Pacific Club’s Lūʻau showcases diverse cultures at CSU

Nate Day

hula dancers on stage
NoCo Hula performs their second dance, Na Uwe O Na Manu, at the Pacific Club’s annual Lu’au held in the Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom on April 28th, 2018 (Mackenzie Pinn | Collegian)

CSU’s Pacific Club is encouraging people to “live Aloha.”

For the first time in three years, Colorado State University’s Pacific Club was able to put on a lūʻau, a traditional Hawaiian party. However, Hawaiian culture wasn’t the only culture honored at the event, but also Samoan, Chamorro and many more.

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Just having all the community come together and actually supporting us throughout this was an absolute blessing.” -Joaquin Leon Guerrero, CSU student

The Pacific Club put on the event in light of recent bias-motivated incidents, according to Annie Williamson, a computer science student and member of the Pacific Club. Williamson said her club “felt it would be the ideal time to host a lūʻau that emphasizes unity, togetherness, and living Aloha.”

“Living Aloha” was the theme of this year’s event. According to the event’s program, “living aloha means showing respect, love and kindness toward all cultures, backgrounds and beliefs.”

“Today, we are celebrating all Polynesian cultures,” said KaMele Sanchez, a senior studying ecosystem sciences and sustainability, and one of the evening’s other emcee. “I think that’s really important to do because we’re all so far away and landlocked.”

In traditional lūʻau fashion, a buffet of food was served, consisting of kalua pork, chicken long rice and haupie, a coconut milk-based dessert.

The event also included traditional hula dancing performed by dancers from the Nothern Colorado Hula Studio. They performed 10 dances with origins from several different Polynesian islands including Hawai’i, Maui, and Tahiti, and taught several audience members how to hula dance as well.

audience sitting at table watching hula dancers
Attendees of the Pacific Club’s annual Lu’au watch NoCo Hula perform their first dance, He Inoa Nou E Kapili, in the Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom on April 28th, 2018 (Mackenzie Pinn | Collegian)

The dances were often in tribute to flowers, wildlife and historical figures such as past monarchs of Hawaii.

The evening also included a silent auction, in which guests bid on traditional Polynesian snacks, clothing and other goodies, with all proceeds going to the Pacific Club’s budget for next year’s lūʻau.

“An event like this was just absolutely breathtaking,” said Jouquin Leon Guerrero, a sophomore animal science student, and the second emcee. “Just having all the community come together and actually supporting us throughout this was an absolute blessing.”

The event sold out, according to Williamson, meaning that 450 people were in attendance. Among those present were community members Tiffany Karschamroon and her young son, Max. The two were there to see Max’s grandmother perform hula dancing, but Max also noted that he was “excited for everything.”

Max’s grandmother has been dancing for close to 10 years according to Karshcamaroon, but some of the other dancers that performed had been dancing for only about six months.

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The event was put on in conjunction with RamEvents and was featured as part of Asian Pacific Islander and Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month. A list of the remaining events for APIDA Heritage Month can be found on the Website of the Asian/Pacific American Cultural Center’s website.

Collegian reporter Nate Day can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com and on Twitter @NateMDay.