with Fish & Wildlife.” Due to COVID-19 restrictions, volunteer orientations are currently suspended, but the volunteers are still coming. “People who never came to the North Shore because of the traffic
are coming now,” Harrera said. “We’re seeing a lot more people on the island coming out here.” “I’m here pretty much every weekday for at least two shifts, sometimes the whole day,” said Zoe Gieger, an intern with Malama na Honu from Massachusetts. “Our main goal is to protect the turtles from any harassment. The way we do that is by setting up a rope boundary around it [when it comes ashore] to give it 10 feet [of space] and answering any questions tourists of the beach might have of the turtles. [We make] sure everyone’s respectful of the space and the really cool basking patterns these turtles have.” Gieger continued, “It’s been really interesting. Debbie’s given me a bunch of books about the honu. … I can answer so many questions. It’s been really interesting to go from knowing practically nothing about the turtles to knowing a lot. … It’s been cool to see the same turtles and different turtles and read about what their history is like.” When asked if she had a favorite honu, Gieger said, “That’s hard to choose. I have a few favorites. One that’s been coming out a lot
recently is George, or Keoki, and he’s an adult male. His story is really cool because before they knew what his gender was they called him ‘Clawdette’ … because he had kind of a claw shape on his back left flipper from a tiger shark attack.” She also described Hiwahiwa, an adult female who holds the record for the deepest recorded dive by a member of this species: 570 feet. Prior to her dive, scientists believed that honu only dove 500 feet at the most, Gieger said. Another honu Gieger highlighted was Maka Nui, who is now a sub-adult but was previously the youngest turtle to ever come out to bask. “Their eyes are really wide looking at everything,” Geiger said. “So Maka Nui means ‘big eyes.’” Josiah, 10, recently began volunteering for Malama na Honu with his mother. “I’ve always kind of had an interest in sea life,” he said. “[We do shifts] maybe twice a month.” He expressed his excitement to be helping out. To volunteer, email Herrera at email@example.com.• N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 131
fulfilled Three locals say miracles lead to digitizing of Hawaiian language Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants & Pearl of Great Price BY ABBIE PUTNAM
fter following their own individual inspiration to make the scriptures in Hawaiian more accessible, three locals said they worked together with more than 30 volunteers to digitize the scriptures in Hawaiian. They said this project required meticulous effort but was also transformative as they witnessed the Lord’s hand throughout the process and in the lives of those who helped. Robert Lono Ikuwa, Keali‘i Haverly and Alohalani Housman each shared their stories of how they got involved in the miraculous effort. A BYU–Hawaii associate professor in the Faculty of Culture, Language & Performing Arts, Housman oversaw the digitizing of the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price in Hawaiian. “It was prophesied this book would go to the remnants of the House of Israel,” she said. “Now, it is becoming a reality.” Housman said the project is fulfilling the prophecy told in the Book of Mormon, that the hearts of the children would turn to their fathers. “BYU–Hawaii faculty, students, alumni and friends were involved” in digitizing the scriptures. Friends from other islands and in the mainland also were involved, she said. “They will even say how this has strengthened their testimony, turned their
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hearts to their ancestors and brought them closer to Jesus Christ, and that is the whole goal of the scriptures.” Haverly, stake president for the Laie Hawaii YSA 2nd Stake and director of facilities and maintenance for the Polynesian Cultural Center, said, “I think, to an extent, people who are not too familiar with the circumstances of Hawaii may feel the Hawaiian language is a dying language. … I think it is important to note, the Hawaiian language was never a dying language, and it is actually thriving day by day.” Of their efforts to make the scriptures more accessible, he said, “This is not some academic process or activity. It is the process of saving more souls by sharing [the scriptures] with our community whose language is Hawaiian.” Ikuwa, from Laie, works as the Hawaiian culture-based educator at Kamehameha schools. He said it was the Lord who helped in reformatting the scriptures. “[That should be] the message, the Lord inspired several individuals and groups of people.” Housman said she met Ikuwa and Haverly after working at BYUH. “The Lord brought us together,” Housman said. “We worked together to bring this to fruition.” Haverly explained, “Many hands came together. Many people came together.”
Na Berita A Me Na Kauoha, or the Hawaiian Doctrine and Covenants, on the Gospel Library app. Photo by Uurtsaikh Nyamdeleg.
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we sit and stand and breath and live and eat from … is miraculous.”
be able to sit around
as family and feast upon the words in the language of this land, of the land that we sit
and stand and breath and live and eat from
The language of the heart While Haverly was growing up, he said he would sit at his grandmother’s feet and listen to her speak Hawaiian. “I would not understand much. … [But] it became the language of my heart, although it was not my first language. “It really became a language of importance. As I started having children, we felt that the Hawaiian language, as our ancestral language, is a way to further understand life.” Haverly said his children read and write primarily in Hawaiian. Besides English, Haverly explained, Hawaiian is the No. 1 most spoken language in Hawaii by those under the age of 18. In fact, he said his wife taught a class in church where nine or 10 of the 12 students spoke Hawaiian as their first language. They could not read or write in English, but he said they did not have resources available to them in Hawaiian. “And now that is gone,” Haverly said. “We can pull from the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price and be able to help people follow along [in Hawaiian].” For those who primarily read and speak Hawaiian, Housman said, “This really is filling a need.” The 1855 version of the Hawaiian Book of Mormon, Ka Buke a Moramona, was the original version organized into paragraphs instead of verses, Ikuwa explained. He said George Q. Cannon was authorized by Brigham Young to translate it with several other Hawaiians, including Jonathan Napela. Reading this version was more like reading a regular book, where there was no numbering of the verses. Thus, looking up a scripture in church was very difficult, he said. 1 3 4 KE AL AK A‘I 2021
In 1905, there was an edition where the scriptures were organized into verses. Housman said the 1905 version is more “user friendly.” The scriptures originally available to the saints in Hawaiian was the version that was not organized into verses, Haverly said. “As we the people who read and speak Hawaiian, those scriptures do not work for us.” He said it was also difficult to study without the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, which were not widely available to the saints in Hawaiian. One day, Haverly said he went to the BYUH Archives and asked for the Doctrine and Covenants in Hawaiian. He took pictures of the book and put the pictures on a website so others would have access to it. “Our children and families were hungering and thirsting for our scriptures in this language.” He said one Sunday he asked his 7-year-old son to grab his scriptures for church, so his son grabbed his Hawaiian Book of Mormon. Haverly said he explained to him how they could not look up scriptures easily in the Hawaiian Book of Mormon. “My son looked kind of disappointed,” he said. “I asked him, ‘Would you like me to follow up and see if we could get a more appropriate version?’ He said yes. He’s 17 now.” Haverly continued, “It’s been a 10-year process for our family to see if we could get these resources more available to us. … It was all in the Lord’s time. “It’s pretty emotional just thinking about it because you know our Heavenly Father is in the details. … To be able to sit around as family and feast upon the words in the language of this land, of the land that
Hui Iosepa Ikuwa said he was converted to the Church in 1996. Of his conversion, he said, “The day I was baptized, I did not speak Hawaiian. But when I went up to bear my testimony, the first words that came out of my mouth were Hawaiian. … I feel like it is this gift for me.” Ikuwa said he has now worked as a Hawaiian translator for the Church and has taught the Hawaiian language for close to six years at BYU in Provo. Ikuwa said he gathered 25 to 30 volunteers, including BYU students and community members, to help with reformatting the scriptures in 2015, while teaching Hawaiian language courses at BYU in Provo. Ikuwa referred to the volunteers as “Hui Iosepa,” or the Iosepa branch. He said this group acted as an “impetus in building momentum to align our scriptures in Hawaiian with current English text for modern-day speakers of Hawaiian.” This Utah-based group of volunteers was named after the Iosepa saints to honor the sacrifices of Native Hawaiian pioneers who moved to Utah in the 1880s to receive their temple endowments and to build Zion, Ikuwa explained. The Hawaiian language served as the primary language of daily communication and worship over a 30-year span in the town of Iosepa,” Ikuwa said. A video called, “The City of Iosepa: The Never Fading Flower,” by Palakiko Chandler, says, “More than 1,000 people return to Iosepa each spring … to commemorate the pioneers and the fruits of their labors.” About the journey of the Iosepa saints, Ikuwa said, “It was such a sacrifice to travel... The big thing about the Iosepa saints is they created a town out of nothing. They lived the gospel, and they suffered a lot. They built so much. “They grew so much to love that place that they cried when they had to move back to Hawaii. I feel like they are a part of this story as well,” Ikuwa shared. Ikuwa said the Iosepa branch he worked with did their work “pakana style,” where one partner would read while the other would listen. The two would work together to compare the digital version to the text version to make sure they match up, he said.
The proofreading process required the volunteer to look at the text and then the digital version repeatedly. “Your eyes start to get sore. The process is so painful,” Ikuwa said. To combat the difficulty of the work, Ikuwa said he focused on inspiring the volunteers. He said, “I actually taught them the history of George Q. Cannon. ... I feel like you have to feed them spiritually in order to get into the tedious work.” Ikuwa said the Iosepa Branch proofread for about two months and stopped around the end of Alma. Transforming lives “Let me tell you about the spirit of the volunteers,” Ikuwa said. He explained the true miracle happened within the lives of those who helped. “We had an individual who was inactive, and she felt so touched I would reach out to her to be a part of this sacred work. She and her two daughters worked together, … and the daughters shared with me how beautiful it has been to read the scriptures with their mom and feel the Spirit of the Lord as they did the work.” Ikuwa also talked about a volunteer who had not attended church in a while. He said as this volunteer was reading, she felt the Spirit tell her she needed to come back to church so she could go to the temple. “Isn’t that beautiful?” Ikuwa asked. “I can feel the Spirit in this monotonous work.” Ikuwa described a “Come Follow Me” group of about 82 people who meet regularly. He said the group fasted and prayed together to show their thankfulness to God for the work done in the digitization of the scriptures in Hawaiian. He said two days after the fast, the announcement came that the scriptures would be available on the Gospel Library app in Hawaiian. When speaking of this group, Ikuwa said one sister shared a particularly sacred experience from the group’s fast. She said as she was closing her fast, she heard a soft voice that said, “Lohe au i kou pule,” which means, “I heard your prayer.” Of this experience, Ikuwa said, “The voice she heard was in Hawaiian. It was not in English. … The fact Heavenly Father responded to her in Hawaiian was kind of an answer to all of our prayers. … The Lord Himself said, ‘Lohe au i kou pule.’”
Robert Lono Ikuwa with students, some of whom helped proofread Ka Buke A Moramona, with the town of Iosepa behind them. Photo provided by Ikuwa.
The Lord’s hands Housman said a few years ago she felt impressed to do her dissertation. Although she Na Berita A Me Na Kauoha, or the Hawaiian Doctrine and Covenants. N E W S T U D E N TAPRIL ISSUE 2021 2021 135 Photo by Uurtsaikh Nyamdeleg.
already had a plan for what she was going to do, she felt like she needed to go in the direction of the scriptures. So her plan changed, she said. One day, Housman said she read the George Q. Cannon introduction in the 1905 version of the Hawaiian Book of Mormon. In the introduction, Cannon described some challenges he faced with the translation. Housman said she read Cannon’s words, “If I do the work to fulfill the Lord’s words, He will do the rest.” “I felt like it was a message from George Q. Cannon. Just do the work and the Lord will do the rest,” Housman shared. Housman said listening to the Holy Ghost is crucial. “I know when the Lord says look, you need to look. When he says do this, do this. When we do not, we miss out on the opportunity to serve. “The prophet has been telling us to hear Him. The Lord has a work for everyone to do and it is different for each person. He will let us know what we need to do, and we are his hands.” Her constant prayer, she said, is she will be able to do the Lord’s will. “The Lord will use you in miraculous ways that you do not even know.” Housman said she was gifted a copy of the Hawaiian Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of
Great Price. “It is hard to find a copy.You can only find it in the archives.” Housman said she felt prompted to make these scriptures more widely available to the Hawaiian saints as part of her dissertation. As part of her work, she typed up the entire Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price with the help of her daughter and some BYUH students. In the summer of 2018, she said she typically spent 10 hours a day, six days a week proofreading and creating a document using modern orthography, “using the okina and kahako and updating spellings of the language.” They would compare the text version to make sure they matched up. However, in November 2020, “the Church approved a copy of the original books without the use of modern orthography.” She then spent 70 hours that month creating and proofreading a new document to meet their request More volunteers in December spent time proofreading that version as well. “The Doctrine and Covenants being available is just heroic,” Haverly said. He said one reason the Doctrine and Covenants is so valuable to Church members is it helps Church leaders know what their responsibilities are.
Some of the more than 30 volunteers helped proofread the Hawaiian scriptures. Photo by Joshua Sanchez.
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For example, he said having the information about missionary work available is a great blessing to his children as they prepare to serve. Reading the scriptures in Hawaiian provides insight into many words, Housman explained. She said many English speakers do not know what the phrase, “Verily, verily I say unto you” means. Many think of it as a filler word. However, in Hawaiian, the phrase means, “A truth, a truth, I speak unto you.” “Certain words are so much clearer and deeper in understanding in Hawaiian,” she said. A blessing in disguise An organized effort to digitize the scriptures happened during the pandemic, Ikuwa said. “This is where the blessing in disguise came about.” After consulting with the ad-hoc advocacy team, he said he extended 100 invitations to trusted Hawaiian-speaking members via email and over 40 responded. Many who helped in 2015 as part of Hui Iosepa resumed work on this project despite a four-year hiatus, Ikuwa said. Housman said, “It is interesting how the Lord works.” Because of the pandemic, she said
Left to right: Robert Lono Ikuwa, Keali‘i Haverly, Alohalani Housman and Kamoa‘e Walk. Photo by Joshua Sanchez.
people had more time and could do the proofreading online. Haverly said they made sure they worked in the spirit of what the Church wanted them to do. “This is strictly a digital effort. We were under no authority to translate. … We did our best to digitize the scriptures in alignment with our predecessors.” Ikuwa said within three weeks, the 30 volunteers had proofread the first round of the whole Ka Buke a Moramona. Ikuwa then said he told the volunteers they needed to do a second round to double check their work. During the second round of proofreading, Housman invited her BYUH students to help. “You are dealing with scripture that is over 100 years old,” Haverly explained. “So the scans [of the scriptures] need to be proofed and reproofed and reread and assessed and
corrected.” He said they proofread “very thoroughly and meticulously.” Ikuwa explained, “I did Zoom trainings with Keali’i and myself and then Alohalani joined in. … We were looking for tedious things like punctuation marks, making sure it was perfectly aligned with the original 1905 text of the Book of Mormon. Housman said, “In early December 2020, the final edits were collaboratively completed by Kamoa‘e Walk, Keali‘i Haverly, Lono Ikuwa and me.” In January 2021, Housman said their team was able to view all three books on the Gospel Library app and recommend edits. “On Feb. 9, 2021, we received an email stating that Ka Buke A Moramona (1905), Na Berita a me na Kauoha (1914), and Ka Momi Waiwai Nui (1914) was going online and would be accessible to everyone,” Housman explained.
Ikuwa said, “From April of 2020 until now, we were able to promptly proofread all the Hawaiian language scriptures because of the sacrifice and love of our dear volunteers. Our advocacy team provided frequent updates with Elder [Voi R.] Taeoalii, our area authority in Hawaii, who then communicated to the area presidency.” Haverly said he also traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, and communicated with Church leaders about the reformatting. •
LOHE AU “LOHE AU II KOU KOU PULE. PULE.”
I heard your prayer
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Sam Tobon said acting in the “Book of Mormon Videos” allowed him moments of complete gratitude for how amazing God is. Photograph taken from the “Book of Mormon Videos”
BRINGING SCRIPTURES TO LIFE ‘Book of Mormon Videos’ actors share humility and gratitude gained from filming BY MADI BERRY
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Actors were told to portray what their emotions would be like after hearing a speech from King Benjamin. Photo provided by X Llewel Galapon Angala
fter acting in the new “Book of Mormon Videos” series produced by the Church, students and alumni said it was an honor for them to bring something holy, such as the scriptures, to life. They said they felt the influence of the spirit on themselves and saw it guiding other actors and the crew as well as they worked to recreate the scripture stories. Sam Tobon, a junior from Colombia majoring in business management with an emphasis in human resources, shared his reaction after watching the published videos. “I was in the King Benjamin chapters, and they did not film the whole speech there. It was the part where you would see the crowd of people. My experience watching it was getting the rest of the puzzle because I only had part of it.” Tobon continued, “If you have seen the video, you see thousands of people. We would be in tents, and we would film the part where we all kneel in prayer. “Then they would tell us, ‘Okay, now go and find a new family,’ so we would all rotate, and they would angle the camera to make it look like it was thousands of people. When we watched the video, they added CGI to make it look crowded.” Mark Maslar, a sophomore from California majoring in theater education, shared what was done on the set to ensure the accuracy of what was being filmed. He said, “I remember meeting people who were simply there to be references
for the scriptures, to represent the Church and to make sure everything was accurate. “It touched me how they put so much care into it. Being able to watch it then put together in the way it was, was extraordinary because you felt the combined spirit of those who were involved.You were able to share in it because you were there, and you got to witness it and see all of the effort they put into it.” Tobon said the most impactful part for him during the filming process was when the film crew “would tell us, ‘He just finished his speech, and now you are reacting to it.’ It was a moment of complete gratitude for how amazing God is.” X Llewel Galapon Angala, an alumnus from the Philippines who graduated with a degree in hospitality and tourism management, shared his reaction to watching the final product. “When I watched the video, I felt so excited because I could finally see the final result and our hard work. I felt like I was there listening to King Benjamin, especially when we said we believe in his words. It was a very powerful experience,” he said. Tobon discussed what it was like bringing the scriptures to life. He shared how often, when individuals read the scriptures, each person sees what they imagine differently in their head. Because of this, he said, “It’s tricky. There is an adjustment.”
Maslar commented on why the experience was humbling for him, saying, “As an actor, it is humbling to bring something sacred to life. As we begin to understand, empathize and connect with the stories of the people we are trying to bring to life, there is a difference that comes to you. “I think it changes you. I think when we bring something spiritual or anything important to life, it can change you. And if you do it right, it will change you for the good.” Tobon shared the experience he had with the other actors in the videos. He said, “These men take their jobs seriously, and the results are evident from what was produced by the Church. “The people who were acting with [the actor who played] Christ in these videos said he would act the exact same on and off set, and he made people feel incredible. I could say similar things about the other actors, such as [those who played] Mosiah and King Benjamin. “We were in the van on the way to a shooting spot and I saw the King Benjamin actor deep in thought, and it was because he was about to deliver one of the best speeches we have in scripture.” Angala said it was an honor for him to have this opportunity “because I can be an instrument to help people strengthen their faith and testimony in Jesus Christ.” •
Producers added CGI to make scenes look more crowded. Photos provided by Mark Maslar
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HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS After Hurricane Lane's close call in 2018, officials warn people to get ready now BY LEEANN LAMBERT
earing up each year for the hurricane season in Hawaii that runs from June through November, experts say people who live on the North Shore of Oahu should have a 14-to-21-day supply of food, water and basic necessities like prescriptions and personal hygiene products. They said people should have everything they would need to be self-sufficient for as long as possible when a disaster happens. They added some kind of disaster - be it hurricane, tsunami, flood, earthquake or fire - will happen at some point.
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“It’s not if it will hit, but when it will hit,” said Elder Paul Crookston, who s completed his missionary service at the Polynesian Cultural Center. He is an engineer and has experience in disaster management. “We are not trying to plant fear,” he added. “We want you to be prepared.” With only one road, Kamehameha Highway, linking the North Shore area to Honolulu, when a disaster strikes, local emergency officials said state and county resources will be focused on where the biggest population of people are in Honolulu and getting ports, airports and hospitals up and running again.
Local leaders said being able to care of yourself and your family will be necessary on the North Shore, and by being personally prepared, it is also easier to help your neighbors. “We want to help each other get personally prepared so we can help others too,” said Elder Crookston, and “do what the Savior would do.” Officials from BYU–Hawaii, the PCC, Hawaii Reserves Inc., the local Church stake presidents, local emergency officials and more said the local disaster plan worked when Hurricane Lane threatened to strike Oahu in August of 2018, but they
will continue to improve it. The hurricane got within 100 miles of Honolulu before breaking up. One of the major items discussed was the need for people who are trained as ham or amateur radio operators because it is likely phone lines will be down and satellite phones overwhelmed, therefore radio will be the best way to communicate and share information. Officials also stressed families and friends select someone outside of Hawaii people can call to check in and find out if their loved ones are okay. They said families and friends should make plans about where to meet after a disaster if they are split up because not knowing what happened to family and friends makes a disaster even worse. While Elder Crookston stressed the need to be personally prepared, he said it is important to look out for the elderly and people with special needs. Even though Hurricane Lane didn’t make landfall in the Hawaiian Islands, as it churned across the Pacific Ocean it dropped more than 50 inches of rain on the Big Island damaging more than 150 homes, plus schools, businesses, and infrastructure costing more than $100 million to repair, reported Hawaii News Now. Firefighters rescued at least 39 people from rising floodwaters and torrential rains overwhelmed three sewage pump stations sending more than 9 million gallons of sewage in Hilo Bay, says HNN. On Maui, the high winds whipped three wildfires that spread quickly causing 300 people to evacuate and destroying more than 20 homes, reported HNN. Combined with 16 inches of rain on Maui, more than 45 utility poles needed to be replaced and roads were washed out by storm water and debris. On Kauai, says HNN, one person reportedly died after jumping into a rain-swollen river to save a dog, and areas hit hard last April by historic flooding were again flooded by the deep tropical moisture left behind by Hurricane Lane. The Chicago Tribune reported Hurricane Lane was the No. 3 rainmaker from a tropical cyclone in the United States since 1950. Elder Crookston said while Oahu was
It's not if it will hit, but when it will hit. spared in 2018, hurricanes have struck the island in the past and likely will at some point in the future. Just after Hurricane Lane passed by the Hawaiian Islands in August of 2018, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria on Sept. 20 causing more than $100 billion in damage and claiming in the end more than 3,000 people’s lives. Elder Crookston said most people died due to infection. While hurricane-strength winds and rains can cause devastating damage, said Elder Crookston, the greatest damage and loss of life generally comes from ocean storm surge. “Tidal surge is the deadliest part of a hurricane statistically. It pushes debris on land, and they become battering rams” crushing everything is in its path, he said.
BYUH officials said students also need to be prepared personally for up to 21 days including personal items, prescriptions and more. Food Services Director David Keala said the university has supplies on hand for two limited-calorie meals a day for all students for up to seven days. However, officials advise students to prepare themselves by putting together their own supplies.
Illustrations by: Milani Ho
Some of the hurricanes that have struck the Hawaiian Islands include: • Hurricane Nina – 1957 – It was a category 1 hurricane with winds and rains that caused damage on Kauai and Oahu even though it did not actually hit land. • Hurricane Dot – 1959 – This was a category 4 hurricane that dropped to a category 1 as it passed over Kauai. The storm caused minor damage to Hawaii, Oahu and Kauai. • Hurricane Iwa – 1982 – This category 1 hurricane caused the most damage on the Big Island but also Kauai at the cost of $250 million and caused one death. Oahu also suffered some damage. • Hurricane Iniki – 1992 – This category 4 hurricane that arrived on Sept. 11 was the most devastating one to hit Hawaii, reports HNN. It came during an El Nino year when the Pacific Ocean water temperatures are higher than normal and wind shear lower. Weather forecasters said on May 22 that 2019 is another El Nino year and predict five-to-eight tropical storms will pass by Hawaii between June 1 and Nov. 1. Hurricane Iniki had winds of 140 miles per hour, “killed six people and damaged more than 1,400 homes and 5,000 utility poles. Twenty-two years later, Iniki remains one of the costliest hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific, causing nearly $2 billion in damage,”
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How do I... how do I register for classes how do I declare a major or minor how do I set up my Holokai how do I apply for graduation
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100 YRS IN LAIE
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BYU–Hawaii commemorates the anniversary of
David O. McKay’s historic flag raising ceremony BYUH students share being a part of McKay’s vision blessed their lives and others before them BY SERENA DUGAR IOANE
he creation of BYU–Hawaii was envisioned by President David O. McKay 100 years ago on Feb. 7, 1921 at a flag raising ceremony at the Laie Elementary School. At the groundbreaking and dedication of the Church College of Hawaii, later BYUH, President McKay said, “This is the beginning of the realization of a vision I saw 34 years ago when one morning ... I witnessed a flag raising ceremony by students of the Church school … in Laie,” according to the foundational speech on BYUH’s website. In the book “Miracle in the Pacific,” it describes the ceremony where 127 children, ages seven to 14, were all lined up. William Ka’a’a, a full-blooded Hawaiian, stepped out and said,
“Hats off! Along the street there comes A blare of bugles, A ruffle of drums, A splash of color beneath the sky, Hats off! The flag is passing by.” Continuing the ceremony, Thomas Waddoups, a young haole, spoke:
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“That ceremony brought tears to my eyes. Truly the melting pot, ... What an example in th is little place of the purposes of our Father in Heaven to unite all peoples by the gospel of Jesus Christ. … That was a Church sc hool, and we visualized the possibilities of making this … the center of the education of the people Above: The Flag Raising ceremony at Laie Elementary School on Feb. 7, 1921. Left: President David O. McKay and his wife upon their reception in Hawaii. Photos provided by BYUH Archives. Graphics by Katie Mower.
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“Now raise the starry banner up, Emblem of our country’s glory, And teach the children of this land Its grave and wondrous story; Of how in early times it waved High o’er the Continentals, Who fought and made our country free, The one true home of liberty.” As the flag reached the top of the flag pole, Otokochi Matsumoto, a Japanese boy, continued the chant:
“Salute the flag, oh children, With grave and reverent hand, For it means far more than the eye can see, Your home and your native land. And many have died for its crimson bars, Its field of blue with the spangled stars.” The whole crowd, children and adults, then joined in unison, echoing the Pledge of Allegiance. Afterwards, William Ka’a’a concluded by saying,
“This flag that now waves o’er our school, Protecting weak and strong, Is the flag that vindicates the right And punishes the wrong.”
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The book says McKay was touched by the ceremony, and he later wrote, “That ceremony brought tears to my eyes. Truly the melting pot. ... What an example in this little place of the purposes of our Father in Heaven to unite all peoples by the gospel of Jesus Christ. … That was a Church school, and we visualized the possibilities of making this … the center of the education of the people of these islands.” Kierra Lopis, a junior from Taiwan majoring in TESOL, said, “I always feel the Holy Spirit when I read the dedicatory prayer of President David O. McKay. I feel very honored to be part of the fulfillment of his vision. At the same time, I feel privileged to be here to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the McKay flag raising ceremony.” In an article by Church News, it says, “[President McKay] saw an institution of higher learning that would bring students together from all across the globe, and then send them back as learners, leaders and builders in their respective countries.”
Fulfillment of McKay’s vision Thirty-four years later, President McKay’s vision began to come to life on Feb. 12, 1955, he explained in his speech. In his dedicatory prayer, he blessed the school to produce genuine gold students “whose influence will be felt for good towards the establishment of peace internationally,” according to BYUH Archives. International Student Advisor Ted Guildner said, “Since the school was established, BYUH educated students from over 100 different countries.” He explained, on average, there are students from 70 to 72 different countries each semester.
Otgonbileg Bataa, a junior from Mongolia majoring in finance, said, “McKay’s vision and creation of BYUH blessed so many people’s lives. Thousands of BYUH alumni living around the world make this world a better place continually, just like he prophesied.” Tyson Hunter, a Fall 2020 finance graduate from California, said David O. McKay’s vision, at the time, must have seemed far-fetched to those around him. “With travel not being nearly as accessible as it is today and not to mention it wasn’t even a state yet, it is incredible that he had so much faith in the vision he had and the prophecy that left his lips. “It is amazing to see what the Lord has done and is doing to fulfill that prophecy as the Church expands to more countries. Laie provides a place for many people to come to school to gain education and increase their faith.” Hunter said it shows that God has no bounds, and the prophets’ words will come to pass. “I look forward to seeing how this prophecy will continue to unfold, and I am so happy I get to be a part of it.” Former president of BYUH, John Tanner, said, “I see a Zion university, a place where people from many nations learn together in purity, peace, unity and love.” Lopis shared, “Because we are all determined to gain an education, God has brought us here from different countries. Just like the devotional talk, ‘We Are the Vision,’ given by Kieiki and Paliku Kahalepuna in 2005, I can feel that I am part of his vision. Everyone who comes to study here is part of his vision.” Tomoyuki Akiyama, a Fall 2020 marketing graduate from Japan, said, “I witnessed students from all over the world studying here in harmony. They improve and learn together at BYUH despite their differences. They teach me how important the gospel is and education is.”
Remembering the mission Bataa shared he passes by the flag circle every time he goes to work and sees the flags and mosaic mural, which helps him remember the significance of McKay’s vision and his duty to fulfill it. “I believe the reason why the mural displays the flag raising ceremony is to remind us of the importance of BYUH’s mission revealed by his vision a hundred years ago. The flag circle in front of it symbolizes the diversity and the unity of the school.” Akiyama said, as a new graduate, he is excited to work in Japan and serve his people with the knowledge and wisdom he gained at BYUH. “We always need to remember President McKay’s vision and blessings so we won’t forget why we are here and what we are supposed to do after our graduation.” Lopis shared, “We always should commemorate the many great events and sacrifices that have been made by people in the past to prepare this land for this purpose. We also should remember how God prepares us to sustain our personal lives, families and homeland by being educated in His way so we can strengthen His Kingdom in our countries in the future.” Bataa stressed, “I can testify that the hands of God are always on this school campus. I am so grateful to be here with my small family and be part of his magnificent vision.” In an article by Deseret News about the mosaic, it says, “The grand mosaic depiction of President David O. McKay at the flag-raising ceremony … resonates in the hearts of all who understand the prophetic mission of the University.” BYUH Archives records show that the mosaic mural was built in Italy and sent to Laie in crates and put together by community members.
Left: BYUH students stand in unity, each holding the flag of their home country. Photo by Mark Daeson Tabbilos.
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Goo’s Old Plantation Store
Family of the late Charles K.C. Goo recall memories of their Old Plantation Store and their father’s charitable work BY XYRON LEVI CORPUZ
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hildren of the late Charles K.C. Goo, owner of the original Old Plantation Store, said it was the Lord who led their family to Laie when their father was called upon to open a store for the students of the Church College of Hawaii. K.C. Goo owned and operated the Old Plantation Store for 31 years. K.C. Goo, alongside his wife, Mildred York Kwai Chun, also served missions in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia. Throughout his life his children said he faithfully served the Lord and the Laie community, and they shared fond memories and lessons learned while working in their father’s store. The Old Plantation Store Charles Wai Hing Goo, son of the late Charles Kan Chiu Goo, said, “When the [Church College of Hawaii] first started, President David O. McKay was wanting to start school or classes right away while the college was being built. In 1955, they broke ground for the college to be built.
1955 From left to right: The Old Plantation Store, the Sugar Plantation store (1955), Charles K.C. Goo second from the right at BYU–Hawaii and W.H. Goo (Son of the late Charles K.C. Goo). Photos provided by BYUH Archives.
“In the meantime, to start the school, they had some old army barracks that they purchased. … These barracks were converted into classrooms, dormitories, a cafeteria [and] different buildings. They [also] wanted to have a snack bar and a general merchandise store for the students.” W.H. Goo said the Church invited his father to move from Honolulu to the town of Laie to open up a store for the students. Gerry Goo Nihipali, daughter of K.C. Goo, shared, “Our family moved [to Laie] in August 1955, and I was 11 years old. The store was already there because it was the plantation store for the sugar plantation where they had goods and everything for the people who worked for the plantation. “Dad was called by President Edward L. Clissold, who was the stake president, and he asked my dad to come down and open up a store and a fountain to serve food like hamburgers, hot dogs, drinks, soda [and]
1990 saimin, because the temporary college, [at the time], wasn’t going to have a cafeteria.” W.H. Goo said, “He had a snack bar [on] one side for the students and a general merchandise store [on the other side].” He said his father not only had groceries, but he also had hardware items and candy. W.H. Goo said his father would open the store at 7 in the morning to accommodate the high school students, and then the store would close at 9 in the evening. After school, W.H. Goo said he and his siblings would work in the afternoon for two hour shifts at the store. These shifts, he said, were organized for him and his siblings by their mother. W.H. Goo added that when they got a little older, they were able to work as the
cashier and check people going in and out of the store. Nihipali recalled, “We had to learn how to use the cash register. We had to manually stamp the price of the product with a stamper onto the cans. We had to bag rice [and] flour. My dad had a big silver scooper, and we would scoop it into bags and bag it.” She also recalled cleaning the store’s refrigerator and the bags of onions and potatoes. Another daughter of K.C. Goo, Eloise Goo Tyau, shared her memories working at the Old Plantation Store. She said by the time she was born, her family had already moved to their home in Laie. At the age of 12, Tyau said she began working at her father’s store. N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 149
2005 Looking back, Tyau said working at the store taught her the importance of being responsible and dependable. She said she would take the dinner shift, working form 4:30-6:30 p.m. on school days so her father could go home, have dinner and take a break. Tyau added, “I think that’s also where I’ve learned to be clean and organized, because we all had to sweep up [the floor] and organized the shelves.” She said the chore they hated doing at the shop was doing inventory. Helen Goo, the wife of W.H. Goo, recounted her memories of the store. She said, “[K.C. Goo’s] store was not very big, but he had almost everything you needed, and if he didn’t have it, he was very happy to go to town to get it for you.” Every Wednesday, she said, they would go on town runs to pick up whatever supplies and items they needed. Helen Goo recalled a time when someone came to the store and said, “Oh, Brother Goo, I need a lawn mower and I don’t have the chance to go to town.” She said her father-in-law wrote down the information and the next time he went to town, he picked up a lawn mower and 1 5 0 KE AL AK A‘I 2021
Charles K.C. Goo at the dedication of the landmark of the Old Plantation Store on Oct. 20, 2005. Photo provided by the Goo family.
brought it back to them. “He did a lot of that,” she said. Sometimes, Helen Goo said students would come to the store and she would watch as her father-in-law would give them a box and say, “Pick up what you want.” He would just give the groceries to them for free, she said. W.H. Goo said his father owned and operated the Old Plantation Store for 31 years, starting in 1955, until it was demolished in December of 1986. From 1986 to 1989, W.H. Goo said he and his wife served as mission president and companion in Hong Kong. After returning from their mission, three years after the demolition of the store, he said they built a house in the original location of his father’s plantation store. Helen Goo commented, “I miss having the store, but when we went on a mission, our grandpa knocked down the store and saved the land for us to come and build this house, and we are grateful for that.” Remembering the late Charles K.C. Goo Tyau said of her father, “He may seem gruff on the outside, but he was very generous.”
“My father-in-law does things like that often when he feels the promptings of the Spirit.” - Helen Goo Helen Goo echoed Tyau and commented, “If you do not know [K.C. Goo], he seems really mean. It’s just his character. He seems very stern, but he is very kind hearted. He did a lot of charitable work by giving groceries and giving things away, and he doesn’t talk about it.” Tyau said their store was closed every Sunday but said sometimes people would come and ask for items they really need. “He would go and open the store and get it for them and he called himself the one-man relief society because he would help people when they needed it.” W.H. Goo said, “My father was very generous and helpful.” He said his father allowed people to buy their groceries on credit at his the store since many of them
Left to right: Charles Wai Hing Goo (son of the late Charles K.C. Goo), Helen Goo (spouse of Charles W.H. Goo), Gerry Goo Nihipali and Eloise Goo Tyau (daughters of the late Charles K.C. Goo). Photo by Mark Tabbilos.
didn’t receive their paychecks until the end of the month. Helen Goo said sometimes her father-inlaw didn’t get paid when people promised to pay him at the end of the month. Still, she said he would say, “I’m very blessed, so it’s okay.” Helen Goo shared, “I remember one [time] I was teaching part-time at the Laie Elementary School and I had a Samoan lady who worked with me … say, ‘Sister Goo, I want to tell you something about your father-in-law,’ and I thought, ‘Oh no, maybe my father-in-law scolded somebody.’” She continued, “[The Samoan lady] said, ‘Christmas time we were feeling very sad because we didn’t have money to buy our grandchildren toys and gifts for Christmas.’ She said somebody knocked on their door. She opened the door and there was my father-inlaw. He held up an envelope and he said, ‘I don’t know why I am here, but I have a feeling that I need to come and give you this.’” K.C. Goo had given the family $500, she explained. With tears in her eyes, she said her co-worker expressed gratitude for what he had done for them that Christmas. “My father-in-
law does things like that often when he feels the promptings of the Spirit.” When young married students would come to the store, Hellen Goo said K.C. Goo would say, “Today, you don’t buy tomatoes. It's very expensive. Cucumbers are on sale.You buy cucumbers today.” She said her father-in-law was very concerned about how the students spent their money. Led to Laie Nihipali said she and her siblings were young when the family moved to Laie, so it was more of an adventure for them. It was not until later, she said, she realized how blessed they were to live in the Laie community. She said they were fortunate to live close to the temple where they performed baptisms and later served as guides at the temple’s visitors’ center. Tyau said she found out in her dad’s autobiography the main reason he moved to Laie was to be closer to the temple. She commented, “The [store] gave him the opportunity to do that, to be able to come and live close to the temple.”
2021 W.H. Goo echoed his sister, “My father felt such a great peaceful feeling in the temple. He wanted to live closer to the temple.” In 1950, W.H. Goo said the family was sealed in the Laie Hawaii Temple. “By living closer to the temple, my father was able to be an ordinances worker and sealer. At the age of 80, he and my mother went on a temple mission to Hong Kong. Prior to that, they were on another temple mission in Taiwan in 1984, and they also served a mission in Australia.” Nihipali said she did not know if their family would have remained active in the Church if they had not moved to Laie. “It was a blessing that my dad accepted that calling to move here to Laie.” W.H Goo said it was the Lord’s hands which brought them to Laie to serve the people there and also to help their family grow closer to the Lord. •
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...The mural was put up in less than 10 days. 'They worked day and night, 24/7. The community would come to feed [the workers]. Community members would bring their cars... their high beams used as their lighting source at night.'
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THE FAITH, EFFORT & MIRACLES OF THE DAVID O. MCKAY MURAL Community member shares Heavenly Father’s guidance was essential to finish the flag-raising mural in just 10 days BY MADI BERRY
he mosaic mural found at the front of the David O. McKay Center on the BYUH campus holds a story of its own. Built in Italy, sent back to Laie in crates, and put together by community members, the now-famous mural required both workers and community members to come together and exercise great faith. Sharon Gray, the curator of the BYUH art collection and a Church-service missionary, shared, “The magic of the mosaic is its duration over time, it assures longevity, solidity, and everlastingness.” Community member John Lingwall shared the story of his grandfather, Harold Boe, and uncle, Arnold Boe, who were part of the group who placed the David O. McKay mural where it resides today. Lingwall spoke of the process that went into putting it up, and also the challenges and miracles that accompanied the process.
The Building Lingwall and Gray explained the Church had a picture taken of the community in Laie and the mural depicts a recreation of David O. McKay and the community at a local flag raising ceremony in 1921. Gray shared that artist, Edward T. Grigware, used the photo as inspiration for an oil painting he created. The painting was then sent overseas to Italy, placed under a projector, and cast down on a floor. The artists then came in and hand placed glass tiles on the open floor, which they cut into small tessera tiles and numbered them like puzzle pieces.
Gray shared, “Mosaic is a technique of fragmentation.You break up the stone, tile glass or other material into even smaller bits until it becomes tessera, or, a smaller square piece. Then each tessera is reunited with all of the others to recreate the original design.” Once the mural was finished, all of the pieces were gently stacked and shipped in wooden crates. The crates were then put on boats and it took months for them to arrive in Hawaii. It was during this point in the process that Lingwall shared, “There were so many challenges.”
The Challenges Gray said all of the crates that contained the pieces to the mural had arrived in Hawaii, except for one. This final crate included the instructions of how to put everything together. Because of this, those working on assembling the mural had to work by faith alone until the last crate arrived. Working to put such a large amount of puzzle pieces together created the first challenge. Lingwall commented, “The artist who created the mural predicted it would take at least 30 days for the mural to be put together.” However, there was only one week until the center’s dedication. Once the mural was put together, Lingwall shared how his grandfather had measured the width of the mural, and he discovered it would not be able to fit in the available space. This required Lingwall’s grandfather to cut seven inches of the mural. Because the section was filled with current community members, it was necessary to carefully ensure none of the individuals were cut out.
Lingwall commented, “To this day, there are only about a couple of people now who know exactly where the line is which was cut.” In reaction to these challenges, Lingwall said, “My grandfather had so much knowledge of this, he knew Heavenly Father was going to help with everything.”
The Miracles Lingwall added how with the combined efforts of the community, the mural was put up in less than 10 days. “They worked day and night, 24/7. The community would come to feed [the workers]. Community members would bring their cars, drive up on the brim and their high beams would be used as their lighting source at night.” In an interview about the assembling of the mural, Lingwall’s uncle, Arnold Boe, said the process of knowing where exactly to cut the mural was inspiration from on high. He said, “It looks purely natural, but when you look at the photo, you can actually see there are two people who are supposed to be separated.” Boe commented on all that went into the project. He said it came together because of “community efforts, Heavenly Father’s time, and having faith in the project.” •
The McKay flag-raising mural was a community project to complete on time. Photos by Katie Mower.
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20 F un Fa c t s a bou t BYUH BY XYRON LEVI CORPUZ
Six thousand acres of land in Laie was acquired by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for $14,000 in 1865. A part of that land became the Church College of Hawaii, presently known as Brigham Young University– Hawaii.
The BYUH lot used to be a plantation.
Since its start, BYUH students have represented over 100 different countries.
Many people desired for the school to be built in the town of Kaneohe because its proximity to Honolulu made it more accessible. However, President McKay declared it was not the place he had seen in his vision. In the vision, the school was alongside the temple located in Laie.
Labor missionaries from the mainland United States and the Pacific Islands assisted with the construction of the Church College of Hawaii. The missionaries worked almost 280,000 man-hours without pay and it was estimated they saved the Church $1,300,000.
Historic Laie before the school was built. Photos provided by BYUH Archives.
Classes were held in World War II Army barracks while the college was being built. These temporary buildings were remolded and refurbished to serve as classrooms, office spaces, dorms, a cafeteria and a library. President David O. McKay dedicated the Church College of Hawaii on Dec. 17, 1958. Dedication of Church College of Hawaii, 1958.
The Church College of Hawaii started with only 153 students and 20 faculty and staff members.
The Hawaiian Islands were still considered a territory of the United States when the college was constructed. In 1959, one year after the school’s completion, Hawaii was declared the 50th state of the U.S.
The Church College of Hawaii began as a two-year school and was accredited as a four-year college in 1961.
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First student body of CCH.
President McKay wept upon first seeing the mosaic depicting the flag-raising ceremony in 1921. This mosaic is placed on the front the McKay building
In 1993, King Taufa‘ahau Tupou IV of Tonga, bestowed a high chiefly title, Mafi Fakapotu (powerful one in the distant place), on the Polynesian Cultural Center’s President Lester Moore.
The Church College of Hawaii became Brigham Young University–Hawaii Campus in 1974. In 2003, the University removed the word ‘campus.’ Today, in the McKay foyer, you can still see where it is written as ‘Brigham Young University – Hawaii Campus.’
In 1967, the Church College of Hawaii’s rugby team was declared national champions. Identifying them as the No. 1 team in the nation, Sports Illustrated referred to them as the “ferocious Mormons.”
In 1981, the first Chinese students from the People’s Republic of China arrived in Hawaii to attend BYUH. Among this group of students was Wang Yannan, the daughter of Premier Zhao Ziyang of China.
In 1984, China’s premier Zhao Ziyang made a historic visit to the United States, stopping at BYUH and the PCC.
In 1992, President Alton Wade appointed local Hawaiian, Napua Baker, as the first female and first known Hawaiian or Polynesian vice president in the Church Educational System.
In 1983 and 1992, the Cannon Activities Center served as a place of refuge for North Shore residents fleeing from floods and hurricanes.
In 1994, in a meeting above the temple, President Howard W. Hunter blessed the people of Laie and rededicated the land.
In May 2004, the BYUH choir performed in Tokyo, Japan at Meiji Jingu, a revered Shinto shrine, making them the first Christian singing group to perform there. The event attracted national media attention.
CCH Rugby team, 1967.
China’s premier Zhao Ziyang visits Hawaii stopping at BYUH and the PCC, 1984.
BYUH Choir tours Japan, 2004.
Sources: Xyron Levi Corpuz interview with Brooks Haderlie, university archivist, Joseph F. Smith Library on Jan. 12, 2020 Books: Alf Pratte and Eric B. Shumway, BYU–Hawaii Prophetic Destiny: The First 60 Years, page XVII Laura F. Willes, Miracle in the Pacific Website: news.byuh.edu All photos provided by BYUH Archives.
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Courtside Memories Three members of the BYU–Hawaii men’s basketball program share memories and experiences from the golden days
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BY ALEXANDER TUMALIP
s BYU–Hawaii celebrates a centennial since the flag-raising ceremony with President David O. McKay, former players and coaches of the BYUH men’s basketball team said the program helped to unite the community and fulfill President McKay’s vision to produce students who were genuine gold. They explained how the legacy of the program continues on in those who were a part of it. The equivalent of peanut butter and jelly Anthony Pickard, director of Campus Safety & Security, played on the school’s first men’s basketball team and explained, “People had an opportunity to receive an education and be enlightened by each other.” He said he was given the chance by the athletics director, Norman Kaluhiokalani, who offered Pickard a scholarship. “I really did not know about the athletics program, but I remember visiting campus and thinking I could come to BYU–Hawaii, play basketball and end up transferring,” he recalled. Pickard added he originally wanted to play football at a small college in Oregon, but basketball was his passion. Hiram Akina, the current head coach at Provo High School, also received a scholarship to join the first BYUH basketball team, despite not having been in high school for nine years. “I remember I first talked about going to BYUH in 1976 with the coach for the Navy team in my competitive league,” Akina recalled. “It was my dream to go to BYUH and get a degree because I wanted to become a coach.” Akina said when he and Pickard joined the team, they immediately clicked. “He was the total teammate. We knew each other’s actions, strengths and weaknesses, all because of our chemistry.” Akina said he wished players would model the kind of chemistry they had. Pickard said their chemistry helped because their team was mostly composed of walk-ins and players from different sports. “We didn’t really have a lot of talent, so I scored a lot,” he recalled. An article from the Honolulu
Star-Advertiser, formerly the Honolulu Advertiser, said Pickard was the top scorer in the Oahu Basketball Conference as a freshman, which included a game-high of 65 points. Akina explained how Pickard was a student of the game, and said he always knew where to be. “If I stole the ball and went on a fast break, he would always be trailing behind me for a drop pass.” He added after games, Pickard’s parents would invite Akina to eat with them, counseling him to save his money for more important things. “That’s what kind of teammate he was, and I still consider him a dear friend.” “Playing here has made me what I am” Brandyn Akana, athletics director and current head coach of the Kahuku High School boys’ basketball team, was involved in the BYUH men’s basketball program for 10 years before working at the University of Hawaii and then Kahuku High School. “For me, playing [at BYUH] has made me what I am,” Akana said. Akana explained he was recruited from Molokai High School by former BYUH men’s basketball coach, Ken Wagner. “I did not have the greatest grades in high school, and no one really noticed players from Molokai,” he recalled. “But Coach Wagner gave me a chance to prove myself.” Akana said he credits Wagner’s staff for encouraging him to improve both academically and physically. “The year before [I was there], the team had made it to the NAIA final four, so they were a big program,” he recalled. Akana added he played many minutes as a freshman, like Pickard and Akina, where “most never get an opportunity.” He also said the encouragement from his teammates and coaches earned him
NAIA all-American honors as a senior. Akana said he never forgot the support he had from fellow students and teachers. “BYU– Hawaii gave me an opportunity to connect with people from around the world which allowed me to flourish both physically and academically,” he said. Akana noted that being a player, and later a coach, gave him a more complete experience. “I not only was a studentathlete, but I was also able to recruit students that were a great fit for the University from all over the world,” he said. Akana shared about the opportunity he had to have basketball camps abroad, with several stops in the South Pacific and Asia, including China for an exhibition tour, with BYUH and later for the University of Hawaii. For Akana, he said the most notable stop was in Israel. He recalled, while doing basketball camps there, he got to visit Gethsemane and some of the sites Church members often discuss. “That all came because of my experience playing and coaching [at BYUH].” When the athletics program ended in 2017, Akana said a piece of his heart went away, but he knew it was for the better. “We had to trust it was Heavenly Father’s plan for us, so we started the intramural program to restore identity to the University.” Since then, he said the intramural program has grown tremendously, calling it an integral part of the experience at BYUH. He said the department, called Seasider Sports and Activities, which he manages, added symbols of that growth that include the new fitness studio and turf field set to open in the first quarter of 2021, according to BYUH’s Orange Cone webpage.
Left: Pickard and Akina said they played Ralph Sampson during their time with the BYUH's basketball team. Photo provided by BYUH Archives. Right: Pickard said he scored a lot. Photo provided by Anthony Pickard. N E W S T U D E N T ISSUE 2021 157
Left: Pickard said the Cannon Activities Center was a sign of progress for the BYUH sports program. Pictured sitting on the sidelines are Coach Ken Wagner and Akana. Photo provided by the Akana family. Below: Akana said he can feel the school spirit in the former BYUH players. Photo provided by the BYUH Archives.
Just as Akana trusted the end of intercollegiate athletics at BYUH was Heavenly Father’s plan, Akina said he trusted basketball would give him a way to change his life. “I was not really into academics, but I knew I had to get straightened out. I always knew I would get my degree. That would be the end result, but I would not have come here without basketball.” Akina said basketball was the main reason Heavenly Father brought him to BYUH. “I had to go through this path,” he said. “It was written up for me, and I don’t know where I would be without it.” The legacy continues Pickard and Akina both said their careers gave them great memories. They recalled when the University of Virginia, one of the best teams in college basketball, came to play the young program in 1979. Akina recalled players seeking autographs before the game from Ralph Sampson, who was the best player in college basketball at the time. “The atmosphere was like a carnival. Playing against Ralph Sampson today is like getting ready to play against LeBron James. I had to get players back into the locker room to get them focused on the game.” However, once the game started, Akina said the energy was evident. “Obviously, the focus was on Ralph Sampson, but we weren’t going down without a fight. It was a battle.” Then in 1980, Akina and Pickard recalled practicing against legendary head coach Bob Knight and Indiana in preparation for their appearance in the Kraft Rainbow Classic, hosted by the University of Hawaii. “I remember watching how efficient and smooth their offense worked,” Pickard said. Akina recalled one particular instance when practice was intense. “We did not want to back down, and it made us more competitive,” he said. He added the practice got to the point 1 5 8 KE AL AK A‘I 2021
where players had to be separated and Indiana coach, Bob Knight, responded accordingly, in his own way. “He was swearing so much at his players that his assistants had to remind him where he was,” Akina said. “But all he responded with was, ‘I don’t care where I am!’” Pickard, however, said the impact of the program was much larger than just those memories. “It brought the community together in support of the program.” He added the community united behind the program and encouraged camaraderie, and soon, no one could fit into the McKay Gym. Thus, he said, the Cannon Activities Center was born. “Everyone had a hand in our history. We felt we were truly fulfilling prophecy,” Pickard said. “The Cannon Center was a sign of progress for the program.” He recalled after the center was dedicated by President Spencer W. Kimball, Kimball came to a game, and visited with the team prior to the game. Akina recalled a time when President Kimball visited campus that for him was personal. “I remember President Kimball gave me a hug and then he told me, ‘Go for your dreams.’ I couldn’t help but get emotional,” he said. “When he left, two players I recruited who were not members said they felt something they never did before.” Akina added, “Just knowing the vision of the school for every individual who came to the program and was able to accomplish great things is amazing.” He added he saw the BYUH experience touch those he recruited, even those who were not members, before arriving. “To see those who I recruited now as either strong members of the Church or those who understood what it meant to be at BYU–Hawaii, it makes me feel happy for them,” he said. “Keeping in touch with them, you can feel the spirit of this school in them.” •
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