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Lainee Fagafa: Hawaii in Her Heart

April 15, 2009

ASU senior art major Lainee Fagafa grew up in Amarillo, but she left her heart in Hawaii.

“I was born in Hawaii, but we moved to Texas when I was very young, 3 or 4 years old,” Fagafa said. “I’ve always gone to school in Texas, but I’ve always spent my summers in Hawaii with my dad’s side of the family.”

The University Center Program Council’s publicity chair hopes to return to Hawaii to stay after she receives her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic art next year.

Fagafa’s father is American Samoan, but his family moved to Oahu, Hawaii, where many of Fagafa’s relatives still live. Her mother and father met in Hawaii when her mother, who is from Ohio, came to visit a sister stationed in Hawaii in the military.

Fagafa doesn’t know why her family came to Texas, but she knows why she came to Angelo State.

“My sister, Audrey (Sato), joined JAMP (Joint Admission Medical Program) in high school and came to ASU for biology” Fagafa said.  “I really enjoyed ASU when I came down to visit her and saw the campus.”

Fagafa is three years younger than her sister, who graduated from ASU in 2006 and is a student at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth.

She and her sister plan to move back to Hawaii to follow their dream of opening a studio for producing music, or barring that, buying into a studio and starting their own record label in addition to their chosen career paths.

“We are looking around and trying to figure out different things to do, because we both love music,” Fagafa said.

Fagafa’s sister played the horn in the Amarillo River Road High School band and Fagafa followed soon after and played the saxophone.

Music is also important to Fagafa because of her Samoan roots.

“In Hawaii, we listen to a lot of reggae, Hawaiian, Samoan, Japanese, hip hop and R&B music,” she said.  “Because there are so many different cultures in Hawaii, and being Samoan, we base a lot of things off of music, singing or playing instruments.”

Besides the music business in Hawaii, Fagafa wants to put her art education to work creating graphics, including posters, CD covers and T-shirts.

“The steps I’m taking here at ASU are definitely preparing me for my future,” she said.

To supplement her studies, Fagafa has been gaining experience with her work on the UCPC.

“I sit with each committee chair and come up with ideas about the different ways we can publicize activities,” she said.  “After we make out a marketing plan, we execute it on the actual publicity.”

“We do everything from posters to fliers, Ramvision, the Ram Page, the Standard-Times and for concerts, we do radio announcements, commercials and banners,” she said.

Fagafa started working with the UCPC her sophomore year at ASU.

“When I was a freshman, my roommate said we should go to a meeting for the recreation committee” she said.  “I really enjoyed it.”

UCPC officers soon asked Fagafa to take over the recreation chairmanship, which she held her sophomore and junior years.

“Because I’m a graphics design person, I thought doing publicity this year would better suit me for my career and help me with building my portfolio,” Fagafa said.  “It’s only the third year we’ve had a publicity chair, so it’s still new and we’re still tweaking it.”

After she graduates, Fagafa will adapt what she has learned to fit into life in Hawaii.

“I get kind of lost in that culture,” she said.  “There is a lot to learn and a lot to respect because Samoans still do a lot of things traditionally.”