“I’d describe my delight as love and aloha. I like my tradition and my folks. We name everybody our ohana, our household. I like that tradition of household, love, and unity.” – Kamaile Hiapo
Hometown: Gilbert, Ariz.
For Kamaile Hiapo, being a Wildcat has at all times been her dream. When she arrived on campus in 2019, she knew this was the place she belonged, as a pupil and as an athlete.
“I used to be at all times meant for this,” stated Hiapo. “I really feel like I discovered my place right here at Arizona and it seems like dwelling to me. I really feel like I have been welcomed and blessed with numerous alternatives in volleyball. I used to be in a position to play proper off the bat my freshman 12 months and now I am in a management place. I really feel like that is the place I am meant to be.”
Hiapo’s success as a libero got here quick, setting the Arizona freshman file for digs in a season (378) and was the primary freshman beginning libero in program historical past. Hiapo stated “I by no means anticipated to start out, I assumed I must work my approach up. Since I used to be beginning, I actually wished to carry out nicely and do my greatest and the data simply sort of got here with that. My objective is at all times to be one of the best I might be.”
Whereas Hiapo cemented herself because the Wildcats’ major libero, she has turned her focus to one thing greater than sports activities: inclusion.
Hiapo, a Pacific Islander, acknowledges the unbelievable expertise that comes from the Islands and needs to pave the way in which for different Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) athletes.
“One in all my mother’s targets in life was to make it huge and she or he did that,” she stated. “I simply wish to hold bringing recognition to the islands and let others have the identical alternative that my mother and I had. There’s numerous expertise there and all we want is to get seen and be given the possibility. I used to be given an incredible probability to return right here and I am proud to signify my tradition.”
This previous April and Might, Arizona Athletics’ Inclusion Excellence Council celebrated APIDA Heritage Month. The objective of APIDA Heritage Month is to share tales of our student-athletes who’re Asian Pacific Islander Desi People.
The APIDA tradition has at all times been and can at all times be a giant a part of our program and we’re proud to rejoice all of it month lengthy!
— Arizona Volleyball (@ArizonaVBall) April 12, 2021
“There was a desk discuss with Arizona Athletics workers and APIDA athletes,” stated Hiapo. “They requested us about how we really feel, how we’re doing, and what is going on on in our lives in order that the workers members could possibly be educated and to lift consciousness in regards to the matter and our tradition. I felt very included and heard by the workers and fellow athletes.”
For Hiapo and different student-athletes, the desk discuss was a approach for them to attach and share their similarities and variations. Hiapo remembers listening to swimming’s Sam Iida speak about his tradition and the way proud he was to be a member of the APIDA group. Hiapo stated “having our names out there may be how we present our delight.”
Hiapo seemed on the delight that Sam Iida, softball’s Dejah Mulipola, soccer’s Donovan Laie, and herself share and is proud to signify APIDA athletes and their tradition. As a Pacific Islander, Hiapo describes her delight as “love and aloha. I like my tradition and my folks. We name everybody our ohana, our household. I like that tradition of household, love, and unity.”
From the second Hiapo turned an Arizona Wildcat, she has at all times felt at dwelling in Arizona Athletics. “I really feel very seen and included. I’ve by no means felt excluded right here, and I like that individuals take an curiosity in my experiences.”
For Hiapo, having a core worth of inclusion — harnessing the ability of variety — as a part of the Arizona Strategic Plan is essential to her as a result of “it makes us really feel united regardless of our variations.” Athletes at Arizona come from all completely different backgrounds, however they use these variations to unite and are available collectively as Wildcats.
Hiapo needs to see others acknowledge their variations and use that information to be taught and change into higher folks. Her tradition of household, love, and unity is precisely what she hopes to see on the planet sometime and is aware of that she might be a part of that change.
“One factor we emphasised final 12 months was ‘Collectively We Bear Down,'” stated Hiapo. “Everyone experiences various things, but it surely helps us come collectively. I do know that I can be taught from different folks, and it will probably make me a greater individual. We will use our variations to return collectively and unite as one.”