Hawai‘i Pacific earns share of 2013 PacWest Community Engagement Award

June 18, 2013

(via thePacWest.com)

BEACH, CA – For outstanding service to its community, Hawai‘i Pacific University has been selected as a co-recipient of the 2012-13 Pacific West Conference AthleticsCommunity Engagement Award.

The announcement was made during the 2013 PacWest Conference meetings on Thursday, May 30, in Newport Beach, CA.

The Sea Warriors share the honor with Academy of Art University which earned its second straight award. This marks the third consecutive year that the Community Engagement Award has been shared.

The PacWest Community Engagement Award annually recognizes outstanding community service and projects performed by a PacWest member institution’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). A panel reviews the nominations and chooses a winner.

Last year Dixie State and Academy of Art were co-winners, while in 2011, Dixie State and Notre Dame de Namur University shared the honor. Dixie State claimed the award outright in 2009, a year after Chaminade University of Honolulu captured the inaugural award in 2008 and a year before Dominican University of California claimed the award in 2010.

In addition to Art U and HPU, the committee also noted the outstanding efforts of all the student-athletes in the PacWest.

Each institution will receive a plaque commemorating its selection. PacWest Commissioner Bob Hogue will make the presentation during a home event hosted by the institution during the 2013-14 academic year.

The following are highlights of just a few of the projects HPU student athletes participated in this past year:


girls in sports
Girls and Women in Sports Day (Photo by Eric Alcantara)

On Jan. 27, 2013, more than 50 coaches and student-athletes from seven Hawai'i Pacific University athletic teams held free sports clinics at the Hawai'i Loa Campus as a part of the 2013 National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This year's theme was Girls in Sports: An Investment in the Future.

More than 120 girls from the local community, grades kindergarten through eighth, had the opportunity to participate in tennis, golf, soccer, cheer, volleyball, basketball, and softball. Participants also received a free t-shirt as well as lunch for the event (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Vah0ZWDXz0).


The HPU Athletics Department honored Kameron Steinhoff, a former HPU men’s basketball player who died in a skate boarding accident nearly two years ago, with Kam's Helmets, a helmet giveaway program started by HPU Athletics that provides free helmets to kids and students.

More than 200 helmets, from toddler sized to adult, were distributed during the HPU men's basketball game versus Point Loma. The event was a huge success, as kids, community members, HPU students and others received helmets that night. Every individual who received a helmet was measured and fitted properly by a member of the HPU SAAC.

HPU Athletics established Kam's Helmets to provide a free helmet to anyone in the community in need, particularly students, with the hope that it will help prevent future head-related injuries. HPU purchased all helmets with the revenue generated from the men’s and women’s basketball ticket sales, and also the generous donations of fans.


One of the biggest challenges faced at HPU is getting fans to games – the campus is spread over two beautiful locations, and the playing facilities stretch from Waipahu to Honolulu.

HPU SAAC took on the task of creating an HPU student BBQ at the softball game vs. Hawai‘i Hilo on March 2, 2013. The event created a buzz around campus and softball had a crowd that day. More than 300 hotdogs were cooked by Garett Yukumoto, head baseball coach, and Hendrik Bode, head men’s tennis coach, that were fed to students, faculty and student-athletes from both HPU and Hawai‘i Hilo.


A major part of being a student-athlete at HPU is the long road trips each team takes and the number of hotels occupied by teams each year. As a way to give back to the community, HPU SAAC started “Bubbles for Troubles.” Each team was asked to hold on to all the “freebies” they get while staying at hotels – shampoos, soaps, conditioners, lotions, etc. In September, the boxes, which contain thousands of mini-hygienic products will be donated to homeless shelters in the area.

The S.H.A.R.X. Benefit is HPU Athletics annual fundraising dinner and Hall of Fame Induction. This year, however, student-athletes representing each sport provided wait-staff services for the entire benefit. Student-athletes passed hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail hour, interacted with donors and honorees, and helped clear tables of plates, water glasses and napkins.


When the HPU Athletics Department found out it was hosting both the PacWest Conference Championships and the NCAA II West Regionals in men’s and women’s cross country, the excitement grew but knew it would be a large task. Neither of these events would have been possible without student-athlete volunteers.

For each event, more than 75 student-athletes from other sports woke up at 4 a.m. on a Saturday, boarded a bus and drove 1.5 hours out to the North Shore to help their fellow athletes. Everyone expected the set up to be tough, but no one could have imagined the chaos at the finish line.

Click on this link to see our amazing student-athletes in action, especially at the finish line: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUpPnbOPOto.


Teaming up with Coca-Cola for the second time, the Sea Warrior softball team spent a Saturday morning helping to clean up Sand Island Beach Park as part of the Ocean Conservancy's 27th Annual International Coastal Cleanup.

This year's theme Live Positively was designed to build upon a 2011 effort that collected more than nine million pounds of trash from beaches around the world. Together with other members of the community, the softball team removed cigarettes, plastic bags, cans and other trash polluting the beach.

HPU softball also held a free, two-day clinic for 60 girls, ages 12 and under, that featured coaching and team building with HPU players and coaches.

Teaming up with Coca-Cola for the second time, the Sea Warrior softball team spent a Saturday morning helping to clean up Sand Island Beach Park as part of the Ocean Conservancy's 27th Annual International Coastal Cleanup.

The Hawai‘i Pacific women's basketball team took a break from its preseason workouts to participate in the Mokulele Elementary School All-Star Book Fair. Located on Hickam Air Force Base, Mokulele's student body consists of military-connected children living in and around Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

This year's theme was “Every Reader is a Star” and featured Clifford the Big Red Dog as well as the HPU women's basketball team - among other guests.

The Sea Warriors took turns reading to the children before breaking off into separate groups to lead other activities. Half of the team stuck with hoops, teaching kids shooting and dribbling skills, while the other half helped in completing table games including coloring stars, origami, mazes and word searches.


The HPU men's basketball team spent an afternoon working with some of Hawai‘i's youth in the 2nd Annual Palama Day at Palama Settlement. The Sea Warriors led youth through football, bowling, basketball and relay contests.

Palama Settlement is a community center for area youth west of Hawai‘i Pacific's downtown campus. HPU has a long-standing relationship with Palama and looks forward to continuing the partnership in the future.


Fall is harvest season and the Hawai‘i Pacific women's soccer team joined the act, volunteering at Waimanalo Country Farms. Players from the team spent multiple weekends helping out in the pumpkin patch, operating the corn maze, and working in the animal farm tent.

Waimanalo Country Farms, owned by the family of HPU freshman defender Sierra Kadooka, is a family friendly farm that allows people of all ages to experience a different side of Hawai‘i.


Soccer participated in the Red Cross Hawai‘i's Hats Off Event, joining off-duty firefighters, military and other volunteers in an effort to raise money for the Red Cross. In all, 15 players stood outside the Pearl City Wal-Mart raising roughly $1,000 for the charity.


The Hawai‘i Pacific men's and women's golf teams volunteered at the Easter Seals of Hawaii 31st Invitational Golf Classic on Oahu. The event, held at Hawaii Prince Golf Club, was a great success raising a significant amount of money for Easter Seals' work with disabled people.

The HPU golfers contributed on the course by working in the food and drink hospitality areas over the 27-hole layout. Hundreds of participants played in the scramble-style tournament that featured valuable prizes from some of the top companies in the area.