Mar 222016
 

Food waste and recycling, baseline accounting to measure progress, energy reduction measures, and ways of better engaging the campus community to participate in sustainability efforts were discussed at statewide summit.

By Susan Enright.

UH Hilo

A collaborative contingent of faculty, staff and students from UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College attended the 4th Annual Hawai‘i Sustainability in Higher Education Summit held March 10-12 in Honolulu. Front row: Ted Le Jeune, Norman Arancon, Michelle Agbigay, and UH Hilo students Briki Cajandig, Adrienne Gurbindo, and Victoria Haili. Back row: UH Hilo student Zach Solarte, Ryan Perroy, Skye, Shihwu Sung, Miguel Bravo Escobar, Wes Owens, and UH Hilo student Kimo Melcher. Courtesy photo.

A group of faculty, staff and students from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo attended the 4th Annual Hawai‘i Sustainability in Higher Education Summit held March 10-12 in Honolulu. The annual event provides a platform for leaders in sustainability across the state to share best practices, network, and engage with the university. The group attending from Hilo represented the campus-wide effort to increase energy savings and sustainability programs throughout the university.

Working sessions

There were four working sessions at the summit:

  1. Campus Sustainability Planning
  2. Curriculum Coordination
  3. Student Leadership
  4. Strategic Energy Management

A wide range of experts from UH Hilo attended the various sessions and the takeaways were invaluable to UH Hilo’s continued progress with energy savings and sustainability measures.

Ryan Perroy, aloha shirt, glasses, smiling at camera.

Ryan Perroy

“UH Hilo had representatives at all sessions,” says Ryan Perroy, an assistant professor of geography and chair of the UH Hilo Energy Savings and Sustainability Committee.

Perroy attended the campus sustainability planning sessions along with UH Hilo student Victoria Haili and Associate Professor of Horticulture Norman Arancon who specializes in sustainable agriculture. Perroy says “it was very interesting to hear from all the different campuses and their varied approaches to hitting the sustainability targets outlined in the UH Board of Regents sustainability policy.”

Professor of Applied Engineering Shihwu Sung attended the curriculum coordination sessions, facilities planner Ted Le Jeune and fiscal specialist Michelle Agbigay attended the strategic energy management sessions, and students Kimo Melcher and Adrienne Gurbindo attended the student leadership sessions.

“(All UH campuses) have a very long way to go but progress is being made,” says Perroy. “UH Hilo is leading the way in some areas, including establishing and using our Energy Reinvestment Project Account, which is designed to take the financial savings from energy efficiency projects and use them to fund additional on-campus energy projects.”

Lo-Li Chih, UH Hilo director of facilities planning, is responsible for creating that account and it is a model other campuses are considering.

In addition, food waste and recycling, baseline accounting to measure progress, energy reduction measures, and ways of better engaging the campus community to participate in sustainability efforts were all discussed. “This work is obviously ongoing,” says Perroy.

The UH Hilo sustainability committee will be meeting after spring break to continue efforts and discuss the next steps moving forward.

President’s Award

During the summit, UH Hilo electrician Kevin Hand was awarded the President’s Award for Excellence in Sustainable Facilities Management, which is a system-wide award. Perroy accepted the award on behalf of the electrician, who did not attend the summit.

“The award was well-deserved,” says Perroy, “for all the hard and innovative work he has been doing on light fixtures and other energy-savings activities (on campus).”

Earth Day

One of the related events coming up will be the annual Earth Day Fair, in collaboration with Hawai‘i Community College, which will bring well over 1000 local area students to campus and this year will have a number of events targeted to the UH Hilo undergraduate student body.

These targeted events will include a panel on local and sustainable food production, multiple featured speakers, and a free showing of the film, Racing Extinction.

 

About the author of this story: Susan Enright is a public information specialist in the Office of the Chancellor. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.

-UH Hilo Stories