With racial and cultural identities at the forefront of national conversations over this last year, there is no better time to learn more about some of the individuals from diverse backgrounds who play a major role in the landscape of NIRSA affinity groups.

We highlight these Asian men and women in an effort to expand members’ perspective of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders’ (AAPI) influence within NIRSA and across campus recreation. I recently had the opportunity to interview long-time NIRSA member Dr. Lloyd Hisaka—who served as the Director of Student Recreation Services at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa before retiring in 2016—about his involvement in campus recreation, service to NIRSA, and his cultural identity.

About Dr. Lloyd Hisaka

Dr. Hisaka was initially hired by the University of Hawai’i at Manoa as a tenure-track assistant professor, splitting his time as a professor in the Physical Education Department and as an assistant director for the Intramural Sports Department. “I was fortunate to remain in that dual status throughout my career,” says Lloyd. Before taking up his role there, Lloyd earned his EdD from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M—Commerce).

His exploration of “The Intramural Golf Tournament” was published in 1981, appearing in Volume 5 Issue 3 of the Recreational Sports Journal. Lloyd’s interest in and commitment to the profession was a constant throughout his 35-year career. “One of the best pieces of professional advice that I ever received came from my boss [at the University of Hawai’i], who encouraged me to get involved in our profession’s national organizations (now known as NIRSA and SHAPE America, but at the time they did business under the name of the National Intramural Association or the NIA and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance or AAHPERD).”

Lloyd became a lifetime member of NIRSA and AAHPERD, serving both organizations locally as well as nationally.

A leader in collegiate recreation

Lloyd served as NIRSA Region VI Vice-President in 1986-1987. He’s presented at state, regional, and national conferences and served on numerous committees and task forces—including the Global Perspectives Commission, the RSJ Editorial Board, as Hawai’i State Director, and as Bylaws Committee Chair, among other volunteer roles—over the years. “As you can see, I’ve taken my boss’ advice to heart,” he says.

Dr. Lloyd Hisaka (third row, furthest right) at the 2015 NIRSA Global Perspectives Summit.

Promotions, explains Lloyd, “were determined on teaching, research, and service.” Over the course of his career, Lloyd was promoted from Assistant Director for the Intramural Sports Department to Director and from associate professor to professor, so it’s no surprise to learn that he was decorated for his service to NIRSA with numerous accolades, including a NIRSA Annual Service Award in 1995 and a Region VI Regional Award of Merit in 1998.

Get involved

Lloyd credits his involvement with and service to NIRSA as having a net positive impact on his professional success: “Meeting and working with individuals at the national level provided me an opportunity to work with individuals from around the country and even internationally,” he explains. Lloyd has worked with international students from Japan for most of his career and he has travelled to Japan multiple times, including to present at a professional conference and during a teaching sabbatical.

In 2002, Lloyd was recognized with an award by the National Federation Officials Association for his efforts as a high school basketball official in Hawai’i.

His current role as the Director of the Selection Committee for the Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame and his status as a NIRSA Legacy Contributor speak to his influential contributions to the field of recreation. When I asked him what advice he would give to emerging leaders in campus recreation, he kept his suggestions simple: “I feel that getting involved in the various activities of your department and of the Association are essential,” he says.

Connect through NIRSA caucuses

The English translation of the University of Hawai’i’s motto is “Above all nations is humanity.” Our shared human experiences are enriched when we support intentionally built communities that acknowledge and make space for all identities. NIRSA Caucuses are a great way to get involved and keep your pulse on the profession. Check out the upcoming schedule and stay connected with professionals who share similar experiences.

The next Asian Community Caucus is happening Monday, October 4 at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT. The conversation is free for NIRSA members.

Register today

  • For more information about NIRSA Caucuses, contact NIRSA Member Relations Manager, Sarah Lekovec.
  • If you are interested in highlighting your campus or a NIRSA member’s achievements on your campus, pitch us your ideas.

Charles "Chuck" Steines is currently a student at Elon University and a member of the Elon Club Soccer Team. He is also currently interning at NIRSA Headquarters. You can reach him by email at csteines@elon.edu.