Student government leaders hone skills

ASUH-WCC members and staff volunteers gathered at the Ho‘opili Hou conference on Kaua‘i – Andrew Simeona
ASUH-WCC members and staff volunteers gathered at the Ho‘opili Hou conference on Kaua‘i – Andrew Simeona

On January 31, 16 members of the Associated Students of the University of Hawai‘i-Windward Community College (ASUH-WCC) traveled to Kaua‘i with peer mentors and WCC student counselor Kaahu Alo to join student government leaders from across the islands at the Ho’opili Hou conference.

The three-day conference, whose theme was “think as one, move as one,” aimed to teach values of leadership and initiative.

The conference kicked off at Kaua‘i Museum, where John Constantino of Kaua‘i Community College welcomed more than 100 students and staff in attendance. Museum board of trustees president Maryanne Kusaka spoke to the group about the museum’s theme, “Polynesian navigational voyage,” as well as its Hawaiian artifacts.

“Kaua‘i is my favorite island,” said ASUH-WCC member corresponding secretary Andrew Simeona. “I went to the museum and saw and learned about so much history in Kaua‘i. I thought I knew Hawaiian history, but I always keep learning.”

On the second day, ASUH-WCC members went to Waipa for the Waipa Loe’e challenge, where students learned to work together as a team to accomplish and do anything.

ASUH-WCC senator Ronald Vacca-Farley said, “We are all the same intelligent, and innovative species, and yet we are not born with the natural ability of working together.”

At the challenge, pairs of students had to climb a giant tree. One student climbed, while the other held a rope on the ground. The obstacle required the students to communicate and trust one another.

The final day took place on Kaua‘i Community Collegeʻs campus, where various workshops and lectures that trained students in communication, teamwork and trust-building were offered.

Vacca-Farley said he learned so much about teamwork.

“We must realize that coming together as one is a start, keeping together is progress, and working together is success. Thus this explains that a great team is the difference between success and failure,” he said.

ASUH-WCC members are currently working with Chancellor Doug Dykstra and staff on campus issues that matter to students. Last month, they surveyed students near the library about campus parking for motorcycles and a farmers’ market for WCC.

by Zachary Rupp-Smith, Ka‘Ohana Co-Editor in Chief