Dobet Gnahoré has garnered a reputation as one of the most vibrant performers in world music through voice, dance and charisma.
University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu is enjoying its new campus. Opened in fall 2012, the school already has an important tradition—West Fest.
“It is a celebration of all good and great things here at the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu,” said UH West Oʻahu Student Life Coordinator Rouel Velasco. “It is a showcase of our students, our student clubs and what they offer the community.”
One of the main goals of the student organized, annual spring semester event is to promote community service. For instance, the popular instructor dunk booth is a fundraiser for the Hawaiʻi Food Bank.
“If you bring in three cans of food, then you get three tosses to try to dunk your favorite, or maybe your least favorite instructor,” said student Elton Stephenson with smile.
This year, West Fest included food booths, a clothing sale, balloon animals, airbrush body painting, caricature drawing, games like musical chairs dance off, entertainment and lots of fun.
“This is important for students because it kind of gives a sense of belonging to campus,” said student Laura McDowell. “It is stimulating campus life.”
It’s a campus life that the students are very proud of and say they are fortunate to have. West Oʻahu features brand new facilities, small class sizes and committed instructors.
“You would think that at a public university, you would just be another face in the crowd full of lecturers and stuff like that, its not like that here at all,” said student Rebecca Carino. “They make you feel at home.”
“Nice and small and cohesive where students can connect more one and one, connect with the faculty more, and develop relationships,” said Velasco.
“It is really a tight knit community and everybody knows one another and we all have a place on campus,” said student Julian Torres.
“The professors know you, the office knows you the staff knows you,” Carino.
West Fest is also a chance for students to expand their campus life experience by meeting members of the school’s different clubs and organizations.
“The opportunities on this campus are really limitless and this is really just the beginning of it,” said Torres. “What we can do together is really great.”
West Fest also serves as an important reminder—after decades of dreaming, lobbying and planning, West Oʻahu has its own campus.
“And it is about time that we have a presence in this community, serving this area,” said Velasco