Monday, December 01, 2014
· · in News. ·
by Ruzelle Almonds (Amparo)
On October 24th, the University of Guam launched its very own Chamorro Studies Program! In fact, UOG is the first school to offer a degree for Chamorro Studies! I Tinituhon Prugråman Inestudian Chamoru — or the Chamorro Studies Program Launch in fino’englis (English) — was a whole day event hosted by faculty and students of the Chamorro Studies Program and took place in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Building.
Set up in the atrium of the HSS were a few booths. The Micronesian Area Research Center handed out lists of books that they have to aide Chamorro Studies students in any and all research as well as had a display of books. The Marianas History Club was handing out pamphlets and informing others about their goals and services as an organization. There was also a Chamorro Studies Program Information and Advisement desk where students can learn about the program and even declare themselves as Chamorro Studies majors without having to go to admissions!
Room 110 offered a series of short presentations starting with Dr. Bevacqua, the Chamorro Studies Program Coordinator, who read his poem titled “Ancient Chamorro Sexy Time”. There was also a writing workshop by Professor Leon Guerrero. Of course students of the program took part with Slam Poetry, a presentation on Guam’s native birds, and they even showcased films that they created in class.
More presentations were in room 106, with 3 panels that lasted about an hour and a half each. The very last panel featured Theresa Arriola from the Guam Visitor’s Bureau (GVB), Joseph Artero-Cameron the president of the Department of Chamorro Affairs, Colleen Weller a producer from Nihi, and Gerhard Schwab a professor at UOG and the world’s first Chamorro Studies Major. One by one, each panelist stood up to speak about “I Balin Inestudian Chamoru gi i Kuminidåt” or “The Value of Chamorro Studies in the Community”.
Especially moved by the launch of this program was Theresa Arriola, who couldn’t help but start to tear at the beginning of her presentation.
“Culture makes the destination unique,” said Arriola, stating that culture is weaved into everything that GVB does. “It isn’t about making money. It’s about making sure that the Chamorro people, history, culture and traditions are properly represented and to also bring awareness to our own people.”
Towards the end of the panel, Arriola declared her interest in joining the program as a student in the program.
The launch was topped off in the Lecture hall, starting with food prepared by the first Chamoru Culture class and ending with the first of the Lecture Series “The Chamorro Experience gi Fino’ Chamoru”. This lecture was given by Joaquin “Tun Jack” Flores Lujan, Dr. Bevacqua’s grandfather and Chamorro Master Blacksmith. The Lecture Series will continue for the next three weeks and will take place every Thursday Night from 5:30 – 7:00 PM at the UOG CLASS Lecture Hall.
The Chamorro Studies Launch marked a monumental occasion for Guam, allowing the island to bring its culture to the big boy table!