College is meant to be a time of trying new things, putting yourself out there, and broadening your knowledge and worldview. As students at UH Mānoa, we are lucky enough to go to school in a location that I would argue is more unique than anywhere else in the US. Hawaii offers gorgeous scenery and has a multitude of different cultures, including a rich Hawaiian culture that shaped the islands into the place we know them as today. Whether you’ve lived in Hawaii your whole life, or came to the island for college, try out these three things before you graduate for a full college experience.
- Attend a volleyball game
UH Mānoa’s men’s volleyball team is ranked number one in the nation, which makes for exciting games and fun school pride. One of my favorite memories of college pre-COVID was attending a volleyball game. It was a tight match and the energy in the stadium was intense but lively. Of course, this idea isn’t just limited to men’s volleyball. Show your support for the women’s volleyball games, or attend other sporting events, too.
- Volunteer at the Ka Papa Lo‘i o Kānewai
Another fun way to get involved at UH and learn about the Hawaiian culture is by volunteering at a lo‘i (taro patch). Native Hawaiians cultivate kalo (taro in English) through intricate irrigation systems and patches. Volunteering typically lasts for four hours in which volunteers learn about how the lo‘i is cared for, the history surrounding kalo, and more. It is an immersive and outdoorsy way to learn a bit more about Hawaiian culture while giving back to the community.
- Take a Hawaiian history class/’ōlelo Hawaii class (or two, or three…)
Especially if you are not from Hawaii or Hawaiian, I highly recommend taking a Hawaiian history class or Hawaiian language class. The Hawai’inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge offers a multitude of classes about the history of Hawaii, Hawaiian culture, and more. Even other colleges offer some classes with a Hawaiian focus, such as the college of Natural Sciences. Educating yourself about the history and colonization of Hawaii is so important, and for people not from here it is crucial to know and respect the native culture of Hawaii. Not to mention, the classes are incredibly interesting.
Enrich your college experience, show some school spirit, and learn more about Hawaii by getting involved and trying something new!