CORRECTION-In the November 9 issue of the Pacific Index, a story about the Nā Haumāna O Hawai‘I (NHOH) club with the headline “NHOH advisor and president comment on club successes, and efforts to make Pacific a home” reported incorrect information.
The article reported “all are welcome to attend” the NHOH Thanksgiving luncheon scheduled at 11:00 a.m. on November 23. However, the luncheon is only open to NHOH club members.-CORRECTION
Each year at Pacific University the Nā Haumāna O Hawai‘I (NHOH) Club invites students, faculty and staff, to join the “Ohana” family and experience Hawaiian culture on campus.
“The club is open to everyone,” senior Haley Kodama, NHOH president said. “Our main goal is to teach others about Hawaiian culture and practices, but more importantly, to spread that Aloha spirit we all bring with us from Hawaii.”
NHOH, which was originally founded in 1959 with just 16 students, now serves over 200 club members each year. And plays an integral role in helping incoming students from Hawaii acclimate to Pacific life in Forest Grove. One way in which NHOH helps ease the transition into college for incoming students from the state of Hawaii is through the Peer Mentorship program, which pairs freshman with upperclassmen who have also made the trip to Pacific from Hawaii.
“Our Peer Mentorship program has been going on for a very long time,” Edna Gehring, NHOH advisor and director of Hawaii outreach and programming said. “It’s a way for students to get adjusted and to have someone to call when they have a question or concern.”
According to Gehring, NHOH might also soon adopt a Peer Mentorship program for academic advising and registration help, after a pilot run this year proved successful. In addition to the Peer Mentorship program, NHOH club members also play a large role in helping run and organize events during Oregon orientation for Hawaiian students.
“We do a thing called ‘Passport’ which takes students to all of these different places and businesses in Forest Grove,” Kodama said. “We want them to learn the area and become comfortable with it, because it’s such a new place.”
According to Kodama, NHOH regularly offers weekend trip options for club members designed to get students out of Forest Grove and exploring Oregon. Kodama said the weekend programming trips play a large role in helping build the NHOH family and getting students’ minds off of home.
“By being able to get them out of Forest Grove and seeing Portland, falling in love with Portland, we will hopefully lower the risk of homesickness,” Kodama said. “And that’s what these programs are really for.”
Helping students fight off homesickness is a constant effort for NHOH, especially when the holidays start to get closer. Though many students from Hawaii, and other states, are unable to return home for Thanksgiving, NHOH does it best to make Pacific a makeshift home for the students stuck on campus in November by hosting a Thanksgiving dinner in the University Center each year.
“We have a Thanksgiving luncheon that we go six or seven turkeys big on, and we open it up to everyone as a way of giving back,” Kodama said. “It’s a way for us to feed all of the kids and make sure that during one of the most pivotal holidays in the season they have a family they can come to.”
The Thanksgiving luncheon will start at 11:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and all are welcome to attend. NHOH will also host a Black Friday shopping trip that night for club members. Kodama said she is pleased with the progress of the NHOH Club this semester, and happy to have an NHOH representative on the Undergraduate Student Senate this year.
“I think it’s been huge for us, being able to voice our opinions,” Kodama said. “Our representative has done a terrific job of voicing who we are and advocating for us as a group.”
According to Gehring, Hawaiian students at Pacific make up about 22 percent of the undergraduate population and also have one of the highest retention rates on campus. Both Gehring and Kodama attribute this high retention rate to the programming NHOH offers. A $40 membership fee is required to join NHOH and club membership forms can be found at the NHOH office in Clark Hall 218.
“We’re not all Hawaiian students, we’re open to everyone,” Kodama said. “We want to be able to reach out to everyone to get to know us and to learn our culture and become a part of the family. A huge part of our culture is that we are always willing to accept anyone.”