Mahilani Akiona '05 BA

Which groups or activities were you most involved in at ASU? What did you gain from that involvement?

Among other things, I was involved in Barrett, the Honors College at ASU; SAA; Devils' Advocates; the Medallion of Merit Scholarship Program; Homecoming; and I was a founder of Delta Zeta on campus.  Being involved as a student leader allowed a platform to make a difference in my college and neighboring community and helped me develop a deep sense of pride in my university. The leadership roles I assumed built a strong foundation that would be a capstone for my student career, college experience, and professional success.

What personal qualities do you think were most strongly developed in you during your years as a Sun Devil?

Leadership and excellence in all aspects of my life: personally, professionally, and in my community.

What’s your favorite ASU memory?

I remember being "kidnapped" in the middle of the night in my neon pajamas when I was selected as a member of Devils Advocates, losing a set of tennis shoes in Oozeball, giving a speech alongside a nun at Lantern Walk, and painting the ‘A’ on A mountain and guarding it when we played U of A – I still have the maroon sweatshirt with gold paint to prove it!

The list goes on and on – it's impossible to choose just one favorite!

What has been your support and involvement in the ASU Alumni Association since you left the university?

I've actively participated in my local alumni chapter, attending Pat's Runs or volunteering for local charities like Pack the Stockings, which raises funds and donates toys to under privileged children. I am also a founding member of the Arizona State Young Alumni group and currently serve as a liaison for the city of Chicago. ASYA's purpose is to connect, inspire, and engage recent college grads.  It's been rewarding to ignite enthusiasm among college grads while introducing them to a phenomenal network and support system of the ASU alumni community – there’s nothing like it!

Why have you chosen to be a member of the Alumni Association? What value does involvement with ASU add to your membership?

I became a life member as soon as I graduated. The relationships, networks, and opportunities are endless. I travel from time to time as an HR consultant, and it’s nice to know that there are thousands of alumni nationwide and many more globally with whom I share a common bond. Simply put – I enjoy volunteering my time as a way to give back to my alma mater and connecting with fellow Sun Devils.

What are three “can’t-miss” ASU experiences every Sun Devil should participate in?

  1. Sitting front row at a football game sporting a Sparky sticker tattoo and your gold T. While you can’t rush the field, you can think about it in spirit!
  2. While there are many events to attend at Homecoming, make sure you hike up A Mountain for Lantern Walk – it's one the longest standing traditions at ASU.
  3. Sunbathe in the Secret Garden on the Tempe campus while studying, of course.

What advice would you give to today’s ASU students?

Find your niche! ASU provides every opportunity for you to shape your college experience in any way you imagine – it’s an advantage to our size and diverse student population. And when you do find a suggested path – veer, recreate it, and own it!

Find community!  Whether that’s involvement in student organizations, writing your thesis, traveling abroad, becoming a leader in residence life, conducting research, lending a helping hand – who knows when you’ll stumble upon a lifelong friend, future business venture, or life changing experience.

Find learning! College is something else! It’s this one time, one rite of passage in which you're constantly re-inventing, creating, and establishing your sense of self. Take it easy, be mindful, be reflective, fail and fail hard! Even in the craziness of having fun there’s something to grasp.

And most of all, in the infamous words of Jerry Maguire, “You’re a Sun Devil, baby! You go to Arizona State!” Never forget it.

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