On Friday, Oct. 27, the Black Student Union (BSU) and the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) collaborated on a Hawaiian Luau event that was held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the Residential Quad. The event served as a space to unite students in a new, exciting environment that implemented Hawaiian festivities.
BSU President and music industry student Asad Whitehead said, “We wanted the vibe to feel as authentic to the theme as possible; from Playa Bowls to the fire dancer, we wanted [the] aspect of the event to give off that tropical island vibe.” He emphasized the importance of student inclusion and amusement.
The Hawaiian Luau event had a variety of activities for students to choose from. They had a Playa Bowl making station that consisted of a choice between acai and coconut base and different fruits to pick from like grapes, pineapples, strawberries, cantaloupes, and honeydew. Granola, honey, Nutella, and peanut butter were also available as additional toppings. There were also firepits with supplies for those who wanted to make smores. Collectables such as reusable pineapple cups and colorful leis to take home were also given out for students.
Lively Hawaiian music played and a breathtaking performance was given by a fire dancer who incorporated powerful and elegant moves into her dance. Students were astounded by the new experience and were even given the opportunity to participate in learning a new Hawaiian dance sequence with the dancer. Joy filled the safe space as some also took part in the limbo dancing, while others played games like corn hole and beach ball toss.
Jessica Taylor, a graphic design student, shared her experience on the event as a recent transfer student. “[Transferring schools] tends to be harder to make friends as a transfer student, and this was a great opportunity to socialize with other students and make connections.”
In preparation for the event, BSU had kicked off the week with other interactive events such as their Classroom Concert and Family Feud night. These gave students a break from their busy schedules and allowed them to have a few hours of fun with each other. The club impressively held three back-to-back events to prepare for their Hawaiian Luau.
The effort that went into getting the event together was recognized by its turnout. Many students came by and checked it out, engaging with the activities and people who were involved. An atmosphere was made where students felt comfortable in taking part of something new on campus.
NCNW President and communication student Dae’Sani Clarke said, “We wanted to bring the community together, especially as black affiliated clubs at a PWI.” Clarke continued, “By having a different event like this, it helps us unify and make all students feel more included and accepted.”
Kathy Dabney, Campus Life Assistant, expressed how elated she was in helping coordinate the Hawaiian Luau event. She said,“It was something I have never seen on campus. It was a very different event, and it was exciting to have a fire dancer. The feedback I heard from students indicated that they enjoyed the program and had a great time.” Because of this successful and engaging event, Dabney looks forward to helping them plan more fun-filled events.
Taylor commented, “I would love to go to another event like this as I was able to immediately connect with other students in this environment as it was more casual and laid back as opposed to trying to make friends in classes.”
Holding the Hawaiian Luau event opens opportunities and inspiration for future events. Whitehead included engaging ideas that he, BSU, and NCNW are already thinking about in advance. “I wish we had gotten some animals involved, maybe even some DIY arts and craft related to the theme. Things that will make it more interactive and interesting,” he concluded.