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CMU student club hosts annual Hawaii welcome weekend

In July 2019, the CMU Ho’olokahi Polynesian Alliance received statewide attention for their unique and special nature as one of CMU’s largest and longest standing cultural education organizations. This month, as part of an ongoing series of university welcome events, the club collaborated with CMU Student Services to welcome and celebrate Hawaiian students and their families as they arrived for the fall semester.

“CMU is a long way from home for our Hawaiian students and their families,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “Our team works hard with staff and the CMU Alumni Association to ensure the initial experience here at CMU is welcoming, exciting and educational.”

The 2019 event hosted ten Hawaiian students and their families. In addition to showcasing the CMU community, the event also helped familiarize students with the extended community of Grand Junction, Colorado, with a tour of the valley. The tour included a visit to the Grand Valley’s fruit growing region of Palisade, Colorado.

CMU Vice President for Student Services John Marshall attended the event and spoke to families — welcoming them and highlighting what they might expect during their visit.

“The fact that we see such consistent parent participation in this event each year is a testament to just how rich and long-standing the relationship is that binds CMU to the Aloha State,” said Marshall. “Being a part of the welcome weekend allows us to reassure parents that their students from the islands are in good hands here in the high country of western Colorado.”

CMU Vice President John Marshall and Ku'umakanaaloha Tavita

CMU VP John Marshall & Ku'umakanaaloha Tavita

Alumni Association Director Jared Meier organized the welcome event and helped coordinate logistics with Breanne Meier, who is his spouse, CMU alumnus and director of the University Center. Jared believes the welcome event is important because it demonstrates to students that CMU values the partnership between CMU and Hawaii.

“The CMU Alumni Association is tasked with building communities between people who share CMU as common ground,” said Meier. “For students this event is the beginning of an education journey where the desire to learn is stronger than the long distance that separates Hawaii and western Colorado.”

CMU student leader and club member Beau Flores was recently featured in Colorado Matters, a statewide production of Colorado Public Radio News. The production highlighted the CMU/Hawaii connection and also included local elected official and Hawaiian alumnus Phil Pe'a. Pe'a attended CMU from Hawaii more than three decades ago and remains involved in the Ho'olokahi Polynesian Alliance today. 

Community members interested in learning how they can support the university’s Ho”olokahi Polynesian Alliance are encouraged to contact HPA President Ali Abding.

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Written by David Ludlam