Polynesian Club Preserves Culture & Prioritizes Higher Education

Posted: August 29, 2019 | Author: Savannah Byers | Read Time: 2 minutes

Polynesian Club members DancingSouthern Utah University’s Polynesian Club focuses on accurately representing, and authentically honoring, Polynesian history and culture. The Polynesian Club began in the 1990s and has grown and flourished since. Last year the Poly Club was nominated for the 2019 Organization of the Year T-Bird Award.

“Initially the goal of the Polynesian Club was to increase cultural awareness and educate the public on the varied and separate entities that make up the many islands found within Polynesia,” said Toa Tawa, assistant professor of English and supervisor to the club. “Those goals have expanded to include the safeguard and protection of cultural iconography, songs and chants, to avoid appropriation and the misuse of images and native dress considered sacred in those cultures.” 

The Polynesian Club is known at SUU for its lively performances at the esteemed Polynesian Showcase every year. The club performs traditional songs and dances in traditional dress.

“The Showcase is a great way to accurately share Polynesian culture,” said Aioise Talamoni, Polynesian Club president. “The Showcase reminds me of who I am, and makes me even more proud to be Samoan.”

Another club emphasis is the pursuit of higher education and academic success. You will frequently find members of the Polynesian Club studying together around campus, and hosting study halls a few times each semester. Club members support each other throughout their academic journeys. 

“While the Polynesian Club is a great way to interact and socialize with others on this campus, we emphasize the importance of academic performance,” Tawa said. “Education is the focus and we want all students to succeed in this area.”

The Polynesian Club meets from 6-7 p.m. the first Monday of each month in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI). 

All eight of the SUU diversity clubs at the CDI promote service, culture, and higher education within an exciting, accepting space. The CDI exists to validate the multiple identities present on campus, and provide emotional, social, and financial support to students from historically underrepresented communities.

Tags: Clubs Center for Diversity and Inclusion

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