Welcome back Hello Festival

ASSP, Catalyst host SPU’s cultural clubs for comeback of Hello Festival

Alexandra Miller, Staff Writer

A student from KSA smiles at the camera during the Hello Festival on Thursday, April 13, 2023. (Wintana Gherie)

Seattle Pacific University students who walked through Martin Square on the night of April 13 were greeted with an unfamiliar sight. Their noses were filled with the scent of delicious food, their ears rang with music and their eyes widely explored the varying and vibrant colors of the booths set up around the area. These surprising and unexpected sensations were all made possible by the return of SPU’s Hello Festival. 

The Hello Festival, hosted by the Associated Students of Seattle Pacific and Catalyst, is a gathering of all of the cultural clubs at SPU. This celebration in the spring of 2023 marks the first time since the campus shut down due to COVID-19 in 2020 that the Hello Festival has graced SPU’s campus.  

The return has been anticipated for three years, and finally, it came back with a bang. The event included cultural performances mostly in the form of dancing, as well as free food, games, prizes, food trucks and face painting. 

The festival included 10 SPU clubs. These clubs were Ohana Hawai’i, the Filipino American Student Association, MEChA, the Black Student Union, the Asian American Student Association, the African Student Association, Haven, the Pacific Islander Club of Cultural Arts, the Korean Student Association and the Vietnamese Student Association. 

Each club had a booth at the event where they presented to all attending students a great example of their specific culture and their purpose as a club at SPU. 

From special games to famous foods, walking through each booth would take students around the world in just a short walk. Each stop on the journey showed students the spirit and heart within each club. Students got a first-hand look at what it is like to be a part of each club’s community. They expressed their culture by sharing their unique music, decorations, games and even performances with the SPU student body. 

Fourth year visual communications major Makana Kanaiaupuni expressed how each club allows students to find “a home away from home.”

This sentiment from Kanaiaupuni expresses the exact intent behind coordinating an event such as the Hello Festival. It was made to celebrate that newfound home for those currently involved in the clubs and those who will be in the future. 

First year business major Esther Smith is a part of the Black Student Union. She hopes for her club to be not just a club but rather “a community that is always here for you.”

A hip hop group poses after their performance at the Hello Festival on Thursday, April 13, 2023. (Wintana Gherie)

The Hello Festival brought awareness to the importance of these clubs on SPU’s campus. If students were unaware of them before attending, the event could have led them to find their own special and safe community, as Smith hoped they would. 

Smith’s booth with BSU had cake pops and tokens that allowed you to challenge a friend to a board game. The winner got to pick a prize from the treasure jar, but that was not the only prize of the night. Each booth had something to offer. If there was not a game or prize, you could have a taste of each culture’s famous treats or snagged a free taco from the food truck. 

ASSP’s vice president of intercultural affairs and one of the people in charge of the comeback of the Hello Festival, Bella Camarillo, made sure that she actively participated with each club at the event. She wanted to show her commitment to the event and respect for every club that had put so much effort into making the Hello Festival a reality. 

“Every single club I have been working with one-on-one to make what we are doing today happen. As the event planner, I am going to commit to having something from each table, so I am excited to have food from around the world,” Camarillo said. 

Camarillo worked very hard to help every club have its voice heard by others on campus. She saw the need for community and created it. She and the various cultural clubs on campus made sure that students did not have to go very far to find their new homes. 

The Hello Festival brought awareness of multicultural clubs by taking students on a journey into community and culture. It was meant to encourage students to find people with whom they can be their true selves around and relate to. 

Not only did this festival do exactly that, but it was also fun, beautiful and impactful. It beautifully expressed each club’s purposes and plans for the future while also showing the willingness to provide a safe and fun space for all identities at SPU.