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Tag: UH Hilo Community

UH Hilo Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai meets with local press

Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai hosted a Coffee Hour with the local press today on the campus of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Interim Chancellor Sakai shared the following information in her PowerPoint.

The Flow

Large group of students and staff in orange safety vests, some hollding drones and other equipment.
UH HILO DRONE TEAM. UH Hilo had a vital role in response to the recent historic lava eruption on Hawaiʻi Island. In the photo above, students and staff, four holding drones used in aerial surveys, in the field at recent lava flow in Puna. The team piloted drones day and night to capture thermo data and imagery of lava flows, information critical to government agencies overseeing eruption response. They also analyzed threat to Puna Geothermal. Other teams of scientists analyzed chemistry of lava samples at labs on campus. Courtesy photo, click to enlarge.

UH Hilo Most Diverse Four-Year University in the Nation

Large group of students looking up to camera.
Freshman class during Orientation in August 2018. Courtesy photo, click to enlarge.

UH Hilo was recently ranked the Most Diverse 4-Year University in the Nation by the Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac 2018.

The Chronicle’s ranking of the top 10 most diverse public four-year universities and their corresponding diversity indexes:

  1. UH Hilo, 88.9
  2. Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology at Okmulgee, 87.1
  3. UH Maui College, 86.5
  4. UH West Oʻahu, 84.5
  5. Highline College, 81.9
  6. UH Mānoa, 81.6
  7. California State University, East Bay, 79.3
  8. Rutgers University-Newark, 78.9
  9. New Jersey Institute of Technology, 78.5
  10. Seattle Central College, 78.0

Update on Sept 10 UH Hilo Alert

From the UH Hilo Office of the Interim Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs:


This morning UH Hilo Campus Security received a report that an individual on campus was overheard making a threat of gun violence. The alleged threat was not specific to any person or the campus. At the time, the alleged individual was reported to be walking towards the Library. UH Hilo Security had a general description of the alleged individual and proceeded to the Library to investigate. While there was an alleged threat of gun violence, there was insufficient information to determine the credibility of the threat.

The Hawai‘i Police Department was notified of the allegation as a precautionary measure and a UH Alert was sent to the UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College campuses [text and email to those signed up for UH Alert]. UH Hilo Security and the HPD followed through with the person who made the initial report and were able to identify the alleged individual, who was taken for further questioning by the HPD.

While UH Hilo did not consider this to be an Active Shooter event, we acknowledge that this was a traumatic event for some on our campus. Individuals may experience a variety of responses to this type of event on campus, and are encouraged to seek support if they are in distress.

Counseling Services are available for students Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., see contact information online.

You may also contact:

  • 24 Hour Crisis Text Line 741-741. Text “Hello” or “Aloha.”
  • Crisis Line of Hawai‘i 24 Hour Support at 1-800-753-6879.
  • 24 Hour National Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990.
  • Text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.
  • TTY at 1-800-846-8517.

Additional resources are available at UH Hilo Counseling Services and the Disaster Distress Helpline.

Employees may access the free Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at (808) 543-8445 or toll-free at (800) 944-3571. The EAP provides confidential, short-term, professional counseling to employees.  Additional information on the EAP can be found online.

Additional information about what to do in case of incidents on campus may be found online at the UH Hilo Emergency Operations Plan website.

Contact info for UH Hilo Campus Security, and more information at the Campus Security website.

Mahalo for everyone’s cooperation today and attentiveness to safety on campus.

Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column: Giving students an environment where they can thrive

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

Two students playing ball on the new court.
An old outdoor basketball court was refurbished and renamed Pu‘uli‘i (“the hill”) complete with an area to grill food and hang out at covered picnic tables with solar powered recharging stations, USB ports, and Wi-Fi access.

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo community starts the fall semester with exciting new amenities for students to enjoy and several capital improvements in the works.

Places for students to gather

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

An old outdoor basketball court was refurbished and renamed Pu‘uli‘i (“the hill”) complete with an area to grill food and hang out at covered picnic tables with solar powered recharging stations, USB ports, and Wi-Fi access. Several other recharging stations were built near main hubs around campus: the Student Services building, the College of Business and Economics, and at bus shelters near the UH Hilo Bookstore and the main entrance to UH Hilo campus.

The projects were supported by the Office of the Chancellor and the Office of Administrative Affairs.

The tradition of doing summer projects was started by Kolin Kettleson, retired UH Hilo director of auxiliary services, and Gene Harada, a professor at the Hawai‘i Community College carpentry program. Construction is done by carpentry students, and over the years, the collaborative effort has provided a wealth of cost effective campus improvements at UH Hilo while also giving the carpentry students valuable hands-on summer work experience.

There are also several capital improvement projects underway:

Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy

Everything is on track with the new Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy building. Construction began in Sept. 2016 and is about 75 percent complete with a target completion date of May 2019. The project was extended with the allocation of additional funds in FY 2018 to use for audio/visual updates to the building. The updates required some additional design work so that installation can be fully integrated with the original design. Metal roofing installation is ongoing. We are truly looking forward to completion of this project!

Air conditioning and other improvements

Our Life Science Building complex is being substantially renovated with roofing, ventilation and air conditioning, electrical, and lab renovations. ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center’s AC system is also currently under renovation to replace non-working components—this includes the planetarium, exhibit hall, main office, and restaurant. Likewise, College Hall is getting new air conditioning units, a project that will start later this fall.

A larger AC project is the Chilled Water Plant renovation that includes the replacement of the chiller and pump system for a main AC unit serving Mookini Library, Edith Kanaka‘ole Hall, the College of Business and Economics building, and Hawai‘i Community College Business Education and Technology and Computing Center. This project also involves repairs to the chilled water loop that runs throughout campus. The projected completion is later this month.


An AC project at Hale Alahonua residence hall is the first of its kind for our campus—the project will include solar power in the design, with a battery storage system, so essentially it will be a self-contained net-zero system. The project was appropriated $6 million by the State Legislature.

Two other sustainable projects—the Energy Storage Project and the Green Waste to Energy Project—involve the construction of an Energy Storage Device to manage peak electrical demand. Work is taking place near the Sciences and Technology Building. The project began in August 2017 and is ongoing, expected to be completed in the next couple of months.

UH Hilo is already a leader in the UH System on sub-metering and baseline data recording, bi-level lighting, energy requirements in design contracts, a reinvestment account, and Hawai‘i Energy Rebates, so the solar AC, Energy Storage, and Green Waste to Energy projects keep us on the leading edge of creating a truly sustainable campus.

Performing arts

Repairs and renovations are underway at the portable buildings that house music classes and the testing center, with completion expected this month. Auxiliary Services has already moved the music rehearsal room back into the building, and will work with the music faculty on the remaining moves.


On Maunakea, the Office of Maunakea Management is overseeing renovation and infrastructure improvements. The ongoing project provides design and construction for infrastructure improvements and renovation within UH’s managed lands on Maunakea, including mid-level facilities at Hale Pohaku, the summit access road, and the Mauna Kea Science Reserve. A current project is site improvements to the Mauna Kea Visitor Center’s parking area.

I mua!

Marcia Sakai
Interim Chancellor, UH Hilo

Message from Interim Chancellor Sakai: Mahalo to UH Hilo staff and administrators for service during Hurricane Lane

Thank you all for being part of the UH Hilo ‘ohana and for our shared commitments to each other.

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.Aloha,

On behalf of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, I’d like to express our deepest appreciation to all the staff and administrators who pulled together and worked tirelessly before, during, and after the campus closure and enabled UH Hilo to be up and operational once again.

The positive manner and teamwork by you and others to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff and the timely communication updates helped to alleviate the anxiety that such an emergency can create.

Thank you all for being part of the UH Hilo ‘ohana and for our shared commitments to each other.


Marcia Sakai
Interim Chancellor