BYU-Hawaii students connect with local community during service day

Written by: 
Stephanie Soto

Student associations came together on Ho’omana Day, Sept. 17, to perform community service for local organizations. Participating students, faculty and service missionaries were split into three service project locations: a beach cleanup at the James Campbell Wildlife Reserve; painting Kahuku High School’s sports areas; and discussing emergency preparedness in Hauʻula.

Auburn Bertuccin, a freshman studying international cultural studies from California, attended Ho‘omana Day as part of the Music Club. Bertuccin enjoyed meeting the high school students as she helped paint the concession stands at Kahuku High School. “It was a lot of fun… we were able to meet [the students] and put a face to the service we were doing,” said Bertuccin. Her favorite part of the service was painting the floor of the concession stand. “It was just kind of peaceful,” she said.

Bertuccin also enjoyed playing capture the flag while waiting for the bus. “It really was a bonding experience… even though I know none of the people here, I felt that we all became closer, and I can go up and say hi to them,” she stated.

“Just being able to do service with other like-minded people… really brings the spirit,” Bertuccin continued. “We are hanging out together and encouraging each other.”

The service project was Bertuccin’s first time volunteering in an official project with BYUH. “It was cool to see everyone really put in all their efforts and all of their time and energy towards helping other people,” concluded Bertuccin.

Hannah Marlowe, a freshman from Idaho studying biomedical sciences who is also part of the presidency of the Healthcare Professionals Club, said, “I liked getting to know fellow club members and [members] of all the various clubs.” She was happy with the service project in Kahuku. “It’s cool to interact with each other and to grow closer as a school and community,” Marlowe said. “Service just brings people together I love it.”

Jacob McGee, a sophomore from California studying biochemistry, liked working with the high school but suggested more interaction with the locals in the future could better the project. “In the future, it would be cool to mix us up a little bit, but it was still cool. We were all in the same vicinity,” McGee said.

“I felt it was really good to just be out in the community, especially so close to us,” McGee continued. “It makes you feel part of Hawaii. It’s good to be connected.”

Anna Hudson, a senior studying social work from Washington, was one of the service council committee members in charge of the project in Kahuku. “I think that we did the best that we could with the resources that we had. Everyone contributed; that was really important. Nobody was sitting around, and everyone contributed and did their best painting,” said Hudson.

Hudson continued, “People should keep coming out and providing service because it is a good way for us to connect with our community and create bonds between us.”

Dannia Tan, a senior studying biology from Utah, represented the presidency of the Jesters Club at the service day. Her association was assigned to the Wildlife Reserve, and the combined effort of the clubs resulted in over 1,500 pounds of trash being collected, according to project organizers from the Service Center.

“It was actually really unfortunate to see how much garbage there was on the beach, especially since the plastic had been there so long. It had started to break up and become part of the sand,” said Tan.

Sydney Taylor, a sophomore from Idaho studying to earn her associate’s degree, helped to pass out surveys for emergency preparedness around the community of Hauʻula. Taylor’s favorite part was talking to different people in the community and doing service as a group.

According to Taylor, the associations went door-to-door and educated community members on how they can better prepare for emergencies in the future.

Date Published: 
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Last Edited: 
Tuesday, September 20, 2016