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UH Hilo awarded Native Hawaiian Educational Improvement grant

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Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has received more than $1.7 million from the U.S. Department of Education to upgrade educational opportunities for Native Hawaiian students.

The funding is part of a $6.4 million grant awarded to various Hawaiʻi colleges and universities from the Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions program, which helps schools enhance the quality of academic programs while improving institutional management and maintaining sound fiscal policies.

Principal Investigator Gail Makuakane-Lundin said UH Hilo’s share of the funding is a one-year renovation grant that begins on October 1, 2009. The grant will be used to expand the Kipuka Native Hawaiian Center, where she serves as director and executive coordinator of student development programs.

“The Center has become an important gathering place for students and faculty,” said Makuakane-Lundin, who will serve as project director. “That role takes on added importance as our Native Hawaiian student population has grown to comprise more than 21 percent of our total student body—by far the highest percentage among the three schools who received funding from the program.”

Kipuka’s expansion will increase the size of the Center by 1,000 square-feet, enabling the University to develop and improve Native Hawaiian academic curriculum and establish a multi-cultural development program for faculty and staff. The project will also enhance the Center’s efforts to promote sustainable practices by installing more solar panels, which will generate approximately 30 kilowatts of energy in addition to the 10 kilowatts already produced by existing solar panels that were turned on in April.

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