Students Come Together For ‘Friendsgiving’ Before The Holidays


Mariana Wheeler

After students feasted on traditional Thanksgiving foods, they spent the rest of the night playing board games, jewelry making, and writing letters to their loved ones.

On Friday night, CSPB (Chaminade Student Programming Board) and the Restauranteers Club hosted Chaminade’s very first “Friendsgiving” at the Sullivan Library Tent to bring students together who might be celebrating their first Thanksgiving away from home and lessen the stress students are enduring before finals week. They decorated the location with traditional fall decorations such as pumpkins, mason jars filled with lights, and Thanksgiving-inspired yellow and orange table covers.

The purpose of the event was to emphasize togetherness and bring those who might be spending their first Thanksgiving alone away from family to form one with other Chaminade students who are feeling that family absence as well.

“We are kind of at the tail end of instruction, and a lot of people are already feeling the pressure ‘oh I have to study for finals and I have to get this other work done’ so this was a great time to let everybody decompress before the holiday season,” said second-year Communications major and CSPB assistant to director Noelani Tugaoen. “The [use of the] local music was the idea that not everyone gets to go home so we are trying to embody the local spirit.”

Students were able to feel the holiday season by eating traditional Thanksgiving foods while listening to local music and enjoying activities such as letter and postcard writing, jewelry making, and board games that brought them together to meet new people and relax before finals. Students even had the chance to mail out their letters and postcards if they desired.

“Togetherness is really the theme of it because during the holidays it’s really hard for me because I don’t get to see my family or near them,” said second-year Forensics Science major and New York native Temika Hemmings.

Hemmings, who is involved in both students organizations as a public relations officer for Restuaranteers and CSPB’s social media manager, said that the event was inspired by the fact she knew that there are other students that also feel far away from their family like her and wanted to bring them together to eliminate the lonely feeling by getting to know others.

Students had the opportunity to write letters and postcards to send to their families as they celebrate their first Thanksgiving away from home. (Photo courtesy of Mariana Wheeler)

“This campus feels like a family because everyone is so welcoming and you just feel the passion and love everyone has,” said first-year Environmental and Design major and Pennsylvania native Tahiya Kahaulelio. 

Kahaulelio said she thought she would feel alone spending Thanksgiving away from her family for the first time, but she feels good knowing that there are other students going through the same emotions especially since finals week is approaching.

Both students organizations took into account the financial strain of hosting a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and the difficult accessibility to it there is.

Even if it wasn’t traditional, it was still inspired by Thanksgiving dinner especially for those who live in the dorms and can’t go home and have a Thanksgiving feast with their family or purchase the things that makes a traditional dinner,” said fourth-year Criminal Justice and Data Science major and Restuaranteers president Pamela Oda. 

CSPB expected 30-50 people to attend the event, however other factors disrupted the turnout and roughly only 30 students stopped by.

Oda said that since the event was on a Friday, students are focusing on finals, a play was showing on campus, and the island was hosting many marketplaces, it affected the audience turnout.

For third-year Chemistry major and Waianae native Sean Lorenzo, he said Friendsgiving was the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends he rarely reunited with throughout the entire semester because of his busy schedule and to meet new people he’s never seen on campus before.

“It [Friendsgiving] reinforces the idea of how Chaminade tries to embody the ‘ohana spirit and it [Chaminade] provides students the opportunity to feel like they have a family away from home,” he said.