New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong

Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Identity & Equity Editor

Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong is a junior double majoring in Social & Cultural Analysis and journalism with a minor in performance studies. He is a proud Native Hawaiian from Kapaʻa, Kauaʻi and enjoys hiking his island’s ridges, dancing hula with friends, and reading Hawaiian literature. When he's not picking pua, you can find him strumming his ʻukulele, complaining about colonization and reminiscing the streams and shores of fair Hawaiʻi. You can find him @dereknui on Instagram.

All content by Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong
An illustration of a building with a glass exterior with green plants growing. There are two pots of green plants drawn next to the building, all against a green background. The building is N.Y.U.’s Paulson Center.

Sad in the Paulson Center? There’s a solution.

NYU’s sustainability initiatives should extend beyond reducing our carbon footprint. We should have a visually lush and verdant campus.
Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Identity & Equity Editor May 4, 2023

As you enter the revolving doors of the new, billion-dollar Paulson Center, New York City's vibrant energy seems to fade away, revealing the new building's ineffectual space. The...

A flourishing cherry blossom tree in Washington Square Park.

‘The People’s Park’: Washington Square Park’s springtime splendor

A member of the nonprofit group that supports the park shares insights about how they preserve the park’s beauty amid the changing seasons.
Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Identity & Equity Editor April 18, 2023

The unpredictable nature of spring only makes the arrival of hot, sunny days an even more joyous occasion. Accompanied by the blossoms and blooms of the season, there's no better...

Tagua owner Daniel Neisa sits in his shop’s workspace, in front of a wall covered in various beaded pieces of jewelry. He smiles for a photo while holding a keychain he made.

How South American vegetable ivory jewelry ended up in Brooklyn

Brooklyn’s Front Street features a handmade jewelry store selling a sustainable South American treasure.
Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Identity & Equity Editor April 13, 2023

In the verdant hills of Colombia, Daniel Neisa spent his childhood surrounded by a crop called tagua. This species is in the genus Phytelephas, which translates literally to “elephant...

The Hall of Languages, Hall of Philosophy and Gould Memorial Library serve as the original neo-Classical complex completed by Stanford White.

‘More like college’: When NYU had a campus in the Bronx

NYU's expansion of its Washington Square campus prompts reflection from a ‘62 alum of NYU's first female class at its campus in the Bronx neighborhood of University Heights.
Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Identity & Equity Editor February 27, 2023

The Mauna Loa erupts against a dark sky. The lava in bright red and orange lights up the volcano and tints the color of smoke shooting out from the crater.

What Mauna Loa’s eruption means as a Native Hawaiian

The recent eruption of the world's largest active volcano on Hawaiʻi Island has spurred celebration among Hawaiʻi’s residents and its visitors.
Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Identity & Equity Editor December 6, 2022

E heluhelu i kēia moʻolelo ma o ka ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi | Read this article in Hawaiian Hulihia ka mauna, wela i ke ahi. The mountain is overturned, hot with fire.  When...

Hū ʻo Mauna Loa i ka pō uliuli. ʻO ka pele i ka ʻulaʻula a me ka ʻalani e hoʻomālamalama i ka lua pele a e hoʻolulu i ka uahi e hū mai ka lua.

He aha ka manaʻo nui o Pele ma Mauna Loa ma ke ʻano he Kanaka Maoli

ʻO ka hū ʻana o ka lua pele nui loa o ka honua nei ma ka mokupuni ʻo Hawaiʻi ka hoʻolauleʻa no nā Hawaiʻi a me nā malihini nō hoʻi.
Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Identity & Equity Editor December 6, 2022

Read this article in English. Hulihia ka mauna, wela i ke ahi. I ka luaʻi pele hope ʻana o Mauna Loa i ka makahiki 1984, aia koʻu makuahine i ke kula haʻahaʻa. ʻAʻole...

The storefront of the H Mart on 39 third Avenue in Manhattan with a poster of fruits and vegetables and text “WE NOW DELIVER!” under the H Mart logo.

Culture’s cult choices: H Mart

The best items to buy at H Mart, according to the most refined taste buds at WSN.

Whether we’re on our way to the WSN office or grabbing dinner on the way home, H Mart is the go-to place for food for the culture desk. H Mart is a New York City staple grocery...

Three women wearing jingle dresses dance around a smoking fire pit on Randall’s Island.

A celebration of urban indigeneity

New York City’s Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration took place on Randall’s Island this October 9 & 10.
Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Identity & Equity Editor October 16, 2022

A flag with New York Universitys logo against a purple background hangs down a pole mounted on the exterior of a building.

Opinion: Native students need their own space at NYU

Columbia University gave its Native students a brownstone, while NYU’s Native students group meets underground weekly.
Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Identity & Equity Editor October 14, 2022

Native students at Columbia University were recently approved for a five-story brownstone to be used as a long-term residence for Indigenous and Native students. Granting these...

The logo of New York Universitys Asian/Pacific/American Studies in white in the middle of leaves and flowers.

Opinion: NYU should drop its facade of Pacific Island inclusion

Despite housing the Asian/Pacific/American Institute and an associated major, NYU is failing to provide enough courses on Pacific Island Studies.
Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Identity & Equity Editor September 15, 2022

I realized my previous major, performance studies, at the Tisch School of the Arts was far too white for me, so this semester, I sought out an internal transfer into a major with...

An illustration of a cell phone on a yellow background. Text bubbles are featured on the screen.

The yasses and flops of Grindr, as told by its NYU users

NYU students share their experiences with looking for fun and more on the Grindr app.
Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Staff Writer May 5, 2022

Content warning: this article mentions sexual assault. Whether you’re using it to find love, lust or some much-needed validation, dating apps are a quintessential part of...

A basket of purple flowers in the foreground and peoples hands holding flower petals in the background.

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaiʻi

May Day can be a celebration of flowers, lei and aloha — even when you're not in Hawaiʻi.
Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Staff Writer April 29, 2022

In the myriad palms of the Hawaiian islands remains a cultural tradition as distinctive as the fragrant blossoms upon its shores. May Day, the first day of May, is a celebration...

A black, brown and white-furred dog is looking at the camera laying down on green grass next to a golden retriever standing while also looking at the camera.

Playing pays: An inside look at how NYU students make money walking dogs

Some NYU students find dog walking to be the perfect side job as they tackle the rising costs of city living.
Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Staff Writer April 26, 2022

Part-time jobs are plentiful in New York City, from the endless cafes and shops in Greenwich Village to on-campus employment at NYU. But if being an office assistant or working...

Palm trees swaying in front of a beach with clouds and mountains in the background in Maui, Hawaii.

Reasons to rethink tropical travel — from the people who live there

While tropical locations might sound appealing for spring break, some students who live there have different takes on tourism, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Staff Writer March 2, 2022

Spring break is supposed to be a time for students to relax, a reprieve from the chaos of day-to-day school life. But for NYU students from tropical locations, this time of year...

An illustration of a hand holding up an iPhone with a camera app open. The back camera frames a sink and the front camera frames a woman in a blue hood. Above the camera app are the words “2 minutes to share what you’re up to.”

Can social media app BeReal deliver on its eponymous promise?

NYU students have mixed feelings on whether the BeReal app provides its users with a truly genuine social media experience.
Derek Kamakanaaloha Soong, Staff Writer February 24, 2022

Like many NYU students, I prefer the casual photo dump to the edited selfie, a preference that’s taken to the extreme by the social media app BeReal: every day, you’re given...