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Tag: UH Hilo Community

Interim Chancellor’s Welcome to Students, Fall 2018

We have an exciting semester ahead with many opportunities for you to engage with each other and the entire university community.

Aloha,

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.I send a special welcome to new students joining our University of Hawai‘i at Hilo ‘ohana (family) and to our returning students.

We have an exciting semester ahead with many opportunities for you to engage with each other and the entire university community. In addition to your classroom studies, there are internships, collaborative research with professors, community service, and extracurricular participation. I encourage you to investigate and pursue as much as you can to expand your knowledge of our campus community, our island, and the world.

In response to student requests for more recreational areas and covered outdoor gathering places on campus, several new projects were completed over the summer.

  • There is now a refurbished outdoor basketball court called Pu‘u Li‘i located behind the auxiliary building with a gazebo, grill, and picnic tables with solar powered recharging stations, USB ports, and Wi-Fi access. A great place to hang out with friends!
  • Several other covered recharging stations were also built around campus near the main hubs of the Student Services building, the College of Business and Economics, and at the bus shelters near the bookstore and the main entrance to campus (see Campus Maps).

While the new semester holds much excitement, we are aware of the stress many have felt from the volcanic eruption event that began in early May. Please reach out for support if you have been directly affected. Visit our informational website Puna Lava Flow for FAQs, information on housing, safety, wellness resources, contact information, and more.

If you have general questions, here is contact information for the following topics:

Study hard, do good work, and take good care of each other. I know you will achieve every success in your educational endeavors.

Have a great semester!

Marcia Sakai
Interim Chancellor, UH Hilo

Interim Chancellor’s Message to Faculty & Staff: Welcome to Fall 2018 Semester

UH Hilo ‘Ohana,

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.Aloha and welcome back to returning faculty and staff. On behalf of the university, I send a special welcome to new faculty and staff joining our UH Hilo ‘ohana.

We have an exciting semester ahead with many opportunities for you to engage with the university community. We are planning an invited speaker series, fairs, exhibits, performances, and presentations on the extraordinary work of UH Hilo faculty and staff. Professional development events will challenge you to expand your knowledge and skills.

The volcanic eruption event that began in early May has touched all our lives. Please reach out for support if you have been directly affected. Visit our informational website for FAQs, information on housing, safety, wellness resources, contact information, and more.

I also encourage you to be especially sensitive to the needs of our students whose lives have been disrupted from the flow. The spirit of aloha will go a long way to help keep us all on track and moving forward with our work, our studies, and our lives.

Please welcome our new students and their families who are here to engage in the many Fall Orientation activities planned for them this week. I hope you’ll join us for Convocation on August 15 at 12:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center. Let’s also be ready to welcome back our returning students and the new academic year.

Have a great semester!

Marcia Sakai

UH Hilo staff plan kīpaepae welina and convocation for new incoming students and their ‘ohana

University community pulls together to assist in this cultural way of welcoming incoming students to be a part of the UH Hilo ʻohana.

Chancellor twists ti into lei.
Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai and staff member Kalei Baricuatro make ti leaf lei last week on the lanai of the Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center. The leis will be given to new students during welcoming ceremonies on Aug. 15.

Click photos to enlarge.

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai joined university staff on the lanai of the Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center last Wednesday to help make 200+ lei la‘i (ti leaf lei) for the newest Vulcans and their ‘ohana.

“For the past two fall orientations, our (university) ‘ohana has come together to make over 400 lei la‘i (ti lef lei) for our new students and their families,” says Shara Mahoe, director of First Year Experience Programs at UH Hilo.

Mahoe says this year, organizers will be incorporating a kīpaepae welina, a welcoming ceremony, prior to the New Student Convocation formal program scheduled for Wednesday, August 15, 2018, at 12:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. Administrators, faculty and staff will assist in this cultural way of welcoming incoming students to be a part of the UH Hilo ʻohana.

There also will be orientation events and workshops before convocation week for people who wish to participate but are unfamiliar or have not attended a kīpaepae. No prior experience is necessary to be a part of the kīpaepae, explains Mahoe.

A Google sign up page has been created so organizers can communicate with admin, faculty and staff that would like to participate.

“Let us gather together as the UH Hilo ʻohana and welcome our new students on their academic journey!” says Mahoe in an email to the university community.

Message from the Chancellors on Hurricane Hector

Aloha University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College Faculty, Staff, and Students:

Photo of hurricane blown palms, with the word "Ready" and a check mark in the left top cornerPlease be advised that as of 8:00 a.m. today, Aug. 7, 2018, the center of Hurricane Hector was located approximately 540 miles east-southeast of Hilo, with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per  hour with occasional higher gusts. Forecasters note that hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles.

The storm is expected to pass approximately 165 miles south of Hawai‘i Island on Wednesday, Aug. 8. However, only a small deviation to the north of the forecast track could bring tropical storm force winds to Hawai‘i Island later tonight or tomorrow.

Possible impacts include:

  • Surf: Swells generated by Hector are forecast to reach southeast and east shores late today. A high surf warning has been issued for east-facing shores of Hawai‘i Island. This is in effect from noon today through 6:00 p.m. tomorrow.
  • Wind: Tropical storm force winds are possible across Hawai‘i Island late today and tomorrow.

As conditions warrant, we will send out announcements or alerts via email. To receive alerts on mobile phones, you may sign up online for UH Alert Notifications.

Additionally, information on hurricane preparedness can be found at the national public service website on Hurricanes.

We continue to monitor Hurricane Hector and are working closely with Hawai‘i County Civil Defense as well as other county and state agencies to remain prepared and informed.

Mahalo, and stay safe.

Marcia Sakai, Interim Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
Rachel Solemsaas, Chancellor, Hawai‘i Community College

Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column: Helping UH Hilo campus and local communities during Kīlauea eruption

Throughout this eruption, our campus and local communities have shown once again that we are sustained and made stronger by the spirit of caring for one another.

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is closely monitoring the current Kīlauea eruption and giving assistance to our students, faculty and staff who are affected. No other campus in the country deals with the wide range of natural challenges that we have here on Hawai‘i Island, and the university ‘ohana is meeting the challenge this summer—we are doing what we can to help our campus and local communities..

Support for campus community

UH Hilo classes and operations are continuing as usual this summer and into the fall semester. Since the onset of the eruption in May, a high priority has been outreach to students who are directly impacted. We continue to provide emergency housing for students who are displaced by the lava flows and we are looking at options for extending some level of emergency housing for students into the fall semester.

Information is available in myriad ways to provide all students and their parents, faculty and staff with support through campus and community resources.

For example, we regularly update the 2018 Puna Lava Flow website with information for our university ‘ohana such as recent messages from the Office of the Chancellor, FAQs, information on housing, safety, wellness resources, contact information, and more.

Farrah Marie Gomes
Farrah-Marie Gomes

The Division of Student Affairs has increased outreach to prospective, new and current students through email, phone, and social media. Our Counseling Services are available for assistance with counseling, consulting, and outreach to help students find appropriate resources.

Our Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Farrah-Marie Gomes is personally available as the point of contact for student inquiries relating to housing, food, transportation, counseling or other needs.

Community outreach

On another front, UH Hilo is directly involved in the emergency response efforts by providing a safe haven for agencies and organizations directly involved in monitoring the eruption and supporting the many individuals and families impacted.

The Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory, previously located in Volcanoes National Park, which is now closed due to the eruption, has moved their operation and staff to the UH Hilo campus. This includes personnel from the U.S. Geological Survey that were sent to Hawaiʻi to respond to the eruption. USGS is the source of information for county and state emergency officials when it comes to volcanic and earthquake hazards.

Red Cross worker at lava flow
Red Cross worker at lava eruption.

We also are hosting the American Red Cross Hawai‘i Chapter operation headquarters for disaster response. Red Cross, along with Hawai‘i County partners, are supporting the shelters and have distributed thousands of necessary items and are working with the Salvation Army to provide meals. Additionally, trained Red Cross nurses and mental health volunteers are staffing the shelters and have provided health and mental health services to those in need.

Data collection

In addition to these support systems set up on campus, UH Hilo is playing a vital role in the emergency response to this historic volcanic eruption. UH Hilo professors, scientists and students are providing valuable expertise and resources on multiple fronts, helping government officials assess the hazards to personnel and the public, and decide where and how to respond.

Scientist examining lava sample.
UH Hilo scientist examines lava sample.

One team of UH Hilo scientists is collecting visual data of the lava flows via drones. Another team is collecting daily samples of lava, doing lab analysis, and getting the information back to USGS within hours. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for UH Hilo undergraduate students who are testing the lava samples.

UH Hilo also is providing another vital resource to USGS—highly qualified employees. Three recent graduates of UH Hilo are among the two dozen USGS personnel working around the clock to gather and analyze up-to-the-minute information on the eruption and lava flows.

Stay informed

I encourage everyone on our island affected by the eruption or other natural disasters to review their personal preparations and emergency plans. Always listen to the latest County Civil Defense messages on the radio and TV, visit the CD website daily, and follow the instructions. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website is the best resource for daily eruption updates.

Throughout this eruption, our campus and local communities have shown once again that we are sustained and made stronger by the spirit of caring for one another. We are going through this emergency together, supporting each other through crisis, recovery and eventual reconstruction—this serves as a model for communities throughout the world dealing with disaster response. UH Hilo is committed to its role in this important work.

Stay safe.

Marcia Sakai

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