How To Host a Lu’au at SMU

Okay, so maybe we should start with how to pronounce that… LOO—ow. Loo as in Louis, and Ow as in… well… Ow? Lu’au. And if we’re being technical, lū’au.

Hui O Hawaii is hosting its annual lu’au on April 7th, just a few days away, and it is sure to be an event full of laughter and the overflowing sense of community that is a patented part of Saint Martin’s.

Traditionally, a lu’au is a time for a family to come together and share their Aloha with one another. But “family” in Hawaii is about more than just those people who share your blood. We call all elders either “aunty” or “uncle”, and because we come from such large families, nearly everyone is a “cousin”. For us, as well as at Saint Martin’s, a community is a family, an ‘ohana united as one body, one spirit, one tradition of sharing everything we have with each other. To this end, a lu’au is more than just a party or an event, it is the coming together of people who share whatever they have with whomever they can. They pass on their food, stories, and traditions, and this sharing is what we call Aloha. More than a simple goodbye or hello, Aloha is about spreading your kindness, your loving spirit, to everyone you meet. Never is Aloha or ohana more present than at a lu’au.

Hui O Hawaii
Members of Hui O Hawaii, out and about in Down Town Seattle



Saint Martin’s annual lu’au can be traced back to the 1960’s, when it was hosted in the campus cafeteria. The club itself, however, dates back even further, although no record was kept of its earliest days. Among one of Hui O Hawaii’s most active members, both then and now, is Mr. Art Fillazar.

Hawaii Club w Fillazar
Art Fillazar sharing his Aloha with the Hawaii Club in March 2018

This is Mr. Fillazar, or Uncle Art, as we call him, as he shares his Aloha with us earlier this year. Some of his favorite times at Saint Martin’s involve preparation for the lu’au, and when serving over 600 people, it’s a given that times are busy for Hui O Hawaii



At a lu’au, as well as any local party back home, the food is spectacular. Laulau, kalua pig, lomi salmon, pohole salad, haupia, fresh pineapple and papaya and mango, and of course, poi. I realize that many of you reading this have no idea what I’m talking about, so take a look at this:

Hawaiian food
Traditional Local Food. From left to right (kind of…) POG (Passion-Orange-Guava) Juice, Coleslaw, Lomi Salmon, Mixed Fruit, Mac Salad, Rice, Chicken Long Rice, Poi, Teriyaki, Kalua Pig, Shoyu Chicken, Butter Mochi, Haupia (Picture Courtesy of Google)

Among this year’s selections are a plethora of dishes that remind we locals of home. Here are some of my favorites:

Guava fruit
This is an actual guava

Lomi Salmon, a sort of cold salad consisting of smoked salmon, onion, and tomato.

Shoyu Chicken, cooked with ginger root, soy sauce, and brown sugar.

Guava Cake, made from a fruit that grows wild throughout the Hawaiian landscapes.




A big part of the Hawaiian culture that is shared through a lu’au is tied to dance, namely, hula. This graceful style of dance found in Hawaii is about telling a story through your hands. Hula dancers follow the music, often sung in Hawaiian, with hand motions and gestures to represent the words. This means that even if one does not understand the Hawaiian language, one may understand the story. There’s even a song about “Lovely Hula Hands” often sung around the islands. Hula is such a big part of Hawaii that we have an entire festival dedicated to it every spring. And one that I am very sad this year to be missing…


Here at the Merrie Monarch Festival, dancers come from all over the islands, and all over the globe, to share their song and dance with the people of Hawaii. They honor their ancestors by their chants and honor the tradition of hula by their grace and beauty.

(Here’s a link to last year’s Merrie Monarch highlights. Enjoy!)


At Saint Martin’s, just as for the Merrie Monarch Festival, students and faculty members gather from all across campus to share their Aloha through their dance. New this year, I am excited to report, is a co-ed Haka, a Maori warrior chant traditionally performed by the men.




With food, family, and wonderful entertainment, this year’s lu’au promises to be an amazing time filled with love, laughter, and plenty of Aloha. There will be opportunities for some ono grinds for us locals, and a chance to try something new and exciting for many of our friends across the sea. There will be a keiki booth for youngsters, bringing fun to the whole family, and a chance to connect as one community, one ‘ohana, one Saint Martin’s University. I hope to see you all there!



How To Survive Midterms

It’s midterm weeks. Yup—that’s right. Plural. Because at Saint Martin’s University, midterms are set up by each professor. This means that some people will have weeks, and others, like me, will have days…

By now, hopefully, you all are sitting somewhere on a nice, warm beach for spring break. It’s got beautiful sand, clear blue water, coral reefs teeming with sea-life, and maybe…just maybe…it’s on Maui…

Enjoy it now, folks, because once you get back to SMU, the second round of midterms will begin. But it’s okay! You got this, Saints! And here are some tips to get you through.


Study, Study, Study

All right, so this one works differently for each person, but generally, it’s a pretty good rule.

Make some flashcards for when you’re waiting in traffic. Rewrite your notes a few times. Use a website that creates games out of your flashcards too! All these strategies work very well come test day.

And here’s some of my own advice: Make a plan.

First off, you need to understand when your tests are to know when you need to start studying, and second, you have to know what you’re studying for. For example, if you have an essay test for HIS142 and a multiple-choice test for PSY101 on the same day, you need to switch up your technique.

For essays especially, write an outline, come up with a thesis, and try talking it through in your head. Use Quizlet for almost any subject and make studying fun! Or—and this may be my personal favorite—find some friends in class and study as a group. It makes a difference when you’re not going through everything alone, and besides that, peer learning is one of the best ways to Git-R-Done.

Coffee at the Monk’s Bean… The best study buddy there is!


Try a Tutoring Session

Seriously, guys, we’ve got tutors for almost every subject that I’ve come across at SMU and they are all amazing. Visit your professors during office hours if you can or ask to schedule something if you can’t. Take a walk down to the lower level of the library and see if they have a tutor available who can help you. But do not wait until the day before! Many of these tutors are by appointment only, so plan ahead, and plan for success.


Take a Break

My friends, stressing about a test is not the way to succeed. I know it sounds impossible NOT to stress about a test, but believe me, the more you stress out, the more unprepared you will be. That’s not to say that some people don’t work well under stress, but for the most part, we all need a relaxer every now and then.

Last week, we had ice cream, pancakes, and pizza in the dorms for late-night study sessions—and all for free!!! We had Dr. Seuss Day in the cafeteria, and boy was that fun! There’s also the baseball and softball games, Karaoke Night, and Campus Ministry. But that was last week…

This coming week, we’ve got a magician! And Casino night! And St. Benedict’s day! Yup, a whole day in the middle of the week to sleep! And just as you get back from break, don’t forget about Coffee with the Monks on Tuesday!

Casino Night
Casino Night 3/24/2018


One Final Word…

Saints, you’re more prepared than you think. Set aside some time to study a little bit each day. Take a much-needed break whenever you get a chance and rest up! We’ve got a few more weeks left until summer, the sun in shining, and we are almost through with tests…at least for a while…

How To… Get Started

Hey y’all! Katie here with a little introduction…

Today… We begin!

That’s right folks! Today we begin a journey forged in laughter and the shared experience of Saint Martin’s University. I’ll be honest: I’m no expert, but I will give it my all!

Here come a series of “How To(s)” of SMU. How to cook from your microwave, how to get involved on campus, maybe even how to flirt with the girl/guy of your dreams! Through it all, I’ll be your guide, sharing my own experience along with the experiences of those lovely Saints that I come across on my travels through campus.

My one question for you: Are you ready for a little adventure?