The Kammannawannameetcha Luau is traditionally a freshman orientation event, but this year it was a bit different. Originally scheduled for Aug. 27, it was postponed as a result of the microburst that swept the Maryville area that evening. Instead, it took place on Sept. 9 from 7 to 10 p.m., and all classes were invited to come together to ring in the new school year beneath the twinkle lights.
Each year, the luau is put on by the Student Programming Board (SPB). It is a Hawaiian-themed event in which students are encouraged to wear leis and enjoy dancing with new people. This year it took place at the McArthur Pavilion, near the college woods. The event was complete with a DJ, a photo booth and free Rita’s Italian ice.
“We decided collectively what to offer … based on several factors, three of which are cost, practicality and appeal,” said Henry Daniels, SPB’s marketing committee chair. “Music and dancing was a must. We also provided free Rita’s Italian ice to elaborate on the luau island party theme.”
Each of these features seemed to be a hit. Students from every class were out on the floor dancing, and a twerking contest took place during a particularly popular song. Props such as a coconut bra, a grass skirt and an inflatable shark kept the photo booth busy almost all night. The Italian ice was gone before 8:30 p.m.
“I liked the atmosphere and all the decorations they put up everywhere,” said Elli McMillen, a sophomore student who attended the luau. “The music was great and everyone was really involved.”
Hosting the luau outdoors on a warm night nearing 85 degrees could have been risky, but SPB was ready with water bottles for those dancers who needed a hydration break. The club also provided tables and chairs outside of the pavilion so that students could sit and recuperate during the event without wandering far from the party.
Rachael Weaver, a resident assistant in Copeland Hall, said she thought the event provided “a low stress environment that allowed freshmen to get to see the fun and generally non-judgmental attitude of campus.”
Besides providing a place for new students to get to know one another and meet upperclassmen, the luau was used to introduce them to SPB. The club is prominent on campus with the stated mission of “[providing] a diverse schedule of traditional events, recreational activities, educational programs, and social events for the campus community.”
Some traditional SPB events that freshmen are probably unaware of are Homecoming, Spring Fling and Blister in the Sun. The club also partners with other student organizations to put on events throughout the year.
Membership applications are past due, but students will have another chance to apply in the spring. Anyone with ideas regarding possible events can contact Doniqua Flack, the faculty advisor of SPB or the current president, Ellie Talley. Students should read the MC Today and pay attention to bulletin boards on campus in order to stay informed about upcoming SPB events.