Transfer Student to Perform for All PIR Clubs


Conrad Timothy

Chicago Schuller (front and center) rehearsing with the Hawaiian Club during Wednesday’s run-throughs.

For Chicago Schuller, days end only if he is drenched in sweat and proficient at a slew of dances and chants from various island cultures.

Schuller is a 21-year-old senior majoring in Business Management and minoring in Political Science. Originally attending St. Mary’s University, he came to Chaminade University in August as part of a one-semester exchange program between the two Marianist schools and will be joining all five clubs listed to perform for Friday’s Pacific Island Review.

For almost two months, Schuller’s schedule has been packed with him dedicating up to four hours a day practicing exotic chants, dances, and skits. Although time consuming, he feels that exercising these cultural demonstrations with the people they belong to gave him a deep understanding of each ethnic group.

“The Samoan Club president [Valerie Miles] said that we are all family, and the only thing that separates us is water,” he said. “Even though I’m from Texas, I’d like to get to know my Pacific family here in any way possible.”

Schuller will be performing with the Marianas Club, Micronesian Club, Hawaiian Club, Tongan Club, and Samoan Club (in that order) in Friday’s PIR, an event that Chaminade hosts every fall semester. At 6 p.m., dinner will be served under the Sullivan Library tents with performances taking place on the library lawn at 7 p.m.

Schuller, who was born and raised in McAllen, Texas, was encouraged by the Marianist brothers of St. Mary’s to partake in the opportunity to travel to one of its sister schools since his freshman year. After finally taking the chance to leave to a place he has never been to before the start of his senior year, he was met with unexpected realizations when confronting Chaminade’s student body.

“I kind of had expectations from other people that a lot of locals would not take kindly to a person of my skin color,” he said. “But that wasn’t the case when I came here. Everyone was very welcoming and accepting and brought me into their culture very quickly.”

Schuller will be the only student performing for all clubs. Between each act, he will have to change into the next club’s costume while removing any body paint that will interfere with another group’s look. Seeing the amount of effort that he is willing to put in for each cultural club has gained appreciation from its officers.

“I’m glad that people take an interest in cultures that they’re not necessarily a part of,” said Chaminade student body president and Hawaiian Club officer Kawena Phillips. “I think that’s the most important aspect. Because we live in Hawaii, people should make time to learn about the cultures that surround them.”

Chaminade, which boasts a 28 percentage of Pacific Islanders in its student body, gives both its students and the Hawaii community a chance to learn about the distinct cultures that find themselves in the area. The school looks to connect these groups by bringing them together through large festivities.

“The clubs have put in a lot of work and thought into their performances,” Schuller said. “Getting to showcase all of it to an audience would mean the world to me and the other club members.”