Say aloha to the Hawai’i Club’s Hō’ike

After two years of not hosting their annual Hō’ike, the Hawaiian Club is back with a flair

CAROLYN MCCAMPBELL, Evergreen columnist

Sunday, the Kaiāulu ‘I’imi Hawai’i (Hawai’i Club) at WSU hosted their 37th annual Hō’ike for Family Weekend. This event provided photo opportunities, a small shopping area, dances, raffle prizes and food.

After two years of not being able to host their event, the club was eager to make this Hō’ike the best it could be.

The club name means that they task themselves and their members with rediscovering a greater connection to Hawai’i, according to their event program.

“We’ve been planning [for the event] since the beginning of last semester,” said Isabell Stowers, freshman Hō’ike co-chair. “We started [practicing the dances] the first week of January, so when we got back to school, and we’ve been practicing three times a week since then.”

The event started with the blowing of the Pū, or a Hawaiian conch shell. This is a significant part of Hawaiian culture and is sometimes used for special opening and closing ceremonies, according to

“Our mission is to foster an environment of community building and cultural education for those from Hawai’i or individuals within the Washington State and Pullman community who are interested in Hawaiian culture,” according to the club’s pamphlet.

The club’s theme for this year was Kū I Ka Lōkahi, which in English means “to stand in unity.”

“After COVID and everything, we just want to bring everybody together and share our culture and be able to connect with one another,” said Jeizel Bucasas, junior biochemistry major and president of the Hawai’i club.

The dances portrayed seven of the main islands, also known as moku in Hawaiian. These included Hawai’i (also known as the Big Island), Maui, Moloka’i, Lāna’i, O’ahu, Kaua’i and Ni’ihau.

Solo dances featured Daeja Vinoray, junior pre-pharmacy major and cultural chair, and Kasey Loo, senior co-Hō’ike chair. Loo and Vinoray have been dancing Hula for 10 and 15 years, respectively.

Jovannie Laforga, graduate architecture student, and Laura Garcia-Gutierrez, senior biology major, attended this event. Laforga is a former member of the club. She said that she performed for past Ho’ike’s, but she decided to take a break to see what it is like on the other end.

“She is from Hawai’i, so this is a little bit of her background,” Garcia-Gutierrez said about Laforga. “What they wear, how they perform, how they present themselves, for me [it’s] really nice to get a little piece of where she’s from and where a lot of my best friends are from. It was just really beautiful all around.”

Sharing what Hawaiian culture is all about was essential to the Hawai’i club this year. After the event ended with the blowing of the Pū, many got up for more food, photo opportunities and to talk to their loved ones.

“My favorite part of today was probably just being together with everyone and dancing and showing everyone what we’ve been practicing for,” Stowers said. “My favorite part of Hawaiian culture, [from growing up in Hawai’i] is just the community. Being so far away, you don’t have that as much. So I’m glad today we could show everyone where we come from and what we do back home.”

April is WSU’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month; other clubs’ events provide a great way to get involved with different cultures.

Join the Filipino American Student Association for Perya, Filipino Cultural Night, Sunday for food, dancing and a carnival.

The Indian Student Association is also hosting their India Night on April 17 in the Compton Union Building senior ballroom at 6 p.m.

If you are interested in more from the Kaiāulu ‘I’imi Hawai’i Club, they host their general meetings on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. For more details, see their Instagram.