F E BRUA RY 2022 1
FEBRUARY 2022 • VOLUME 131 • ISSUE 1
LeeAnn Lambert ADVISOR
Leiani Brown COPY EDITOR
Amanda Penrod COEDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Collin Farley COPY EDITOR
Michael Kraft COEDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Rahel Meyer COPY EDITOR
Abbie Putnam MANAGING EDITOR
Kylee Denison MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST
Katie Mower ART DIRECTOR
Levi Fuaga MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST
Lauren Goodwin MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST
Elle Larson MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST
Xyron Levi Corpuz MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST
Alexandra Clendenning MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST
Anna Stephenson MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST
Mahana Tepa MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST
Nichole Whiteley MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST
Emily Hendrickson ARTS & GRAPHICS
Marlee Palmer ARTS & GRAPHICS
Sugarmaa Bataa CONTENT CREATOR/ PHOTOGRAPHER
Christal Lee PHOTOGRAPHY &VIDEO
Munkhbayar Magvandorj PHOTOGRAPHY
Emarie Majors PHOTOGRAPHY
Uurtsaikh Nyamdeleg PHOTOGRAPHY &VIDEO
Mark Daeson Tabbilos PHOTOGRAPHY &VIDEO
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LE T TER FR O M THE C O EDITO R- IN - CHIEF
Looking back on 2021 and looking at the year ahead has been both a humbling and exciting time to reflect and review. The past year has brought a few more life lessons, and there’s so much more waiting in 2022. You’ll notice the nod to the past with the retro and groovy ‘70s style graphic art our designers were able to create as a herald to the past while our content is focused on the future. This issue was particularly fun to work on because of all the new tech and trends our team was able to find and write about. Who would’ve thought a computer would be invented where someone can play video games and heat up their chicken wings at the same time?! We also wanted to bring to light some of the lessons we’ve learned from this past year and hot-topic issues we thought were important to address. These include general topics such as mental health and neurodiversity, and local topics like the seemed lack of counseling appointments available for students last semester. Shedding light on these topics has helped us look to the future with more clarity and understanding of the world around us, and we hope it does the same for you. Amanda Penrod, Coeditor-in-Chief
NEWS CENTER: Box 1920 BYUH Laie, HI 96762 Editorial, photo submissions & distribution inquires: email@example.com To view additional articles go to kealakai.byuh.edu
CONTACT: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (808) 675-3694 Office: BYU–Hawaii Aloha Center 134 ON THE COVER: Photo Illustration by Katie Mower. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos
ABOUT The Ke Alaka‘i began publishing the same year the University, then called 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.Today, a staff of about 25 students work to provide information for BYU–Hawaii’s campus ohana and Laie’s community.
© 2022 Ke Alaka‘i BYU–Hawaii All Rights Reserved F E BRUA RY 2022 3
CONT ENTS Looking back, what’s on track
6 Art submission
Best movies 2021
7 Campus comments
8 Country highlight: Myanmar
2022 new inventions
Campus & Community
24 Be kind to your mind 28 Neurodiversity
36 Fall 2021 graduation
30 Bipimbap recipe
40 The art of singing 42 ‘Follow the Light’ play Fall 2021 46 Mahalo car share business 48 Counseling Services
CR E AT I V E W R I T I N G/ AR T/ PHOTO S UBM I S S I ON
“Chicago” by Lindsey Cardon, an alumnua from Washington
Share your art, photos or creative writing with us to share it in our next issue. E-mail us your high-resolution photo or work with a caption at email@example.com
FOL L OW US A ROUND T HE W EB
K E A L A K A I . BY UH . E D U
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CAMPUS C O M M E N T S Wha t i s an em b a r ra s s in g m om e n t you h ad in 2 0 2 1 ?
BY L E VI F UAGA
Chueling Ruengurai, a sophomore from Thailand majoring in TESOL education, shared an experience hiking Three Peaks with her sister. She said they were both on different peaks, and she began singing the lyrics to “You Are the Reason” by Calum Scott. She said her sister later told her a group of hikers could hear her singing and were laughing at her. “That group walked past me but didn’t know that [it was] me who was singing the song. ... It was so embarrassing but luckily they don’t know who I am.”
Claire Parsons, a sophomore from Australia majoring in business management, shared an experience surfing with her friend and getting “taken out” by a wave. At first, she said, she felt embarrassed because her friend saw her and started laughing. Laughing at herself, she shared, helped curb her embarrassment, knowing that trying new things isn’t easy for anyone. “I have to allow myself to laugh at me ... and if you’re not doing that, then you’re just living a life too seriously.”
Denzyl Ellery Dacayanan, a freshman from Las Vegas, Nevada, majoring in exercise science, said that while working as a pool boy, he would sometimes misread people’s addresses and wind up at the wrong place. On one occasion, he shared, he misread an address and showed up at the wrong client’s property to find him cleaning the pool himself. “Before he saw me, I kind of like backed away really slowly. ... It’s just kind of one of those things where I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Jarom Perandos, a senior from the Philippines majoring in social work, said he called his friend Sam by the wrong name, Michael, for six months before learning his actual name. He said they shared a mutual friend named Michael with whom they would play basketball. Unconsciously, he said, he started calling Sam by “Michael,” until Michael called Sam by his correct name. “There were so many occasions that I called him that [Michael] and just felt so embarrassed.”
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Known as the Golden Land for its Buddhist temples covered in gold, Myanmar is home to eight main ethnic tribes and about 100 different dialects
BY LEVI FUAGA
arrett Parsons served in the Thailand Bangkok Mission, which covered Myanmar, and said dangerous and humbling conditions due to civil unrest have molded the dynamic of the people in Myanmar. Parsons, a freshman from Utah majoring in psychology, said in February 2021 there was a coup. The New York Times reported after an election produced results the Myanmar military did not agree with, it overthrew the government. As a result there have been mass protests and civil unrest across the country. The people of Myanmar “have endured a lot. They don’t have a lot of the things we enjoy. ... They’re so humble, so friendly and so outgoing towards others,” Parsons said. Yin Lwin, a senior from Myanmar majoring in social work, said there are only five students at BYU–Hawaii who are from the country of Myanmar. She said her people “are generous and smile to anyone who visits the country.” She added they like to help everyone.
What is the traditional dress in Myanmar? Lwin said the women in Myanmar wear different dresses depending on their tribe. She explained there are eight main tribes: Kachin, Karenni, Karen, Chin, Burman, Mon, Arakan and Shan. Lwin comes from the tribe of Myanmar? Naw Eh Htoo Shee, a senior majoring in social work from Myanmar, said, “By viewing somebody’s outfit, I can know which 8 KE AL AKA‘I 2022
tribe he or she is from.” Shee hails from the tribe of Karen/Kayin. The Phoenix Voyages website explains the outfit for women is called thummy and resembles a long skirt in various colors and patterns, usually worn with a blouse with multiple collar styles. The Indochina Tours website says women also apply thanakha, a powder that functions similar to sunscreen. Parsons said the formal attire for men is a skirt called the longyi, a collarless shirt and sandals or flip flops. “They don’t even sell socks in Myanmar, so you could just wear sandals, and it would still be considered part of a formal business attire.” He said most people will dress formally “if they want to dress nicer than the crowd.”
How many languages are spoken in Myanmar and what does the flag symbolize? Parsons said there are more than 100 different dialects spoken in Myanmar but Burmese is the main language spoken. “It comes from the Burmese tribe, which is currently in power.” He said he was called to speak Burmese and served in Myanmar for the entirety of his mission. Lwin explained, the colors in Myanmar’s flag. “The yellow represents unity, the green represents peace and the red symbolizes courage.” In addition to the stripes, the flag contains a white five-pointed star in the center. “The white star stands for the significance of the union of the country,” said Shee.
What is the dominant religion? Lwin said the dominant religion in Myanmar is Buddhism. According to the Cultural Atlas website, 87.9 percent of the Burmese population is Buddhist, with minority populations of Christians, Muslims, Animists and Hindus. Lwin said there are only two branches of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they do not allow missionaries to proselyte. She explained missionaries can only teach people upon invitation.
What are some special traditions celebrated in Myanmar? Lwin said New Years is celebrated in April and their tradition involves people splashing water on each other. There are “10 to 20 volunteers who go out and splash water on the citizens. They believe if you splash water, your sins will wash away,” she explained. Shee shared people in Myanmar celebrate the Thadingyut Festival, which was on Oct. 20 in 2021. During the festival, she said people pay their respect and show gratitude to one another. “[People] show gratitude to [their] elders, children give gifts to their parents, employees give to their employers, students give to their teachers.” She said people will gather their money and find a gift, such as food, medicine or clothing. They then kneel down before the person, thanking them and clasping their hands to express their respect and gratitude to them, she explained.
Also known as the Lighting Festival, Shee said Thadingyut is celebrated by lighting up the streets at night. “Every street is lit, so it’s looks like Christmas everywhere.”
What is Myanmar known for? Lwin said Myanmar has 1,000 Buddhist temples that are covered in gold, giving it the name “Golden Land.” She said one famous temple is the Pagoda Temple, where people offer up their diamonds and jewelry at the top of the temple. The BBC Travel website says in Myanmar, gold is used in temples, traditional medicines, face creams and sometimes even in drinks and food. “On special occasions, gold leaf can be added to steamed rice and beans, and local spirits are shaken with gold leaf to drink on special occasions. Gold is literally part of the land and people,” the article says.
What are some important customs and traditions in Myanmar? Parsons said it’s considered rude to wear shoes inside another person’s house. He added, “Every time you shake someone’s hand, you grab your own elbow with your left hand.” Shee said , “[Showing] respect to one another, especially to an older person, is important.” She said it is especially important to dress modestly and speak courteously in the presence of an older person. She also said whenever somebody receives something from another person, they must take it using both of their hands. Additionally, Shee explained they attach significance and reverence to books so it is considered rude to place books on the floor when not using them. “We [believe books] give knowledge and [people] are able to learn from them, so we have to respect our books.”•
Graphics by Katie Mower.
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Your future needs you.
Your past doesn’t. 1 0 KE AL A K A‘I 2022
LOOKING BACK & WHAT’S ON TRACK
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GROOVY MOVIES BYUH students say their favorite movies from 2021 focus on comedy, action and family BY LAUREN GOODWIN
ooking back on 2021, BYU–Hawaii students shared their favorite movies from the past year. Analei Peffer and Christal Jover said they enjoyed comedy, action and how more movies move past romantic love interests and instead have elements of brother and sisterly love. All movie descriptions were inspired by rottentomatoes.com. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”
A Marvel Studios film, Shang-Chi, played by actor Simu Liu, must confront his past after he learns more about the Ten Rings organization. Shang-Chi, his best friend Katy, played by actress Awkwafina, and sister Xialing, played by actress Meng’er Zhang, all fight to protect the universe from horrific monsters. Karen Isela Montague, a junior from Texas majoring in elementary education, said the actors portrayed their characters well and added bits of comedy that balanced out the action scenes, but it didn’t make it seem forced. She said even though she hasn’t seen all the other Marvel movies, she could still understand what was going on and enjoyed this movie. Montague said she loved how the film showed how important Shang-Chi’s family and loved ones were to him. Analei Peffer, a freshman from Utah majoring in social work, said due to her Chinese heritage, she related to the 1 2 KE AL A K A‘I 2022
characters and felt it was amazing to see a predominantly Asian cast, especially since it was with Marvel Studios. “Black Widow”
Another Marvel film follows the story of Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johanson, who confronts her past while trying to take down a secret organization. Black Widow is faced with having to rebuild her relationships with her family and deals with the weight of being an Avenger. Christal Jover, a senior from the Philippines majoring in film arts, said she enjoyed seeing a lot of strong female leads in the film. As a child, she shared, she always liked watching movies about spies and because Black Widow resembles a spy, she was always Jover’s favorite superhero. The movie, she said, resonated with her because of how it focused on the main character’s sisterly love. Jover said, having a sister herself, she was able to connect to the movie. “Free Guy”
A bank teller, named Guy, played by Ryan Reynolds, discovers he’s actually in a video game. He tries to write his own story by creating a world that has no limits and must save his world “before it’s too late.” Emi Huber, a sophomore from Arizona majoring in business management with an emphasis in human resources, said, “When I
first saw the trailer, I had no intention to go and see it in the theaters.” She said at first glance, the movie seemed “kind of dumb,” but when she went to see it with her fiancé, she was “pleasantly surprised.” She said she laughed through the whole thing. “Luca”
This Disney and Pixar original feature film is set in an Italian town by the sea. Luca, voiced by Jacob Tremblay, experiences an unforgettable summer with his friends, Alberto, voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer, and Giulia, voiced by Emma Berman. Their summer is threatened though, by a powerful secret. Madison Bird, a senior from Ohio majoring in business management, said the movie “has so much heart.” Bird said although the main characters have faults, they grow and have amazing character development. She said the animation was beautiful and looked like traditional claymation with a modern twist. Bird said the movie is “absolutely worth the watch” and meant for the whole family. Samiya Washington, a senior from California majoring in social work, said “Luca” has such a light-hearted and innocent feel. She shared how she and her husband re-watched the movie over and over again when they spent time with their nieces. Seeing her nieces smile, she shared, made her enjoy the movie even more.• Graphics by Emily Hendrickson
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Through the evolution of the phonograph to AirPods, faculty and students agree music inspires and connects people BY NICHOLE WHITELEY
rom record players to iPods, students and a professor reminisced on how the evolution of music in their own lives have made them feel more grounded, and at the same time, set them free. Mason Allred, a professor in the Faculty of Arts & Letters, said, “There is something primal and divine to music. And when the right conditions converge, the technology seems to fade. It’s just me and sonic vibrations, and I feel grounded in the earth but floating just above.”
Phonograph a.k.a. Record Player Allred said, “When I was very young, I had a record player and used to blast Lionel Richie’s ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’ over and over.” According to an online article from History Hit, the phonograph (record player) was invented in 1877 and was revolutionary in its ability to “preserve the spoken word.” An online article from History Hit titled “Thomas Edison’s Top 5 Inventions,” explained how before record players, there was no way to own music and listen to it on demand. Allred said although the phonograph he owned was poor quality, it got him and his siblings dancing, and they “loved the feeling of owning the music and controlling it.”
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Cassette Tape Player & the Walkman An article written in “The Current” says cassette tapes were invented in 1963, and soon after in 1979, the Sony Walkman, a portable cassette tape player. The article said the Walkman completely changed how people listened to music because it made music portable. Allred said, “I loved making mix tapes from other cassette tapes in middle school and even recorded songs off the radio to have them at my disposal.”
CD Player According to the video, “From the Walkman to Airpods: An Evolution” made by CNN, the Sony Discman, a portable CD player, replaced cassette tapes in 1984. Allred said, “Once CDs came on the scene, it was more of a thing to go the mall, to a Sam Goody, Virgin Record, or the large WOW store in Las Vegas to browse and sample.” He continued, “I will never forget driving during lunchtime to the CD store with my brother to buy Rage Against the Machine’s second album, ‘Evil Empire,’ as soon as it dropped in Spring of 1996. Unwrapping the plastic from the CD, reading the liner notes and soaking in the aesthetic of its entire packaging was so thrilling.”
As music became more portable, Allred said he feels people have traded quality for convenience. “The greatest loss has been forgetting or neglecting artists and albums I love because I don’t see them. I have to consciously remember to search for it and stream it or happen across it in my library. But having the albums in your room, car, or office has always had the potential to remind [me] to revisit an old beloved album and fall in love again.”
Rise of MP3, the iPod & Music Streaming With the rise of the MP3 in 1997 and the ability to download thousands of songs and take them anywhere, Allred said he noticed the appeal to the convenience side because it gives more access to music. Allred said, “That feeling of finding all kinds of new music was very pronounced for me with the spread of Napster.” Napster is an audio streaming service that started as a way for individuals to share their music (MP3 files) with one another. “We always had the computer downloading list after list of MP3s sent through questionable peer-topeer platforms like Napster until they were all basically shut down,” said Allred. Allred said he feels people became more closed off with the invention of the iPod in 2001. “It became increasingly common for people to walk around campus with ear pods in. It still felt really rude to me, but it was slowly becoming more accepted to ignore everyone around you and have headphones in.” Sage Soelberg, a freshman from Utah majoring in communications, said she did not see this change because the iPod is the first device she remembers listening to music on. She said she got her first iPod from her mom, and “it was definitely something [she] showed off to [her] friends.”
In an article on “The Current”, it says the popularity of streaming services such as Pandora in 2005, Spotify in 2011 and Apple Music in 2015 on mobile devices changed how people interacted with music. When Soelberg got Spotify, she said she remembered loving the ability to organize songs and create playlists. “That was so fun to me. I would spend hours a day organizing my favorite songs.” Denim Layton, a freshman from Arizona majoring in communications, said Spotify allows artists to release their own music instead of going through a record label. “That creates connections,” she explained. It also helps her and her sister connect by sharing playlists, she added, learning what music the other enjoys and taking turns playing music in the car. Soelberg said, “Music is a huge connector point for me. I think it says a lot about a person.” She said she has created these connections through online music platforms, such as the feature on Apple Music that allows users to see what others are listening to. This gives her a way to talk with and connect with people through music, she explained. CNN said in 2016, Apple AirPods were invented, which revolutionized how people listen to music. Allred said he bought AirPods for their convenience, but he can see the positive sides of both the new and old ways of listening to music. “There is something magical about sharing the music with others, blasting it out loud and dancing and singing or just feeling it together. But I also love throwing on headphones and listening to it alone and getting a really good quality experience. “Alone and immersed in superb audio quality, I feel more open and vulnerable to the music’s power. It can make me cry, super excited or grateful more often when I listen like that- not as background bops, but Above from left to right: The evolution of music listening technology is shown across time. Going from a vinyl record, a cassette tape player, a CD to an iPhone J A N UA RY 2022 15 with Air Pods. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos.
TECH TALK TECH TALK TECH TALK TECH TALK BYUH students say 2021 technology and upcoming 2022 technology is exciting but sometimes unnecessary BY ELLE LARSON
toilet that listens to people’s voices, a gaming system that warms up chicken wings, and a self-flying drone that watches over people’s homes are just some of the nifty gadgets coming out in 2022.
TOILET INTELLIGENCE In Tom’s Guide, Mike Prospero writes artificial intelligence is making its way into the bathroom. He says Kohler manufacturing company released the Numi 2.0 intelligent toilet in 2019. The $8,000 toilet features a built-in Amazon Alexa, color-changing LED lights, speakers, a heated seat, a bidet and a dryer, says Prospero. The Kohler website says people can even program their toilet to adjust to their individual heat and light preferences, creating the perfect pooping environment for each person in the house. However, Camila Aguado, a freshman from Mesa, Arizona majoring in biology, said she would never buy a toilet that glows, and she doesn’t see the need for a toilet that connects to Alexa. “Why connect it to Alexa to play music if you can already use your phone?” Futurist Bernard Marr says on his tech blog, Kohler’s intelligent toilet could be just the beginning of toilet tech. He writes of toilets being created worldwide that measure 1 6 KE AL A K A‘I 2022
everything from blood oxygen levels to urine flow to detect bladder health issues and heart failure. He says there is also an iToilet that adjusts the height and angle of the toilet in order to accommodate elderly and disabled people. Aguado said she thinks toilets that detect health concerns are a more useful route for the toilet industry. She suggested creating a toilet that adjusts the amount of water flushed to the amount of urine in the bowl. She added she would be more inclined to buy a toilet that measures her health than one that lights up. Emma Ball, a freshman from Grace, Idaho, majoring in exercise and sport science, said she likes the idea but doesn’t think it’s worth the heavy price tag. “I can do my thing on a toilet that costs $50,” she said.
KENTUCKY FRIED GAMING The Cooler Master website says, “Forged from the fires of the Kentucky Fried Chicken ovens and built by Cooler Master from the ground up, there has never been a tastier way to experience the latest titles.” Erik Kain from Forbes explains KFC partnered with Cooler Master to pair chicken and gaming. They created a bucket-shaped gaming console PC that uses the natural heat from the console to warm up Kentucky Fried
Chicken. The console is more of a custom PC, Kain writes, with specs more impressive than the PS5 or Xbox Series X. Merima Dzakic from Alt Char says the “KFConsole,” referring to the gaming system, will be available on Dec. 10, 2021. Henglong Sun, a freshman from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, majoring in computer science, said he loves the idea of having snacks close and warm while he’s gaming. He added when he’s really into playing a game, he typically doesn’t want to move to eat. “Having something [I] can pull out and eat in just one or two minutes … is super good.” Dave Trumbore from Collider says the console is speculated to cost around $2,000. Sun said he wished more gaming products were more affordable, so not just people who have money could enjoy them.
THE WORLD’S SMARTEST MASK The gaming company Razer announced on it website “Project Hazel,” the waterproof “Zephyr Mask,” which is what it calls the world’s smartest face-covering. The website says the mask includes replaceable surgical filters and rechargeable ventilators that keeps the person who wears the mask and the air they breathe clean. The mask even has its own charging box that cleans
ATOMICALLY CLEAN ENERGY
the mask as it charges, states the website It explains the mask is clear, so people can see other’s faces through it, and when it’s dark, automatic lights turn on to show your mouth. The mask even offers millions of different colors of lights to match the person’s outfit. The gadget also boasts voice amplifier technology with a built-in microphone and speakers, says the website. The director of design at Razor Inc., Charlie Bolton, says in a promotional video for the mask, his team designed it to be safe, social, sustainable, comfortable and personalized. “Project Hazel is our answer to what the world’s smartest mask can be.” TJ Denzer from ShackNews says the “Zephyr Mask” was released in October 2021 and can be purchased for $99.99. Kaela Olsingch, a freshman from Wildomar, California, and currently majoring in psychology, said she likes that the mask cleans itself because she doesn’t like the hassle of cleaning her mask. “Masks get really dirty, and nobody wants to clean them. That’s just too much work.” However, she said she doesn’t see the need for a smart mask. “I don’t know how much longer [people are] going to have to wear face masks.” Aguado said she understands the value for those who are deaf behind the lights that light up people’s mouths. “For someone who relies on lip-reading to communicate, I can see where that can help,” she explained. For any other purpose, though, added Aguado, the lights are creepy.
After hearing the price, Ball said she would consider buying the mask. “I feel like with all the things it has to offer it’s cheap,” she said.
SECURITY BOTS Timothy Beck Werth from Spy.com says in September 2021 Amazon announced three new robot-like gadgets. One is the Ring Always Home Cam, a security drone that autonomously flies around the buyer’s home with a camera. Customers can connect their phones to the drone to watch the home footage from their screen, Werth writes. He says the camera is covered when it’s not in use, and customers can control when the drone begins filming. The other robot is Amazon’s Astro. It roams around a person’s house with a camera and includes a video screen for security and keeping in touch with family, writes Werth. Both of these robotic products are being introduced to a limited number of customers, whom Amazon will invite to try the robots for a fee. BYU–Hawaii students may not receive access to them for a number of years, but a few years from now, students may see an Astro rolling through the McKay halls. Sun said he doesn’t like the idea of a robot walking around his house because although he loves the convenience of some technology, he feels a robot like this one goes a little too far. “I still want to be able to do stuff, not let a robot do everything for me.”
World Nuclear News says as fusion technology continues to advance, Helion has accelerated efforts to build the world’s first commercially-viable fusion power plant by 2022. The plant will model the way the sun creates energy, the article explains, because it uses no fossil fuels, minimizes waste and produces no carbon emissions. Eric Wilkinson of King 5 reports, “The fusion technology … works similarly to how a star produces energy by fusing hydrogen and helium under a large amount of pressure. In the simplest terms, Helion plans to take two atoms from what’s called ‘heavy water’ and smash them together at temperatures ten times hotter than the sun to make energy that will power [the] world with no waste, no radiation and no carbon.” Wilkinson reports Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee attended the energy facility’s groundbreaking ceremony in July. He says the governor stated, “We’re seeing the birth of a new clean energy industry right here in Washington. This promise that is Helion could be, when they make this work, world-shaking.” The news site said Helion broke ground on an electric fusion plant called Polaris in Everett, Washington, in July 2021. Davaadorj Sukhbaatar, a sophomore majoring in finance from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, said air pollution is a huge problem in Mongolia, and he likes that energy sources are getting cleaner. “It’s a good thing. Technology brings lots of good impacts, especially to the environment, people’s health and animals.” • Left: The world’s smartest mask includes surgical filters and cleans itself while it charges. Photo by IGN. Right: Amazon’s Astro is a robot that roams around a person’s house with a camera for security. Photo by Spy.com F E B RUA RY 2022 17
What I accomplished...
2021 1 8 KE AL A K A‘I 2021
What I want to accomplish...
Graphics by Katie Mower. J A N UA RY 2022 19
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IPHONE 13 LINEUP The newest phones from Apple come in four different designs, but some Seasiders think it’s not worth the upgrade BY XYRON LEVI CORPUZ
s posted on the cnet.com website, Apple’s new iPhone 13 lineup was launched at Apple’s September 2021 event, but BYU–Hawaii students said the innovations aren’t enough for them to purchase a new phone just yet. Ainsley Aiono, a junior from Las Vegas, Nevada, majoring in Pacific Islands studies, said, “I feel like going up one more year to the next version, there won’t be that many differences [in the] updated technology, and it’ll be a lot more expensive. So I probably wouldn’t get it.” The new iPhones consist of four new models: iPhone 13 (standard), iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. “The new phones will run iOS 15, come with a larger battery, more storage, a new A15 Bionic processor, a smaller notch and an abundance of new camera features,” says the cnet website. “The base model of the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini are available in five colors: pink, blue, midnight (black), starlight (white) and Product Red. “The iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max will also get a giant camera upgrade as well as a new display with 120Hz high refresh-rate display,” it says.
iPhone 13 (standard) According to the Tom’s Guide website, the iPhone 13 offers more than first meets the eye, including a brighter display, longer battery life and new photography sensors and computational features. Posted on the Apple Store website, the iPhone 13 has a 6.1-inch display with a price starting at $799. MacKenzie Claire Preator, a senior from Dallas, Texas, majoring in exercise and sport science, said she would not get the iPhone 13 because it is pricey, and she already has an iPhone 11 that is still running well. “I’m just not on it enough to where the battery life would have much of an effect. And I’m not someone who takes a lot of pictures. So, whether there are [multiple cameras] on the iPhone, those wouldn’t really play a role in whether I got the phone or not.”
iPhone 13 Mini According to The Guardian website, “The iPhone 13 mini takes what’s great about the full-size iPhone 13 and squeezes it into a body not much larger than the iPhone 5S without cutting back on features or power.” Posted on the Apple Store website, the iPhone 13 mini has a 5.4inch display with a price starting at $699.
Aiono said she would not get the new iPhone 13 Mini because she does not need a small phone. She said she likes the bigger screen of her current iPhone 12 Pro Max. She added she likes that the new 13 Mini provides an option for those who would like to have smaller iPhones “because everyone’s got their different preferences.”
iPhone 13 Pro According to the Six Colors website, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 are “exactly the same height, length and thickness,” but the Pro is heavier because it “uses stainless steel … rather than the anodized aluminum of the 13 and 13 mini.” The site says “the 13 Pro comes in gold, silver, graphite and one special color … Sierra Blue.” Posted on the Apple website, the iPhone 13 Pro has a 6.1-inch display with a price starting at $999. Dayton Dano, a senior from Kahalu’u, Hawaii, majoring in accounting, said he wouldn’t upgrade because he is content with his current iPhone 12 Max camera and storage. “Even though it’s a newer phone by Apple, I feel like it’s still pretty much similar enough where I don’t feel it’s outdated or I need to upgrade at all.”
iPhone 13 Pro Max
According to the Tom’s Guide website, “The iPhone 13 Pro Max is what happens when you get practically everything you could want in a phone. This premium flagship packs a 120Hz refresh rate display, the fastest performance of any handset and epic battery life.” The site says the camera is what puts “this phone over the top. … [People] can shoot Cinematic mode videos ... choose [their] own Photographic styles and take super close-up shots with a new macro mode that leverages the ultra-wide camera.” Posted on the Apple website, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a 6.7-inch display with a price starting from $1,099. Kristina St. John, a senior from Ridgefield, Washington, majoring in hospitality and tourism management, said she would get the new 13 Pro Max if she had the option. Her only concern is her tiny hands because the new 13 Pro Max is a huge phone. St. John said she bought the iPhone 13 (standard) because it was available on the island, but if the 13 Pro were available, she would get it. Her old phone was iPhone 8, and she said it was worth the upgrade because she needed a good battery life and the new iPhone 13’s camera is better. • New iPhone 13 models Photos taken from Apple.com
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Body dysmorphia is only getting worse and impacts both men and women BY KYLEE DENISON & RAHEL MEYER
t is estimated by the National Eating Disorders Association that about 23 to 32 percent of college females and 8 to 25 percent of college males struggle with some form of eating disorder or body dysmorphia. And experts warn those numbers will increase. Dr. Kate McLellan, assistant professor in the Faculty of Sciences, said, “I’ve seen a big increase in students dissatisfied with their bodies over the last few years, and most notably in the last 18 months. This is true for male and female students.” She continued, “A lot of that can be fueled by misinformation they’ve seen on social media from ‘influencers’ selling junk products, diets or programs.”
Prevalent and getting worse Niki Bennett, a licensed clinical social worker and adjunct faculty in the Faculty of Education & Social Work said body dysmorphia is “when [people] fixate on certain perceived flaws about their bodies that may or may not be accurate, and it becomes an obsession.” For Bennett, this problem is personal. Growing up, she said, she would look at magazines and think, “What makes her pretty and me not? And I could dissect exactly what it was.” She continued, “Whether it qualifies under the DSM [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders] or not, I think all of us
Levi Fuaga examining himself in a mirror showing how body dismorphia can present itself in daily habits Photo by Emarie Majors. Graphics by Katie Mower.
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struggle with the ability to love ourselves and to feel like we are enough. So, I think everybody could seek treatment or have someone to talk to.” Before Bennett was a social worker, she taught second grade, and she said she recalled hearing a conversation between two little girls saying they couldn’t eat something because it had too many calories and they were on a diet. Bennett explained this happened 10 years ago. “I think it is so prevalent, and it is just getting worse.” Body dysmorphia is occurring at a younger and younger age because of the societal pressures to look young, she said. “People now are not calling them diets. They’re calling them cleanses, … nutrition plans,or health coaches. But it’s the same thing. It just has a different face. It’s a different mask.”
Rearranging priorities Ammon Autele, a BYU–Hawaii alumnus from Samoa, said many people, especially men, are very self-conscious about their physical appearance and how others will perceive them. Taking part in bodybuilding competitions, Autele said, he never was satisfied with how he looked and was constantly obsessing over his physique. “Looking back now at that bodybuilding stage, I am amazed at how my body looked. But at that time, it was never enough.” After quitting bodybuilding, Autele shared, he went through a hard time where he struggled a lot with body dysmorphia. “I had a very bad eating disorder, and I was constantly hard on myself and depressed because I didn’t look as chiseled and cut as I used to.” Autele said it took him a while to realize that his body shouldn’t be his main focus in life and that there are so many other important things to care about. Taking care of family and friends, managing a career, success and commitment to one’s faith are all things that are more important than how a person looks, shared Autele. Sometimes obsessing about the body can get in the way of caring for those more important things, he said. “Realizing life itself is important and that my family is my priority has helped me a lot in overcoming my negative self-image.” There is a danger in obtaining a specific body type in a fast amount of time, explained Autele, and many people aren’t aware of unhealthy dieting regimes. “You are essentially starving yourself, and the moment you flip the switch, and you are not in the diet or bodybuilding mode, your body wants to retain every little fat it can, and you gain weight again. “The whole process of aggressively putting your body weight down, with an aggressive diet and intense regimen, has a very negative impact on you in the end.”
Letting go of scarcity Bennett said she believes the best action people can take is to “spark the conversation and have the courage to talk about it.” By starting the conversation, Bennett said people can realize they are not alone. She added, “Not everybody suffers with [body dysmorphia] …, but everybody knows what pain feels like. Whether it’s the pain of thinking you’re not pretty enough, or you’re not skinny enough, or
you’re not manly enough, or you’re not smart enough, everyone can relate to that.” Bennett said negative stigmas are ended by “sharing and being real.” When people authentically share their struggles, others realize they are not alone because everyone has issues and problems, said Bennett. She added the more someone pretends not to struggle, the bigger the problem is. “[People need to] focus on who [they are] and what [their] body does for [them],” said Bennett. She said she learned the following tactic from a friend of hers who grew up with an eating disorder: If someone is getting ready in front of the mirror in the morning and has the thought, “My stomach’s fat,” they can immediately combat that thought by looking at their stomach and saying to themselves: “Wow, that houses all of my internal organs to keep my body working. I’m so grateful.” Bennett said doing this is an act of practicing gratitude. “It’s letting go of scarcity and recognizing that there will always be someone prettier. There will always be someone more fit. There will always be somebody wealthier or smarter or more athletic. It’s not about being the best. It’s about loving yourself where you are right now.” Another strategy Bennett shared includes keeping a personal journal separated into columns: “Things I am grateful for,” “Things I accept,” and “positive ‘I am…’ statements.”
A healthy support system Leiani Brown, a senior majoring in English from Taylorsville, Utah, said some people might not even be able to realize they have unhealthy thinking patterns because they never challenged their own thoughts. Having somebody there to share your thoughts with and who can tell you when you overthink or think wrongly about situations, is something Brown said benefited her. “My husband has helped me a lot because I’ll say things like ‘I look terrible today’ or ‘This person hates me.’ And he says, ‘Okay, but that’s not real.’ It helps me to stay grounded and realize it is all in my head.” Brown said she wished people would focus more on the health aspect of their bodies instead of treating it like an ornament. Growing up, Brown shared she always had a fast metabolism and was always very thin. People would come up to her and tell her how lucky she was for being that thin and how they envied her for eating whatever she wanted without the concern of gaining a lot of weight, said Brown. “If they only knew how many issues I have with my health, just because I’m a very unhealthy person. I don’t exercise or eat healthy. ... It’s all about our habits and our actions and how we treat our bodies. It should be less about how we look.” If you or someone you know is struggling with negative body image or an eating disorder, please use the Counseling Services Resources available on campus at https://counseling.byuh.edu/ or call (808) 675-3518. You can also contact the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237. •
Photo by Emarie Majors. Graphics by Katie Mower.
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BY LEVI FUAGA Writer’s own comments are in italics
s a child, I knew I was different from my peers, but I never knew why. For the longest time, I couldn’t make sense of why people thought I was “weird” or “special,” or any other questionable labels. It wasn’t until my mother told me I had Asperger’s that I would get the answers to the questions I’ve held inside me my whole life. Not only was it a breath of fresh air, but I felt like I was getting to know me—the real me—for the first time. “Why did I struggle with learning certain topics?”“Why did I have strange social habits?”“Why did I always need an aid or have to see a counselor?”Those questions were once a shadow that followed me until I learned about my condition. I learned that there was nothing wrong with who I was. I learned to embrace my differences and to accept myself. By doing so, I’ve grown to recognize those in my life who truly know and care about me. My hopes are that people who are like me, can have that same hope and achieve those same goals.
they [people with autism] are seeing things in perspective.” Understanding and expressing social cues, such as sarcasm, can be difficult for her, Mark Jones shared. He said his wife sometimes makes sarcastic jokes without smiling and maintaining a blank expression. He said he reminds her to smile whenever having a casual conversation to avoid giving off the wrong message or vibe. “I understand her sarcasm because I’ve been married to her long enough.” Mark Jones explained his wife needed to understand “micro-inequities,” or body language and social cues, that act as signals for how to interact. “The same as with the joke. If you give off the wrong social cues, that this is a sarcastic joke, they get upset, they take it as an insult or as criticism as opposed to a joke or sarcasm.” Understanding his wife means accepting her social awkwardness and accepting who people with autism are, he said.
ADHD AUTISM The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) defines the autism spectrum disorder as “characterized by persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction…[and] repetitive patterns of behaviors, interests, or activities.” Community member Sarah Jones, a stay-at-home mother who resides in Laie with her husband, said she was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in her late 20s. As a child, Jones said, she felt different and struggled to connect with her peers and teachers. “My fourth-grade teacher told me that I was dumb, and she was very mean to me. … It seemed I always had a knack of doing something the wrong way or different from them.” According to the Autism Society website, Asperger’s Syndrome or Disorder was first coined in the 1940s, and used to describe a “milder form of autism,” and, but both Autistic and Asperger’s Disorder have since been replaced by the blanket term “autism spectrum disorder” in the DSM-5.
Jones shared her challenges of being autistic include having sensory processing issues, meltdowns and struggling to understand social cues. She said she is sensitive to certain textures or tastes that cause her to narrow down which objects or foods she prefers. “I am picky about food [and] the way it tastes. … I don’t like most leftovers. Some foods just taste wrong later.” She added understanding materials and styles when buying clothes can help her to feel more comfortable. Jones said she has meltdowns when she struggles to understand, adapt or when she is feeling overwhelmed in a certain situation. “I [get] overly frustrated. I get angry. I cry. I get fixated on the frustration and need to find an answer … but I can’t always find a solution.” She said her husband, Mark Jones, is very understanding and compassionate towards her quirks and differences. He shared, “It’s challenging for sure. … You have to learn to understand better the way
The DSM-5 states, “ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder defined by impairing levels of inattention, disorganization, and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity.” Camille Condie, a junior from Cedar City, Utah, majoring in marine biology, shared she was diagnosed with ADHD in elementary school. She said her teachers would report she could not sit still in class. “I would run around and never do any of my work because I had the attention span of a fly.” Having ADHD means having a limited time for focus, said Condie. She said she uses medications to strengthen her focus and attention span. With or without the medication, Condie said she deals with constantly rerouting her focus. When she does take her medication, Condie explained, she can focus on a particular task more easily. “It takes me about 20 minutes to get back into focus, but if something distracts me again, then I have to do another 20 minutes,” said Condie. Condie said without her medications, her focus diminishes quicker and easier. “My duration is about 30 minutes of just staying
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still in one spot, and after that, I get fidgety and want to move.” Just as completing a task can be difficult, Condie said, so does mustering the motivation to do it. She said it’s almost impossible to finish assignments. “It’s like your will to get it done is not there. So, you have to try to fight yourself to try to get up and do it. … Your brain just is not computing.” To combat these habits, Condie shared, she uses the non-distraction room located in the Testing Center. She described it as a small room containing a computer, couch and a chair to use and is only accessible to those who have acquired disability services. She said she has used the room since her freshman year, and it has helped her to minimize any potential distractions.
DYSLEXIA The Mayo Clinic website defines dyslexia as “a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding).” Michael Kraft, a senior from Washington, D.C. majoring in communications, said he always enjoyed reading books as a child, unaware that he had dyslexia. He shared he enjoyed books by Dr. Seuss and the “Magic Tree House” novels, which helped him develop his reading skills. At first, his mother had him read aloud, Kraft shared, which wasn’t a problem for him. It wasn’t until his mother asked him to read in his head that Kraft said he realized something was off. He said he simply couldn’t process the readings mentally. Kraft was in eighth grade when he was first diagnosed with dyslexia, he shared. An avid reader, Kraft said his reading deficit seemed normal to him at first. “I didn’t know how to articulate that I was having a problem. I didn't know or understand that other people did not see words the same way I do.” Kraft shared the irony of being a bookworm and having a reading disability as well. “Even though [reading] was hard for me, I really love stories,” he said. Despite loving stories and reading, Kraft explained words can be a challenge for him. “The way I describe it, it’s kind of like the lines [of text] shift and get in the wrong order sometimes.” Large amounts of text are difficult to read, shared Kraft. He said some of his professors will ask him to read thick 3 0 KE AL A K A‘I 2022
paragraphs, and he’d end up “stumbling over words,” and trying to process each word at a time. Kraft, who is also an editor for Ke Alaka‘i, shared he also has ADHD, at times making it difficult to focus on the task at hand. He said when he began working at the Ke Alaka’i his ADHD and dyslexia posed challenges. “Sometimes they [dyslexia and ADHD] would both conflict each other where I’d miss things at work. I’d miss grammar mistakes like misspelled words.” He said he began using the online writing and grammar tool Grammarly to avoid these mistakes. In high school, Kraft said, he would use a plastic overlay to help him focus on one sentence at a time whenever he read. To help him read online, he shared, he’ll highlight every sentence to differentiate what he has already read. Classes can be challenging when his classmates don’t understand his learning difference, said Kraft. “I don’t want to explain this to everybody, but at the same time ... I’m forced to or feel like I’m in an awkward situation.”
PERSONAL STRENGTHS Being neurodiverse or autistic meant that I would have certain weaknesses or obstacles. However, I discovered that behind every obstacle I’ve dealt with, there were strengths that manifested and countered those challenges. I enjoyed creating art and writing, which helped me to express myself and my perspective on the world. I didn’t need to see the world the same way as everybody else. Autism and ADHD are nothing less than my superpowers, said Sarah Jones. “I actually feel like it sets me apart and gives me an advantage over other people.” Her husband said Sarah Jones is very knowledgeable and has an extensive memory of anything she seeks interest in and learns. “She loves to go in-depth. … She likes to know the hows and whys, and because of that, she literally becomes an expert of anything she looks into.” Because of this trait, Sarah Jones said, she has been able to accomplish many feats in her life, including working at Intel for four years as a software/firmware contractor. She shared she helped develop wireless adapters that enable people to share hotspots or Wi-Fi networks with
each other. “I have no degree but love information.” Condie said having ADHD means “I get bored easily and that has led me to do many things in my life.” Like Sarah Jones, Condie shared she was able to accomplish many milestones in her life including attending culinary school, becoming a massage therapist and moving to different states. “I got to keep moving because I can’t do the same thing every single day.” Condie shared her experience as a factory worker was very monotonous. To combat her boredom, she shared, she would memorize songs and dance to them while working. She said people with ADHD tend to think about multiple things at the same time. “People with ADHD usually have problems with sleeping because their brains don’t shut off.” She shared listening to music while performing tasks, such as driving, helps her to keep her mind busy. “If I don’t, my anxiety goes up, and I’ll over analyze every single thing, and it makes it so much harder for me to drive. I’m just very paranoid.” Kraft shared, “Because I have dyslexia, it’s forced me to work harder, to become a better reader and writer.” Through his experiences, he said, his neurodiversity increased his confidence in his ability and identity as a writer. Kraft shared he loves reading the Percy Jackson novels because all of the main characters have ADHD and dyslexia. Although they are fictional superheroes, he shared, he is able to relate to them, since he shares the same struggles.
SPREADING AWARENESS Knowing who my true self has given me confidence and the strength to share my own experiences and what people should know, in hopes of changing the way neurodiverse people are perceived. Unfortunately, people will fear and label what they don’t understand. Neurodiverse individuals deserve to be validated for who they are. Understanding autism means “loving people who they are, and that people are perfect,” shared Sarah Jones. She expressed the best way to understand people with autism is by accepting them for what makes them unique. “If you know someone who’s weird or different or socially awkward, then you should love them because that’s part of who they are.”
Autism is a spectrum disorder, Sarah Jones explained, meaning “how each individual deals with it and how it displays [for] each individual is so wide and so diverse. There’s no way to tell neurotypical people to put a cookiecutter stamp on it.” Sarah Jones shared she embraces her autism as her superpower, and that autism does not need to be cured. She expressed gratitude for Heavenly Father and for being who she is. Condie also shared it’s important to be patient with people who have ADHD. She said it’s easy for them to be forgetful because of all of the different things they’re thinking about. Also, she said, their hyperactivity, such as being fidgety and constantly afoot, is what helps them to focus better. People with ADHD, she shared, oftentimes need a “soundboard” or someone they can exchange their opinions and ideas with. For her assignments, she shared, she’ll voice her opinion on anything she’s confused about. “It’s actually very helpful. … Usually, after I talk to someone, I figure out the problem that I was having, just because having them there helped me to keep my focus on what it was.” Being fidgety and constantly moving around, Condie said, allows people with ADHD to enhance their concentration on a task. “It’s not because they’re not listening, or because of something around them, it’s usually something in their head.” Kraft shared having dyslexia is not an “indicator of intelligence or lack of intelligence.” He said people with dyslexia can struggle to perform certain tasks sometimes. “It’s not because they’re any less intelligent, it’s just because their brains are wired differently.” I learned to realize my own ‘superpowers’ and what it truly means to be neurodivergent. Being different doesn’t mean I’m incapable of having a well-rounded life. It meant that I could use my differences to strengthen myself and those I encounter.To embrace myself is to adore and appreciate the way God had created me. • Graphics by Katie Mower
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BIPIMBAP SAUCE 2 Tbsp gochujang 1 Tbsp sesame oil 1 Tbsp sugar 1 Tbsp water 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds 1 tsp apple vinegar 1 tsp minced garlic
VEGETABLES AND OTHER 250 g spinach 350 g bean sprouts 100 g shiitake mushrooms 120 g carrots 1/2 tsp sea salt 3 cups steamed rice 3 eggs Shredded seaweed
MEAT AND MEAT SAUCE 100 g ground beef 1 Tbsp soy sauce 1 Tbs sesame oil 1 tsp sugar 1/4 tsp minced garlic
DIRECTIONS To make this Korean rice bowl, start by mixing the ground beef with the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and minced garlic. Marinate the meat for 30 minutes while you are working on other ingredients to enhance the flavor. Add some cooking oil into a wok and cook the meat on medium high to high heat for three to five minutes, or until fully cooked. Mix the Bibimbap sauce ingredients in a bowl. Cook spinach and bean sprouts. Rinse, peel and julienne the carrots. Add some cooking oil and 1/4 tsp of fine sea salt in a wok and cook the carrots on medium high to high heat for two to three minutes. Clean/rinse the shiitake mushrooms and thinly slice them. Add some cooking oil and 1/4 tsp of fine sea salt in a wok and cook the mushrooms on medium high to high heat until they are all cooked. (It takes two to three minutes.) Make fried eggs. (While sunny side up is common, you can make them per your preference.) Put the rice into a bowl and add the meat, assorted vegetables, seasoned seaweed, Bibimbap sauce and the egg on top.
MIX THE INGREDIENTS WELL IN THE BOWL AND ENJOY!
Left: A fully assembled bowl of bibimbap. Photos by Emarie Majors.
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CAMPUS & COMMUNITY
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BYU–HAWAII The first in-person commencement ceremony since the pandemic focused on the opportunity for all to “double major” BY LEVI FUAGA
or the first time in more than a year, 275 graduates in the graduating class of Fall 2021 received their degrees and certificates in person. Elder Carl B. Cook, a member of the presidency of the Seventy, along with BYU–Hawaii President John S. K. Kauwe and others encouraged and congratulated graduates in an in person commencement ceremony on Dec. 10.
Choosing to serve the Lord President Kauwe urged graduates to seek to serve the Lord in everything they do. “The strong and simple choice to serve the Lord and forsake other influences will direct your actions in every decision you make moving forward.” He shared the story of Joshua, who feared the children of Israel would deviate from solely serving God. In the story he shared, Joshua warns the children of Israel against evil and resisting temptation. Joshua, he said, advises the people, “Choose ye this day whom
ye will serve. … But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” In this scripture, President Kauwe said, the prophet pleads with his people to serve the Lord “in sincerity and in truth.” He explained this kind of service means forsaking other gods, which he clarified as worldly influences that people might value over Heavenly Father and the covenants made with him. “It is not sufficient to squeeze the Lord into a few minutes of your life here or there. We cannot serve him by nodding toward the heavens on a few occasions each week, or even each day,” shared President Kauwe. President Kauwe shared a lesson from President David O. McKay in which he explained it is not easy for people to center their lives on God. President Kauwe added, quoting President McKay, “‘Let us resolve that from now on we are going to be men and women of higher and more sterling character, more conscious of our weakness, more kind and charitable towards the failing of others.”
help, we can get through all that the world will throw at us.” Kaonohi, an alumna from Florida with a degree in computer science, shared the difficulty of transitioning to online classes when COVID-19 struck. However, she expressed she and her classmates were happy to celebrate this milestone together. Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, Kaonohi said, she and her fellow graduates are still bound to face adversity that will test their faith in God and their capabilities. “We did a hard thing getting to this point, especially during this time. So, trust that you have what it takes to push past your limits.” Although the future is uncertain, Kaonohi said, it is important for graduates to remember who they are and to believe they can achieve great things. “Believe that you are the genuine gold that David O. McKay prophesied us to be, and that we can lead and serve with the knowledge we’ve obtained here at Brigham Young University–Hawaii.”
Trusting the Lord in difficult times
Receiving a double major and joining an order of angels
Amy Marshall Kaonohi, the graduation student speaker for the Fall 2021 Commencement, shared, “With the Lord’s
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R. Kelly Haws, assistant to the commissioner and secretary to the Church Board of Education
and Board of Trustees, advised the graduates to recognize their “double major,” which is to study, practice, and become a disciple of Jesus Christ. “The unique and singular difference [between BYUH and other universities] is BYU–Hawaii’s complete devotion to helping you become disciples of Jesus Christ and leaders in the home and church.” Haws told the graduates to remember watching the sun rise or set on the beach as the water sweeps across the sand and crabs scurry into their holes—a scene he said most of the graduates had probably experienced—and told them to use that memory to picture Jesus calling his apostles from the shore. “Jesus has often chosen and called disciples near the water: these disciples at the sea of Galilee, Alma’s people at the waters of Mormon, Joseph Smith at the Susquehanna River, and now each of you, on this campus, near these beaches, and in the shadow of this temple.” While attending BYUH, Haws shared, graduates have surely experienced quiet moments of growing gratitude to be here. “You’ve felt prompted toward deeper discipleship of the Savior.You’ve felt a new renewed commitment to love Heavenly Father and follow him more. Those feelings are part of becoming a disciple.” He added graduates have learned to
love people whose accents, customs, traditions, and favorite foods are different from their own. “And now,” Haws addressed the graduates, “my young brothers and sisters, the world desperately needs exactly your kind of discipleship.” Quoting President Russell M. Nelson from a previous commencement celebration at a different Church Educational System (CES) school, Haws said, “You’ve been jumping over educational high hurdles all erected by other people. Now it’s time for you to define your own expectations. From now on, you decide. … Instead of concentrating on what you are to do, now is the time for you to zero in on what you are to be.” He said discipleship is not a comfortable path, but it is a path approved by God. “President Nelson concluded, ‘Your religion is not about just showing up for church on Sunday. It’s about showing up as a true disciple from Sunday morning through Saturday night, 24/7. There is no such thing as a part-time disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.’” Haws added, “You and I cannot be great men and women if we are not also good men and women.” He explained graduates could become great men and women by loving God with all of their heart, might, mind and strength, and then loving others.
University President Kauwe fist bumps graduate. Students of the Fall 2021 graduating class during the graduation ceremony. Graphics by Sugarmaa Bataa and Katie Mower. Photos by Munkhbayar Magvandorj and Mark Daeson Tabbilos
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Haws pleaded with graduates to remember as double majors, graduates of BYUH, and as people who choose to be disciples of Jesus Christ, they have joined “an order of the angels.”
Following the plan Member of the Presidency of the Seventy Elder Cook spoke at the commencement and shared an experience of working at a cattle farm in Utah when he was 15 years old. The owner, he said, instructed him on how to move herds of cow into their designated pen. The owner’s method, he shared, would be difficult and time-consuming, thus, he decided to rearrange the plans. Unfortunately, Elder Cook shared, this resulted in the two herds mixing in together. Upset, he said, his owner questioned him why he didn’t follow the plan he was given. “The memory of Mr. Thompson asking me, ‘Why didn’t you follow the plan?’ is a painful memory, but thankfully, I learned some powerful lessons. Even now, 50 years later, I try to do my best to follow a prescribed plan, even if I don’t fully understand all of the details associated with it.” Elder Cook compared his story to following the Lord’s plan for us. “Heavenly Father does have a plan for you. If you follow his plan with all of your heart, he will guide you and he will bless you.” Elder Cook shared another story of a man who refused to follow President Gordon B. Hinckley’s counsel to pay off any debts as soon as possible. As a result, he shared, he found himself regretful of his ignorance when the 2008 recession occurred, causing an economic downfall and anxiety over his family’s financial well-being. Learning from that experience, he said the man promised to “never disregard the prophet’s words again.” Elder Cook encouraged graduates to humble themselves, “enough to put his will above ours,” and advised them to overcome the natural man and submit themselves to the Lord. Heavenly Father guides his people in various ways, through personal revelation, scripture study, patriarchal blessings and heeding the messages of prophets and apostles, said Elder Cook. Quoting President
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Nelson, he said, “‘I know the Lord has great and marvelous plans for us—individually and collectively.’”
An authentic celebration Jed Talactac, an alumnus from the Philippines with a degree in supply chain management and information technology, said he couldn’t describe the joy amidst the festivities. “I feel so overwhelmed…I know the Lord has blessed me. I know that he has a plan for me.” Brigham Martin, a Spring 2021 alumnus of BYUH with a bachelor’s degree in clinical counseling and psychology, said he had the privilege to walk during this semester’s commencement, as he was not able to during the semester he graduated. He said it was a
special occasion and a blessing that everything came “full circle from being online, to being here in person together with our family and friends.” His parents, Beth and Ben Martin, each expressed joy and gratitude to celebrate their son’s success. Beth Martin, a BYUH student insurance supervisor, said she didn’t expect the graduation to be in person. “I’m so happy that I could see him walk for graduation. He’s my only son.” She said it feels like things are going back to normal, and children aren’t being confined to their homes but are able to interact with their peers. Ben Martin, a 1978 alumnus of BYUH, said there is a difference between celebrating
remotely and an authentic celebration where people come together. “It is a real joy to be able to see faces smiling [and shaking hands], embracing one another, putting, all the words that graduation is all about.” • Fall 2021 graduates after graduation ceremony. Left to right: Abbie Putnam, someone else and Brigham Martin. Graphics by Sugarmaa Bataa and Katie Mower. Photos by Munkhbayar Magvandorj and Mark Daeson Tabbilos
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THE MUSICAL LIFE Watching musical movies, auditioning for choirs and joining local competitions was the beginning of these students’ singing journeys BY XYRON LEVI CORPUZ
.T. Stokes, a senior from Freehold, New Jersey, majoring in general music with an emphasis in vocal performance, gave advice to people who want to sing but are not confident enough. According to Stokes, it doesn’t matter if others think a person is a bad singer. He encouraged them to let go of their fears, even though doing so “is easier said than done.” Stokes said he understands why people may be scared to sing because it can involve putting a vulnerable part of themselves out there. However, he said they should focus on doing what makes them happy. “Why be fearful about doing something that’ll make [them] happy?” Student singers who are part of the BYU– Hawaii ohana advised aspiring to learn to play an instrument, to practice often and to sing loudly if that brings them joy.
Musical lover Stokes said he has been singing since he was 6 or 7 years old. When he was very young, he said he loved Disney musical movies and other animated movies that include singing in them, such as “Mulan,” “Cinderella,” “Anastasia” and “Aladdin.” He said he would sing the soundtracks of those movies around the house. When he was 8 years old, Stokes said he began singing in a choir and started voice lessons when he was 14 years old. He explained singing is an outlet he uses to release his emotions, and he loves seeing the 4 0 KE AL A K A‘I 2022
impact it has on the audience. For example, when he played King Triton in a production of “The Little Mermaid,” he said, “There were a lot of kids watching. To see all the smiles on their faces [made it] so rewarding.” Stokes added music tells stories and allows people to “build beautiful relationships.” He explained, “Music brings so much joy to life, and a life without music is a sad life.”
Versatile performer Ralph Mallapre, a senior from Cebu, Philippines, majoring in vocal performance, said when he was young, he disliked singing because he did not like the feeling of being nervous when facing many people. However, he added, he came from a musically oriented family in which all of his nine siblings sing. He said he began singing when he was 5 years old only because his grandmother urged him to join local amateur competitions but decided to take singing seriously when he was 16 years old and he joined a well-known seven-day competition in his province called “Sinulog Idol.” After winning second place, he said a lot of composers asked him to sing their original songs. After the competition, he said was inspired to learn more about singing and eventually become a professional singer. He said his end goal is to be a versatile performer by knowing how to act, dance and sing. “Right now, I’m improving my singing skills. And after I graduate, I might join some theatre company or a company where they
focus on … singing or dancing.”
Finding a friend in music Mitzi Lilian Yañez Lizama, a sophomore from Chile majoring in psychology, said she doesn’t recall at what age she started singing, but she said she has always loved it. When she was around 10 years old, she said she would always record herself singing, go to karaoke and sing covers. She said back then, she idolized a Spanish rapper called Porta because of his song lyrics, which involve important and taboo topics such as eating disorders, abuse and loving oneself. When she joined her school choir at 14 years old, she said she started taking singing seriously. “That was a very important moment for me because I needed to do auditions, and I had never done that before.” To cope with the new experience, she said she would tell herself, “Okay, I’m going to go out of my room, or my ‘cave,’ and show this talent to other people. … I don’t know if this is going to be okay, but I’ll try.” Yañez Lizama said being part of the choir turned out to be a good experience because the choir instructor was good at helping them individually. She said her choir instructor knew each member of the choir’s voices, weaknesses, and strengths because the choir was quite small. They were able to perform in different schools and joined a nationwide competition. The competition was a positive experience, she added, even though they made it to the last
round and then ended up losing.Yañez Lizama added she stayed in the school choir until she graduated high school. The choir, she said, sang both classical and Latin music. “Not Latin from Latino music, [but] Latin from Greek,” she explained. She added she sang the soprano 2 part. Today, she said she is part of the University Chorale at BYUH. For her, music is a friend because she said it will be there for her whole life, giving her comfort through words.
Advice from experienced singers Stokes said people have told him he was born with a good voice, but he said although he was gifted with a nice tone of voice, he practiced a lot to become a good singer. “Hard work pays off,” he explained. Besides practicing singing every day, he said he is always by the piano. “I listened to my repertoire, at least for my voice lessons, constantly and practiced along with it,” he added. Mallapre’s advice for people who want to sing is to be patient. “Being a good singer takes time. It requires a lot of practice.” He added if a person knows how to sing but doesn’t practice, they will not improve. He said he practices almost every day for an hour and a half. Mallapre sings and hums all the time even if he is just walking or on his way to his room. “I really don’t care about what people might think when I sing out loud,” he stated. Yañez Lizama’s tip for aspiring singers is to learn how to play an instrument in addition to singing. She said this will help them to “get familiar with the notes, and provide some necessary “ear training” or aural skills where singers and musicians learn to identify pitches, rhythms, chords, and other music theory concepts by ear.• Graphics by Emily Hendrickson.
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Follow the light ”Follow the Light” by Kristl Densley adapted from the play “Into the Light” by Jennifer Youngblood tells a story of a local Tongan family so impactful it doesn’t need any embellishment
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BY ALEXANDRA CLENDENNING, RAHEL MEYER & ABBIE PUTNAM
elling stories and missionary experiences from the life of Sela Feinga and her family through the play “Follow the Light,” performed on campus with an all-Tongan cast, said her daughter, Carol Feinga, brought their family closer together as well as BYU– Hawaii’s Tongan students and the local community. The play follows the story of a young, struggling Tongan missionary communicating with Sela Feinga through letters. As he expresses the difficulties of being a missionary, she provides him with support and encouragement, even throughout the difficulty of her receiving her own mission call with her husband, Haunga, to a remote island in Tonga when they had a baby. “I have heard the story time and time again,” said Carol Feinga about the faith-promoting experiences of her family. “But it really does make a huge difference to actually watch it. It really evokes a whole new level of appreciation and humility.” She said watching and witnessing her mom’s reactions to the play were very special. While her mom visited with the cast and attended rehearsals, said Carol Feinga, all of a sudden, memories and feelings came back to her mom. “She would be so emotional and cry many times. It took her to another place itself.” Growing up in the United States in Hawaii, Carol Feinga said the play helped her to connect with her culture and her father, who passed away years ago. “Everything was possible because of this faith. Truly, my family is where we are because of my parent’s faith and their sacrifice.”
Helping Tongan students
The Feinga family came to Laie from Tonga, she said. Back in the 1970s and 1980s when they were growing up here, Carol Feinga said her mom and dad would always care for the Tongan students at BYUH. She said they would refer to the students as the “kids.” Watching the play, she said her mom recalled that time. “When she
saw them, it reminded her of her experiences,” Carol Feinga added, and because her mom felt so grateful, she kept planning places to feed the Tongan cast of the play after rehearsals.
A missionary tool
Despite the love Sela Feinga has for the play, she didn’t always like to be in the spotlight, said her daughter with a laugh. “She kept saying, ‘I wish they didn’t do a play about me. Stop rehearsing. Stop the attention’.” But at one point during the play rehearsals, Sela Feinga stood up in front of the students and bore her testimony of these precious moments in her life that included her husband, who passed years ago. Carol Feinga said the renewed feeling of faith and memories of her mission, inspired her mom to call her sister, her family and cousins, who are not members of the Church, and ask them to come see the play. She said her mom wanted people to come because she intended to use the play as a missionary tool. Sela Feinga at one point said, “I hope the spirit would reach the people and maybe [take the attention] away from me,” added Carol Feinga.
Turning hearts to the fathers
There was a time during the play where Sela Feinga said she felt like her husband was there, said her daughter, and the experience brought the whole family together in prayer and fasting. Carol Feinga said her mother’s grandchildren were able to watch the play and feel the spirit. “It was almost like they were watching their grandpa they had never met come alive again. It really connected them on another level.” She said this experience fulfilled the scriptural promise of turning the hearts of the children to the fathers and their fathers to the children.
BYUH Students Elizabeth Tui’one and Lionel Funaki performing in the play. F E B RUA RY 2022 43
She said while no one really said it, she believes the spirit of families was strengthened through the play. She shared two characters in the play based on her brother, Elder Feinga, and her sister, Baby Sina, were not able to come for the play but always Face Timed during practices. She said when the play was performed in the fall, her siblings “were so bummed that they couldn’t be here to watch it in person,” they decided to come home to Hawaii for Christmas. Carol Feinga explained shortly after their visit, her two siblings, and her brother especially, who had been away for more than 10 years with his family, decided they needed to move back to the island and be closer to their mom. Both her brother and her sister were able to get jobs on campus. “Mom has all her children here now. She wants them to spend more time with the Tongan students too.” She shared her mom and dad would always have Tongan students over for dinner and would give them all the support they could. Carol Feinga said her mom wants her children to continue with that legacy. Besides blessing the lives of her family and students, Carol Feinga said the play also had a big impact on the community. She said many Tongan community members attended the performance several times because they 4 4 KE AL A K A‘I 2022
were reminded of “their culture, their homes and who they are.” Several scenes in the play show women coming together and pounding tapa cloth, and Carol Feinga said this reminded people of their culture. “It is a place that allows women to interact with each other and talk stories forever. This is also where a lot of gossip happens,” she said with a laugh.
Origin of the play
When Jennifer Youngblood, a BYUH alumna and USA Today bestselling author, was a student, she lived in the same Laie ward as the Feinga family. While she stayed home sick one Sunday, she said her husband attended a fast and testimony meeting. When he came home, he told her a story their friend Sina Feinga shared. She said when her parents were called on a mission to the remote island of Fotuha’a in Tonga, she was a baby. When they arrived by boat to the island, the water was so rough her parents were forced to throw her to people waiting on the shore to catch her. Youngblood said writing the play “Into the Light” based upon Sela Feinga’s story was an answer to her prayers. The idea to write a play started when Youngblood, her husband and two sons decided to move back to Hawaii in 2008, so she could continue her undergraduate studies at BYUH.
“Attending college as a thirty-somethingyear-old who already had two novels under her belt” was an interesting experience, said Youngblood. She explained for her senior capstone project she wanted to write a play because she was mesmerized after watching a production of the stage play “All My Sons” put on by Craig Ferre, a former BYUH theater and speech professor. “I had my directive, but I had no idea what I should write about. Nothing really stood out to me until my husband … announced, ‘I found your story.’” Intrigued by the story her husband shared with her,Youngblood said she approached Sela Feinga and asked if she could tell her story. Youngblood shared Sela Feinga smiled and said, ‘I’ll think about it, Jenny.’ After several weeks, she said Sela Feinga approached her and said she had gone to the temple and received confirmation Youngblood was the one who was supposed to tell her story. “I was honored … [and] flattered. There are some stories that are great because of the skill of the storyteller. And then there are those rare gems that are great because the stories themselves are so impactful. These stories need no embellishment.”
“Follow the Light”
Years later, BYUH Assistant Professor Kristl Densley worked with Sela Feinga and
Left to right: Ensemble cast performing in the play, Assistant Professor Densley, Elizabeth Tui’one performing, and another cast photo. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos
Being part of this play is a nice reminder, especially being away from home, of what it really is like to be a Tongan.
her family on adapting Youngblood’s play into the version that was performed on campus called “Follow the Light.” Portions of the play were translated into Tongan by Ana Feinga and Nofo Talanoa. In the play, Sela Feinga received the mission call for her and her husband to go to Fotuha’a just a few months after Sina Feinga was born and after they had made great progress on building their dream garden with a white picket fence. Kathy Pulotu, a BYUH institutional research & assessment manager and Sela Feinga’s niece, shared the fences Sela Feinga built in the play were very significant to her and her family. “They lived in a space where she always wanted the white picket fence, and they finally got it. Sela Feinga worked hard to make that happen for them, which showed the pieces of their lives that are constant and not ending, like their faith and everything else they did here.” The play shows although the decision to leave their home and family and take their newborn child to Fotuha’a was difficult, Sela Feinga and her husband received confirmation from God they should serve anyways. Their family and friends were shocked but came to bid them farewell. The Feinga family experienced many trials during their travels to Fotuha’a, including baby Sina Feinga falling ill,
enduring big waves on the boat ride, and having to throw Sina Feinga up to the island. However, the family exhibited great faith in following God’s call to serve. Additionally, shortly after Sela Feinga’s extended family saw them off to Fotuha’a, the very Tongan missionary Sela Feinga had been writing and his companion met her family in Tonga. The play implied these missionaries were able to teach them. Meliana Helu, a junior from Tonga who studies history and education, played one such family member, Aunty Vicky, in the play. She explained how the audience helped her during her performances because they motivated her to be herself. “This play was for the audience, but really it was more of a dedication for our ancestors who paved the way for us and those who will come after us.” Helu explained being Tongan is what makes up who she is and influences everything around her. “Being part of this play is a nice reminder, especially being away from home, of what it really is like to be a Tongan. It was really nice to also have the support of the community.” The message she said she wanted the viewers to take from the performance was the Lord qualifies those he calls. In addition, she said it “literally takes a village to raise a child, and that’s exactly how it was portrayed in the story.” • F E B RUA RY 2022 45
BYUH alumna says she started a car rental business to help students and locals visit and appreciate places on Oahu and better their lives BY NICHOLE WHITELEY
ully Davila, a BYU–Hawaii alumna from Utah, said she started Mahalo Car Share to fill the need in the community for car rentals. Davila was saddened to hear of BYUH students who have never explored the island outside of Laie because, she explained, students can learn to appreciate the unique atmosphere Laie possesses by traveling just one hour away. As a former BYUH student, Davila said she understands trying to do things last minute and wanted to provide opportunities for others to have positive experiences. “I feel like the people [in Laie] sometimes miss out on opportunities because they don’t have the resources to get to those opportunities.” For example, she said, although “a car may not seem life-changing,” it can help people get to their road test, job interview or doctor’s appointment. Mahalo Car Share is a car rental business in Laie owned by Davila and her brother, Alex Davila, who currently lives in Utah. Zully Davila said they cater to BYUH students and members of the surrounding community. While BYUH students rent out their cars, she said Mahalo Car Share differs in that they offer daily and hourly pricing, are reliable and
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are self-serve. In addition, she said, when a person rents from Mahalo Car Share, they are not only helping one family, they are helping five other employees’ families. She said no contact is necessary because when customers rent the car on their website, Mahalo Car Share gives them instructions on where and how to pick up the vehicle. In addition, if the car happens to break down, the company will send a customer service representative with a backup car as soon as possible.
Seeing a need and filling it Mahalo Car Share’s mission statement states as the company helps the community by serving them as if they are family, and they provide “car rental services with kuleana (Hawaiian for responsibility).” Zully Davila said Mahalo Car Share has not only benefited the Laie community by providing them with a way to take advantage of opportunities, but has also provided jobs. She said it can be hard to find employment in Laie so one of her main goals was to fill this need for a town she loves. Alex Davila said they worked hard to gain the trust of the local community by creating
jobs and showing they are dependable and there to serve. Zully Davila said she loves Mahalo Car Share because she knows it isn’t a selfish business. “It [Mahalo Car Share] serves its purpose all around. I am excited to see the future of it because I very much see it growing [to] hopefully provide jobs for more people here in the community.” Tyrone Brown, a senior from Kahuku majoring in psychology and social work, said Mahalo Car Share helped him find love. Two years ago, he said he went on his first date with his now-girlfriend. “Without [Mahalo Car Share], I wouldn’t have gone on that first date.” When his parents unexpectedly visited Hawaii, Brown said, Mahalo Car Share was a blessing because they could rent a car last minute. He said one of the ways Mahalo Car Share benefits the community is by not catering to the effects of tourism that would make the rental service more expensive.
Challenges of being a woman entrepreneur Zully Davila said leaving her many previous jobs to focus on Mahalo Car Share was a huge step. “I went full-on, 100 percent
into it. It’s been very hard … but very rewarding.” As a woman entrepreneur, she said, she is often not taken seriously in the business world–especially in the car industry. She said people speculate if she knows what she is doing because she is a woman. Despite this, Zully Davila said, “I’ve been able to build great relationships with a lot of resources for products, cleaning supplies and maintenance.” She expressed gratitude for those who have helped her and is confident in her ability to run the business. She said her brother doubles as her business partner and mentor. She said she is grateful for his expertise to help her navigate those areas she doesn’t yet know. “It’s hard, but if [I] don’t show up, who’s going to show up? [I] just have to do it. … If [I] want something, [I] just have to do it.” Zully Davila expressed how much the community’s support means to her because
her business is local and she wants it to be long-term. She added she is grateful for those who have rented a car, given referrals or spread the word about Mahalo Car Share.
Symbolism behind their color choice: Purple Zully Davila said the Mahalo Car Share company is represented by purple “not just because it’s girly and the business is owned by a woman” but because the color means victory, was Queen Lili‘uokalani’s favorite color and is one of the royal colors of Hawaii. In addition, she said the color comes from an insight she and her brother learned while attending a workshop. “We learned purple is the highest color in the rainbow closest to heavens. It’s considered a very rich, heavenly color. That is where it resonates with us.” She said the final reason they chose purple is the root of a taro plant is purple. She said
baby taro plants are called ohas, and when there are many of them together, they are called ohana. “There is the symbolism. We want to treat our customers as if they were family.” Zully Davila said customers can reserve a car through mahalocarshare.com or on Facebook or Instagram @mahalocarshare. • Pictures of Zully Davila, the BYUH alumna who runs Mahalo Car Share, and some of the cars her company offers. Photos provided by Zully Davila. Graphics by Marlee Palmer.
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Taking care of BYUH’S
MENTAL health NEEDS
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As the number of students seeking help from BYUH’s Counseling Services rises, Counseling Services professional Steve Smith says building a strong community can help overall mental health issues BY KYLEE DENISON & NICHOLE WHITELEY
ierra Allred, a junior from Oregon majoring in peacebuilding, said she was going through a difficult period in her mental health in September of 2021, and she felt the need to turn to BYU–Hawaii’s Counseling Services for help. She said when she went into the counseling center, they handed her a form to fill out that would determine her levels of needs. “Everyone is worthy and deserving of the resources it takes and the time it takes to heal their heart and help resolve their mental health issues,” said Allred. Sister Carol Skinner, a counselor at BYUH Counseling Services, who worked as a licensed psychologist for 20 years before serving her mission here, said she helped develop this new system for the counseling center intake form to ensure the students with the most urgent care are prioritized. She said the first layer is anyone in an emergency, who will be seen within 24 hours. She said an emergency is defined as “current suicidality with intent.” The next layer is for students with urgent needs and is defined as people who have had a past history of suicidality but nothing current, Skinner explained. They are seen within seven days. The third layer is general problems, and she said, the fourth layer is a peer mentor to help with generic issues if the students are willing to see them. Allred said when she went into the counseling center, she was not in crisis, so they could not get her an appointment for two months. “I have experienced depression in the past, and when you’re in that space and you feel like you can’t get help, it’s a very hopeless feeling.” She said although in her situation she found ways to cope without the counselors,
“it was definitely discouraging because if you want to talk to someone, you should have that.” She said if she were contemplating suicide or dealing with depression and still had to wait one to two months, “It would be scary.” Skinner explained, “It is important for the students to understand that if they are in crisis, we will see them. ... We will make space for all the students.” She encouraged students to just walk into the counseling center if they are in crisis because they will make sure they get you in.
An increasing demand In mid-November 2021, Counseling and Disability Services at BYUH had an evaluation, in which they brought an outside reviewer named Steve Smith. Smith was part of the BYU in Provo counseling center for 30 years as a training director in the counseling psychology department and served in administration for the counseling center and as director of the counseling center. When asked if the wait time Allred had experienced was common among other universities, Smith said it was not uncommon to have a waiting period of six weeks. He said the wait time to get in the counseling center at BYU in Provo for those who with non-crisis cases is five and a half to six weeks as well. “The demand has risen everywhere in the country. ...Without enrollment increasing, the number of students asking for help is going up. And that is happening in every counseling center I know of in the country.” He said this trend is not new to post COVID-19 university life. In the first year of his directing the counseling center at BYU in 2011, Smith said, the counseling center served about 3,500 individuals in a calendar year, and in his last
year as director in 2021, he said they helped 6,000 in a calendar year. At BYUH, the numbers have also increased between 2020 and 2021 according to Skinner. She said Dr. Eric Orr, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Sciences and a member of BYUH’s Counseling Services, told her they had 10 hospitalizations in the Fall 2021 Semester. Normally they only have one or two hospitalizations in an entire academic year, Orr said. Skinner said the intake form system they created is working to combat these increasing numbers, even with their lack of counselors available for the students. “The four-tier system really helps us identify people with the greatest need, and so far, fingers crossed, it’s working. I still fear that we could miss somebody. I pray every day, let there be space for people who need it. Our students are really, really suffering.” Smith said no one really knows why the numbers have increased, but he believes it is partly due to the decrease of stigma for those who seek counseling. Gen Z especially, “are more willing to seek help,” said Smith. Allred said although many of this new generation of students are willing to seek help, the shortage of space available for students has opened the door for guilt. She said when she did go in after two months of making the appointment, she felt guilty because, “I know there’s a lot of other students who need help a lot more than I do.” She said her friends have also expressed this concern where they make an appointment when they feel they need it, but when they finally get in, they feel guilty because they have worked through what they were struggling with, Allred shared. “I don’t think [a student] will seek out help if they feel like F E B RUA RY 2022 49
their situation is not as bad as someone else’s,” explained Allred.
Emotional drain Smith, along with Student Life Vice President Jonathan Kau, acknowledge BYUH’s Counseling Services employees hard work to help as many people as they are able. Allred expressed her gratitude for how mental health services have helped her in the past. She said she didn’t have access to mental health services when she was struggling in high school, but she was able to receive help during her mission. She said the changes she saw after getting help were “like night and day. Because if you feel like you don’t have a place to turn or people to listen, and it feels like no one cares and you are very alone and very hopeless.” “After you get the help and the resources that you need, … it’s like a weight has been lifted.” Due to the lack of counselors, Skinner said, her job can be very draining and she often works longer than she is supposed to because she wants to reach as many students as possible. “The emotional drain affects me physically.” She said not only would more counselors allow more students to be helped, but also it would increase the quality of the help students receive because the counselors would not be as mentally, physically and emotionally stretched. She said there is a gear shift that has to take place in the counselors’ heads as they go from one client to the next, and that becomes more difficult the busier they are. Smith said, “This university... [is] working hard to get people in as quickly as possible... Right now they are keeping their heads above water, but they are having to swim pretty quickly to do that.” Kau said, “I commend the Counseling Services team for all they are doing to meet the needs of students.” While Kau and Smith acknowledged the hard work the counselors do and the struggles with a lack of counselors, Kau said, “There are limits to what the university can provide.” It is not a simple matter of just hiring more counselors to keep up with such an unprecedented increase … we need to look at this and see what is reasonable and what is needed.” 5 0 KE AL A K A‘I 2022
Responsibility Kau said while he wants to help keep students in the classroom and help them as much as possible, it is not the sole role of the university to provide all counseling and medical services students may need. “We cannot provide all [the] resources. We will do what we can to help students succeed, but students may also have to find their own additional support. They have a medical benefit. They have access to Counseling Services. But there are limits, unfortunately.” Smith agreed with Kau. “You can’t add enough counselors ultimately to stem the tide and meet the demand.” As director of the BYU in Provo counseling center, Smith was also part of the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors, with more than 600 college counseling center directors who agreed with that same conclusion, said Smith. Skinner agreed that at most universities this is the case: students should not rely solely on the university to provide mental health care. However, she added, “There’s not enough mental health services in this area that our students can easily access.” Skinner said due to BYUH’s large number of international students, students without cars and the lack of mental health resources nearby, the situation at BYUH is more difficult than other universities where students can more easily turn to mental health care outside of the university. Because of this, she said, the responsibility of the students’ mental health care falls back on the university. Smith explained part of the responsibility of this problem may be to add a counselor, but another aspect is trying to address what the particular mental health issues are on a certain campus. This is done through effective outreach called primary prevention, he said, which includes QPR training, suicide prevention, stress management, etc. According to the Suicide Prevention Research Center, QPR training stands for “question, persuade, and refer” and is a suicide prevention training designed to teach the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond. “Does the university have a responsibility to provide for the comprehensive mental health of every student that comes? I don’t think so. I think their responsibility is to provide for dealing with those issues that get in the way
[of their studies] and helping an individual deal with them. “And if a person’s struggles are so great, then they may need to take some time away from the university,” said Smith. Smith said he admires his colleagues at BYUH who are trying to find that balance. Allred said the amount of time it took to resolve her situation would not have changed meeting with a counselor because, “For me, I feel empowered with a lot of tools to help get myself out of dark places because I have been there in the past and I have gone through counseling and therapy so I have been given the tools.” However, she said, she felt that it would’ve been more helpful if she could have talked to someone closer to the moment that was causing her distress. “I think the role of the counselors is: if you don’t have those tools, they’re going to give you those tools. But they’re also going to keep you accountable and help you practice them so you are more prepared in the long term.”
Building community Smith’s advice to students on how they can individually help is to get the QPR training and to have an “awareness of persons who struggle, a willingness to sit and talk, a willingness to engage ... “Building community is one of the most important things you can do,” continued Smith. BYU campuses have a big advantage because of built-in communities, he said. Participation in church events helps build that community where they can then invite others to come, said Smith. Allred said during those two months she was waiting for help from Counseling Services, she found other resources on campus that helped her cope with her struggles. One of the places that she said she found a community was the yoga classes held several times a week on campus. “I think the yoga class is great. It’s very grounding. … Everyone in that space is very welcoming.” She said there are many places around campus or clubs students can join that can help them through hard times. Smith said, “If someone is struggling or is suicidal, is it your job to make sure they are okay? It absolutely is not. But can you be part of the solution by building a strong community.” • Scan the QR code above to find more resources on suicide prevention. Graphics by Marlee Palmer.
you can be part of the solution by building a strong community. STEVE SMITH
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