Campus Celebrity: Jon Kaneshiro

Meet this week's campus celebrity Jon Kanishero, known as Jon-Jon by his friends, who is a junior engineering major at LMU. We sat down with this Hawaii native to talk about his adjustment to LA, what it's like to be in a service organization on campus, and a unique hobby he likes to do in the ocean (hint: it's not surfing).

What are you involved in on campus?

I’m a member of the Crimson Circle, a service organization on campus, and am involved with Engineers without Borders.  I’m also doing research when I’m not in class.
What's it like to be in a service organization at LMU? Do you think service orgs have a large representation at LMU?
A service organization, especially at LMU, is extremely rewarding and humbling.  As a member of Crimson Circle, it makes me very proud to say who I am and what I do.  I wasn’t exposed to service in high school and I wasn’t really involved within my community.  However, now that I’m doing service, I have found a new way to look at the world. I’m so fortunate to have found people who share that same perspective.  The service community is very large and prevalent within LMU.  It’s amazing to see how many dedicated people there are on campus.  Although it may not be the forefront or selling point of LMU, it definitely shines bright and will continue to do so for a very, very long time.
Where do you volunteer and how has it impacted you?
On a weekly basis, we typically have a large amount of members carpool to our main placement, Urban Compass in Watts.  There, we play with kids from ages 6-12 and then do some sort arts and crafts.  For instance, last week, we made some gooey glue balls and a paper hat.  It’s a really rad time and we really create awesome bonds with the kids.  It’s especially hard to leave for the summer!  Urban Compass has made me realize how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful school surrounded by beautiful people.  I couldn’t ask for anything more or less.  Service has an intrinsic value within it, and it has helped me improve the lives of others as well as myself.  When we aren’t at Urban Compass, we’re tutoring at St. Cs, volunteering at the Buddy Walk in Pasadena, helping out around school, or supporting the Blood Drive at LMU.
Why do you think a lot more people try to get involved in Greek life rather  than service orgs at LMU? Do you see any overlap?
I live with four members of Greek life and am happy to say that they are my best friends here.  In the end, whether someone is in Greek life or in a Service Organization, we are all the same.  It’s really sad when someone defines someone else just by his or her affiliation.  I think people get more involved with Greek Life because of the social aspect and the larger group settings, however I don’t see anything wrong with it.  People, specifically freshmen, aren’t really exposed to the service community because it is kind of a unique feature at LMU.  Therefore, it may be hard to access information if they wanted it.  There are a few people that I know of who are involved in both, I think it mainly has to do with time commitment and involvement since both are demanding relative to our schoolwork.
What's it like being from Hawaii? Was it a big culture shock moving to LA?
Hawaii is a pretty cool place.  I grew up surfing and eventually got into spearfishing, where I found my passion.   I love the ocean and spend most of the sunlight outdoors exploring.  Coming to LA isn’t much different, just the fact that the beaches are a little colder and dirtier, and that I pretty much only study.  It was a huge culture shock for me freshmen year and I got really antsy around finals when breaks were approaching.  People still make fun of the way I say some words or like to reference terms that I say, but for the most part, I’m used to the mainland life.