Oct 132016

The UH Hilo campus campaign drive will run from Friday, Oct. 14 through Thursday, Nov. 10.



The Hawai‘i Island United Way has launched its 2016 campaign. Our campus campaign drive will run from Friday, Oct. 14 through Thursday, Nov. 10.

In past campaigns, the response from University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s ‘ohana has enabled Hawai‘i Island United Way to continue its partnerships with numerous non-profit organizations that make a measurable difference in the community.

Packets will be delivered to units starting from tomorrow, Oct. 14. Collection will be by Thursday, Nov. 10.

Let’s continue this support to improve the quality of life for all in our island community.

Mahalo for your kokua,

Don Straney

Coming Out Day

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Oct 132016

Chancellor Straney was keynote speaker at UH Hilo’s Coming Out Day event, where he shared his personal experience as a gay man in higher education.

Chancellor Straney and Laura Sherwood, UH Hilo LGBTQ coordinator, at Coming Out Day event. Courtesy photo.

Chancellor Straney and Laura Sherwood, UH Hilo LGBTQ coordinator, at Coming Out Day event. Courtesy photo.

coming-out-dayChancellor Don Straney was the keynote speaker at the Coming Out Day event held on the campus of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo on Tuesday.

Chancellor Straney shared his personal experience as a gay man in higher education.

“He was authentic in his sharing, allowing for students to relate and see a different side of him,” says Laura Sherwood, UH Hilo LGTBQ coordinator.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports on the event:

When Donald Straney was an undergrad at Michigan State University, he said he was “absolutely convinced” he was the only gay person on campus.

It was the 1970s and the 40,000-student MSU didn’t have an LGBTQ+ center — a hub for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and/or questioning individuals to convene, access resources or get help.

“There was no way for me to know otherwise,” Straney, chancellor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, told about 50 students, staff and faculty members Tuesday.

This fall, Straney, along with other UH-Hilo administrators and student leaders, helped start the new LGBTQ+ Center on the Hilo campus.

The center is located in a small room on the edge of campus formerly used as faculty offices. Costs — which include operations and funding a center coordinator position — are estimated to run about $45,000 per year, according to Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Gail Makuakane-Lundin.

Straney, who was keynote speaker for an on-campus celebration of National Coming Out Day on Tuesday, said he hopes the center gives students a place to meet, get information and — most importantly — increase the LGBTQ+ community’s visibility on the Hilo campus.

“From my point of view, the most important thing the center does is it lets people know that we’re here,” he told those gathered in the Campus Center Plaza. “It lets prospective students know that (LGBTQ+) students have a place on campus.”

Read full story…

Learn more about resources for LGBTQ students at UH Hilo.

Oct 122016

The annual event is a celebration of Filipino culture with colorful costumes, song and dance on the campus’s central plaza.


Photos by Bob Douglas, click to enlarge.


The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo launched 2016 Filipino American Heritage Month with the Barrio Fiesta held on Saturday. The annual event is a celebration with colorful costumes, song and dance on the campus’s central plaza.

The 2016 Barrio Fiesta was fashioned after a traditional Filipino fiesta celebration with a festive gathering of special guests, administration, politicians, community members, students, faculty and staff. Chancellor Straney attended (see photo above right). Performances and traditional Filipino folk games and contests were featured including the famous balut (unhatched fertilized duck egg) -eating contest.

Photographer Bob Douglas was there to capture the celebration. See more photos at UH Hilo Stories.

Oct 032016

We are preparing students for careers in conservation, a new growth sector in Hawai‘i’s economy.

By Chancellor Don Straney

One of the top responsibilities of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is to provide stewardship for the natural and cultural environment. Our campus emphasizes respect for the ‘āina, or land, and we work in partnership with the local community and government agencies to study, protect, preserve and sustain the unique natural and cultural environment of Hawai‘i Island.

We approach this work on many fronts. We provide our students myriad opportunities to create careers in conservation. Our researchers are studying the island’s flora and fauna resulting in groundbreaking findings with potential to save vulnerable species from extinction.

Hawai‘i and the Pacific islands are at the leading edge of conservation challenges because of the highly unique endemic species, with the many threats to the species and environments from invasive species, diseases and habitat change, and now with the increasing climate changes.

Let me share with you some of the things we’ve done recently to meet these challenges.



PIPES cohort. Click to enlarge.

The Pacific Internship Program for Exploring Science immerses students in applied learning internships for 10 weeks each summer, where the students’ work can immediately impact and help solve emerging problems. The program’s 24th annual Student Symposium was held in August, where 42 students presented their projects ranging from monitoring erosion on Maunakea to engaging the community in little fire ant control.

Pacific Climate Boot Camp

UH Hilo hosted the first Climate Change Boot Camp in August. The event showcased recent collaborative research efforts driven by local natural resource managers across Hawaiʻi Island in a new program entitled the UH Hilo Manager Climate Corps. Local managers have teamed up with UH Hilo faculty across a diversity of disciplines to address complex needs resulting from climate change and other natural resource challenges. The goal is to support communities as they tackle climate change, invasive species, land-use, and culture.

World Conservation Congress


UH Hilo Professor of Biology Becky Ostertag attended the World Conservation Congress and gave a presentation at the Species Pavilion. Photo by Katia Chikasuye, click to enlarge.

UH Hilo participated in the 2016 International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress held last month in Honolulu. Held every four years, this conference brings together scientists and experts, policy makers, educators, politicians, non-governmental organizations, business interests, and community organizations from around the world to discuss conservation issues.

This was the first time this prestigious congress was held in the U.S., and UH Hilo played an important role highlighting our island as a model in environmental and cultural conservation. In addition to UH Hilo being a member of the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance—a group that was a driving force behind getting the IUCN to the U.S. and Hawai‘i and was involved with planning the event—UH Hilo researchers and students were engaged in many different activities across the diverse event.

Marty presents her research, standing with group listening.

UH Hilo researcher Marty Kawasaki (at right in floral dress) presents her work at the World Conservation Congress. Courtesy photo. Click to enlarge.

Researchers from the UH Hilo Hawai‘i Cooperative Studies Unit presented studies on the impacts of climate change in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, waterbird studies, and digital storymap techniques. Much of this work was done collaboratively with the USGS Pacific Islands Ecosystems Research Center, located at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and the USGS Pacific Islands Climate Science Center, located at UH Hilo.

Partnerships such as these can be fast, responsive and have become a well-respected and trusted source of information by conservation managers. Findings from one collaborative study resulted in a resolution at the IUCN calling for the conservation of one of Hawai‘i’s highly endangered birds, the ‘i‘iwi.

Many of our faculty and students also attended the World Conservation Congress.

A biology professor and researcher presented a talk on a computer program developed in collaboration with UH Hilo computer science students. The project is entitled Restoring Ecosystems Services Tool (REST) and uses principal component analysis graphs to identify plants that are functionally similar to one another for the purposes of ecosystem restoration. (The students presented their project last year at the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition in California.)


Students and faculty from the Kūʻula Integrated Science Program performed at the IUCN Marine World Heritage Reception. Click to enlarge.

And students and faculty from our Kūʻula Integrated Science Program performed at the IUCN Marine World Heritage Reception. The Kūʻula students presented two chants and hula describing human relationships with the ocean and coral reefs.

Graduate Program

A core program in our efforts to meet the conservation challenges of our island is our Tropical Conservation Biology and Environment Science graduate program, now in its 12th year with 143 graduates to date. We are proud of our graduates, entering doctoral programs or going straight to work on local wildlife management, watershed projects, fisheries, integrated pest management and more, contributing greatly to conservation measures throughout our island and state.

We are preparing students for careers in conservation, a new growth sector in Hawai‘i’s economy. Having local people engaged in solving the problems of our precious local environment is vital to success.


Don Straney

Sep 272016

The UH Hilo Chancellor’s Professional Development Fund is funding tuition waivers for workshop on grant writing.

Hilo sealUH Hilo Chancellor’s Professional Development Fund – Fall 2016.

Basic Grant Writing Tuition Waiver Application

Basic Grant Writing

Participants will learn all about the grant writing process, how to write a compelling statement of need, and learn what funders are looking for in grant proposals. This course is focused on grant-writing tools and resources for non-profit organizations, charitable, public organizations, and other community-minded groups.


  • HILO: Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., University Classroom Building, room 331, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.
  • KONA: Nov. 12, 2016, Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Palamanui Campus, 73-1025 Kaiminani Dr, Kona, room B-125.