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Cultivating Connections at BYUH Date Night

Students shaking hands at a speed-dating event.
Photo by Monique Saenz

On January 31, 2024, Brigham Young University–Hawaii hosted its first-ever BYUH Date Night. The event shared an initiative across all Church Educational System (CES) Institutions to provide low-pressure events that could improve the dating culture across its campuses.

At the start of the event, students participated in a lively game show that provided a fun and informative environment to learn dating dos and don'ts and positive dating principles. Additionally, students were reminded of the importance of adhering to President Dallin H. Oaks' three principles for a genuine date, as conveyed in a recent devotional for young adults. His counsel emphasized that a true date necessitates the three p's: planned ahead, paid for, and paired off.

Students on a stage for the Date Night game show. A student is dressed as a ref with red and green flags.
Photo by Monique Saenz

After the game show, students were given free rein to attend campus-wide activities. Whether students wanted to do crafts like pin making and origami, participate in speed-dating, learn a cultural partner dance, or play games at The Hub and Seasider Turf Field, everyone had a wide range of options to choose from.

Throughout the event, members of the President's Council and Student Life were invited to visit the different stations and award highly engaged students with prizes like card games, sugar cookie decorating kits, Chick-fil-A gift cards, and more. Other prize giveaways occurred periodically throughout the evening and finished with a handful of grand prize winners bringing home vouchers to popular local attractions.

Students dancing in a line.
Photo by Monique Saenz

The event concluded with a buffet of appetizers, desserts, and an outdoor dance. Other photo-op attractions, like a 360 photo booth and marquee-lighted "Date Night" sign, made it easy for students to capture the memories made and reminisce on the fun for weeks to come.

Student Life Vice President Kala Kau commented on student turnout, stating, "We are very pleased with the participation and response to BYUH Date Night. It was motivating for the students to learn from the Kauwe's and some of their peers. We hope that students feel encouraged in their dating decisions and options and gain momentum in developing low-stress and rewarding connections. I was inspired to see students having fun and enjoying being together at this amazing event."

Students standing next to a lighted sign that reads, "Date Night"
Photo by Monique Saenz

The culmination of students and their diverse cultures made it a celebration that left a tangible buzz of excitement in the air throughout the night—with over 1,100 students in attendance, the BYUH Date Night created a memorable and positive atmosphere for what initially may have felt like a daunting task for most students. There have already been talks of similar events taking place in the future to continually encourage and provide students with the confidence needed to make meaningful connections during their time at BYU–Hawaii.