UVU hosts Samoa’s former head of state

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UVU hosted His Highness, Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi, the Head of State for Samoa to talk to students about the importance of genealogy.

Pacific Islander students, future students, community members and lovers of island food all gathered at Center Stage on Sept. 19 to celebrate culture and tradition and hear from the esteemed guest.

His Highness Tupua Efi talked about the importance of being proud of one’s culture and the need to celebrate diversity.

“I think it is very appropriate that we celebrate our culture, our genealogy, our values, our vision,” said Tupua Efi.

Destiny Wolfgramm, a freshmen information technology major who attended the event. She says that her appreciation for culture is what brought her to the event.

“I’m Polynesian and I want[ed] to support my culture and all the other different Polynesian cultures,” Wolfgramm said. “I think it’s important for me to show up to things like this to represent Polynesians in general.”

Wolfgramm added that she feels that her culture as a Polynesian needs to be more present on campus.

“It’s important for UVU to hold events like these, to represent everyone that goes to UVU. There’s a lot of diversity here and sometimes I don’t feel like our culture is shown,” Wolfgramm said.

Marlene Lopez, a freshman studying business management, said the message that stuck out to her at the event was to be proud of her heritage.

“We have to represent who we are and where we come from,” Lopez said.

Makanalai Santiago, a freshman studying  psychology and behavioral science, felt struck by the message of unity His Highness Tupua Efi brought to campus.

“We as Native Americans, Polynesians, Hispanics, are all indigenous people [who] need to hold onto our roots because that is something that is dwindling in the world,” said Santiago. “Not only do we need to hold onto our own roots, but each other’s as well so we can support each other in what we do and hold our cultures close to our hearts.”

Photo courtesy of UVU Marketing Dept.