UH-Hilo’s Wailau seeks storyteller applications

The University of Hawaii at Hilo invites the public to be a part of a new storytelling event to build connections across the UH Hilo campus and with the wider community.

Organizers for Wailau, which means “where water from diverse sources comes together to commingle and become a more powerful, unified whole,” are seeking community members and UH faculty, staff, students and alums to become Wailau storytellers. The event premieres in February 2021 and will explore different themes.


The first Wailau event will be offered online, addressing “The Importance of Communication in Love.”

“Do you have a great story to tell? It might be an epic failure, a glorious love story, a comedy of errors, an experience with prejudice rooted in societal beliefs or a scientific observation,” said Kathleen Baumgardner, one of the event organizers.

Storyteller applications are being accepted through Jan. 15 for February’s Wailau.

Wailau aims to spotlight voices and stories that fit each theme in interesting ways, showcasing five storytellers during each event. Submissions are also welcome from former faculty and staff and storytellers of all ages.

Between the application deadline and the premiere, storytellers will be recorded sharing their stories on UH-Hilo’s Performing Arts stage in advance of the online premiere. If storytellers are unable to attend on-stage taping, self-taped stories will be accepted.

Wailau organizers include UH faculty, staff, students, alums and community members, including UH-Hilo’s English Club. Students from the English Club determine Wailau themes, review applications and select storytellers.


“We intend to bring together the community through stories,” said Braden Savage, UH-Hilo senior and English Club member. “Particularly during a time when disunity, isolation and social anxieties are rampant, we would like to show that we are still connected, that we are still able to build a link among the members of our community … .”

To apply or learn more, visit hilo.hawaii.edu/wailau/.

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