Ask An Alpha Chi – Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Edition: Ava Makanui

Ask An Alpha Chi – Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Edition: Ava Makanui


Every May, we recognize Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Alpha Chi Omega shares informative resources and highlights the individual experiences of sisters who identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander – like Ava Makanui (Kappa Psi, Western Oregon University), who is one of the first Hawaiians in her chapter! Ava is excited to share many parts of her Hawaiian culture with her sisters this month and in the future.  

Ava with flower crown1. Why did you choose Alpha Chi Omega? 

I went to college in 2020, and there was nothing to do on campus. So, I knew I wanted to be a part of something, and I had wanted to join a sorority for a long time. Then, I found Alpha Chi Omega, and they were super welcoming to me. I really wanted to get to know people in school and find people with similar interests as me, and I found that here.  

2. What is your favorite Alpha Chi memory? 

My favorite memory is going to Indiana this year for Leadership Academy! I am VP risk management, so I was able to go and meet a ton of new people. 

3. What is one time you felt empowered? 

See, I'm kind of an introvert, so I usually let other people take the lead on things. But since joining Alpha Chi Omega, I feel like I have been breaking out of my shell. I feel like I was empowered to join leadership, so they helped me in that way.  

4. How has your Hawaiian identity been part of your Alpha Chi experience? 

I get to tell the girls more about AAPI Month! I have been working with our VP diversity, equity and inclusion and get to bring in our Hawaiian club president to speak at our chapter next weekend. It will be fun! It’s exciting to know that the girls will get to know more about who I am.  

5. What are you excited to share with your sisters about your culture for AAPI Heritage Month? Picture of a beach in Hawaii

I really love our food that we have at home; we have so many kinds of Asian and Hawaiian foods. I also love teaching them that we were the only state to have a monarchy, and it’s special to us. I love that I can share my Hawaiian culture because I don’t think they really know a lot about it on the mainland.

We also have this thing called Hula. It's a type of dance, and during the month of May we have May Day where each grade in elementary to high school has to dance a Hula. Then they make a court where one person in high school represents each of the eight different islands.  

6. How has the sisterhood of Alpha Chi Omega supported you? 

They all have been so supportive of me since I joined. They always want to know more about who I am and where I'm from. 

7. What do you hope sisters take away from AAPI Heritage Month? 

I hope people take the time to educate themselves about AAPI heritages and issues. I really hope they also appreciate it the whole year and more people do AAPI-related events within their chapter, especially if they have a member who identifies as Asian American or Pacific Islander – they can help be a part of it. They could do something as simple as a culture food night. 

Learn more about AAPI Heritage Month and other recognition months on the Educate and Take Action page of our website.