CUH Civic Engagement Club Revived


Courtesy of Civic Engagement Club

CUH’s Civic Engagement Club returns with the hopes to get students involved with the social issues around the island.

After three years, Chaminade’s Civic Engagement Club has returned to get students to “think global, act local” and engage with today’s social issues on a larger level outside of social media.

“I know our students care, and we just want them to understand that caring for or about an issue, there’s more to it than just reposting things on social media,” said Maimoa Fineisaloi, a 2007 graduate of Chaminade who is a campus minister. “There [is] actual work that can be done and needs to be done.”

The Civic Engagement Club first came from an annual meeting between St. Mary’s, the University of Dayton, and Chaminade in 2012 and was last active in 2018. Earlier this semester, three juniors — Maria Bernaldez, Katherine Gonzalez, and Anna Jane Fujioka — set to revitalize the club alongside club advisor Fineisaloi.

“Our tag line is think global, but act local,” Bernaldez said. “We’re going to be doing human advocacy [and] going to be helping the marginalized and doing whatever we can for the local community.”

This includes starting conversations around the major issues that have captivated the world throughout the last year.

The original intention was to start a new club from the ground up using some of the framework from Catholic Relief Services. However, it became easier to revive the dormant Civic Engagement Club as the function would have been similar, doubling down on the focus of getting students to become involved beyond their screens and phones.

For Gonzalez, a Criminal Justice major, civic engagement was already something since she was in middle school.

“I’ve always done civic engagement, so this is just another I already do but now as a club title with it,” Gonzalez said. “So now instead of just doing what I’m passionate about, I get to hear what other people are passionate about and be able to open up to other issues as well, not just the ones that I personally care for.”

Outside of the club, the Data Science minor focuses on helping “our unhoused neighbors,” by providing food and shelter when she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Since coming to Chaminade, she has done her own research on social issues within the state. She also actively signs petitions and writes and emails to congresspeople about the issues closest to her.

The revitalization of the club brings the total membership close to 10 people, putting it as an active club for the upcoming spring semester. The club plans to have five events with guest speakers, panels, and activities for its monthly events and plans to buy from local vendors for food. Over the next semester, it will be covering incarcerations in the state, creating a safe environment, and health care disparities. It is also working to solidify the last guest speaker for an education disparity panel.

“I think college students have the opportune time to do [be engaged] because you’re in your classes and you’re being challenged,” Fineisaloi said. “… So I feel like this is like an opportune time for folks to add civic engagement into your daily, then you’d really understand how much we are all connected to each other and how much we rely and depend on each other and lean on each other. And I think if we can understand that, then we’d be more mindful of how we move about in spaces and how we might regard each other and encounter each other.”