Lions in American Samoa join U.S. collegiate 'Kick Butts Day'

Photo Credit: 
J. Kneubuhl
(Left to right) Mrs. Ana Brown of the Department of Public Health and Mr. Va'a Tofaeono of the Community Cancer Coalition, club Membership Director Vaganafetalai Mamea and club Secretary Ikenasio Tupuola.

(MAPUSAGA--GOOD FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2016)--On Wednesday, Mar. 16, in observance of Kick Butts Day, 1, 475 colleges across the United States of America took a One Day Stand against smoking by adopting a tobacco-free policy for 24 hours.

At the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) the ASCC Lions Club took the initiative to join in this nationwide project, with the support of President Dr. Seth Galea’i, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi Pato and Vice President of Administration and Finance Dr. Mikaele Etuale.

Having just become active this semester, the ASCC Lions Club’s stated mission is “to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote community understanding.”

The One Day Stand was sponsored the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative (TFCCI), a campaign administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services aimed at getting all colleges and universities throughout the country to go smoke or tobacco-free.

According to the TFCCI, 85% of college students surveyed nationwide support tobacco free campuses. The TFCCI has found that college is a time when young people are at a higher risk for starting smoking, and transitioning from experimental to regular tobacco use.

To promote the benefits of living smoke-free, the members of the ASCC Lions Club staffed an information booth set up in the busiest section of campus, where they were joined by Mr. Va'a Tofaeono of the Community Cancer Coalition, Mrs. Ana Brown representing the Department of Health American Samoa Quitline, Ms. Moresa Langkilde and Ms. Lesina Falaniko representing the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and club advisor Mr. Ernie Seiuli.

For several hours, the local health representatives and ASCC Lions counseled students on ways to overcome the nicotine habit for themselves and for others they care about.

They received approval on Mar. 5 from Lions Club International headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill. to establish the club with official alignment to the parent organization. ASCC faculty Mr. Seiuli and Mr. Tero Talamoa serve as co-advisors, while the Guiding Lions to assist the new club are local Lions Club President Ms. Tafa Tua-Tupuola and Zone Chair Mr. Chris King.

“The ASCC Lions Club is considered an equal club to the community Lions Club of Pago Pago,” said Ms. Tua-Tupuola, who is also the director of the ASCC UCEDD.

“As President of the local Lions Club, one of my goals is to empower youth leadership within our community. Members of the community usually don't join civic organizations until their mid 30's. As educators, we encourage community service in high school and college, in the hope that students will continue into adulthood volunteering by joining civic organizations such as the Lions Club, the Shriners or the Rotary Club.

“There is a stereotype that in order to join the Lions Club that you must have a certain GPA, be well established in the community, or a professional businessman,” continued Ms. Tua-Tupuola.

“It’s not about a person’s income or status, but about their character to volunteer and commitment to serve. Our Lions Club motto is ‘We Serve.’"

An official Charter Night for the new ASCC Lions Club is scheduled for Apr. 2, which will include Lions Club officials from the District in New Zealand and the Lions Club International Director.