Skip to content →

Category: Remarks, Messages, & Writings

Hawai‘i Community College launches “Local First” menus

Announcement from UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney.

Aloha,

Hawai‘i Community College, in partnership with the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, aims to support the development of farms and the agricultural industry on Hawai‘i island by showcasing the high quality and variety of local produce and products available through the “Local First” program.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 15, is the inaugural day for Hawai‘i Community College on Manono Campus to serve “Local First.” Chefs Allan Okuda and Sandra Barr-Rivera are putting together an exciting menu for this special day. Local foods will be featured in the cafeteria and in the fine dining Bamboo Hale.

The West Hawai‘i Campus, under the direction of James Lightner and Chef Paul, started Local First Friday on Feb. 3. The next will be this Friday, Feb. 17.

Let’s support our local farmers and businesses and the Local First program at both Hawai‘i Community College and UH Hilo.

Don Straney

Comments closed

Column by the Chancellor in UH Hilo’s Newsletter: Ka Lono Hanakahi, February 2012

Message from University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney

Ka Lono Hanakahi, UH Hilo’s Faculty and Staff Newsletter 

February 2012

UH Hilo hosts Community Vision Summit

One of our greatest accomplishments in 2011 was the university ‘ohana and surrounding local community working together to develop UH Hilo’s new Strategic Plan. The long term plan gives us a pathway to the future and guides us as we start 2012, placing strong emphasis on our kuleana, our responsibility, to improving the quality of life for our island’s people and our local community as a whole. One of the ways to honor this commitment is to strengthen partnerships and collaborations, share our understanding, and work together with the community to discover innovative ways to educate our citizens and grow our economy.

In December, I invited 27 leaders from our community—representatives of education, health, technology, business, local government, and community non-profits—to convene for a Community Vision Summit. The discussions were lively and fruitful, focusing on the strategic directions of UH Hilo in the coming years. The group talked about their shared vision of our island’s future, and how to build two-way relationships to reach our common goals.

Working together, the participants provided helpful guidance about the university’s role in strengthening our community. The importance of UH Hilo’s role in the P-20 education system was emphasized. There was a great sense of people wanting to work together to provide education and life-long learning opportunities matched to workforce development needs. In addition, emphasis was placed on undertaking research and development relevant to the people, environment, and culture of our island and state.

The discussion identified three key areas where UH Hilo could have the biggest impact on improving the quality of life on our island:

1.  Be a Catalyst for Local Economic Development

A common concern was the Hawai‘i island economy and high unemployment. Participants observed that many local students must re-locate because Hawai‘i island does not have sufficient employment opportunities. Participants highlighted the role UH Hilo might play in building connections with local industries that could let students apply what they are learning to the workplace. Participants recommended this be achieved through educating and training local students to move into the island’s growing industries in health care, energy, agriculture and information technology. As these conversations expanded there emerged a larger recurring theme of UH Hilo as a “driver” for Hawai‘i island economic development, with UH Hilo not only taking the lead on the new job trends but also communicating this to the community. Participants felt this would produce a “fire in the belly” for motivation in education.

2.  Bridge Our Island’s Multiple Sectors

One focus of discussion was the role that UH Hilo can play as a champion for dialogue between multiple sectors. Participants recommended the university develop an economic engine model that is rooted in the culture, values, traditions and community of the island, one that connects the university, K–12 education, industry, community, and policy. Participants also recommended public-private partnerships that enhance applied learning with feeder programs, where opportunities can enhance student retention. It was suggested the university start small by using successful programs, i.e., linking UH Hilo’s nationally-recognized computer science program with projects based in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM fields) that include the Thirty Meter Telescope’s future development, Hawai‘i Community College’s technology education, local high schools’ career academies, and Hawaiian culture with ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center.

3.  Strengthen Community Relationships

While bridging across sectors was identified as important, equally so was the need to strengthen and maintain such relationships over time. Particularly noted was the need for the university to actively strengthen and maintain reciprocal relationships with local businesses, government, and non-profits to empower higher education and workforce development. For example, internships with small businesses to fuel student ambition and problem-solving capacity, build entrepreneurial skills, creativity, and critical thinking. It was also suggested that UH Hilo could help strengthen community relationships by empowering students to utilize local products in order to encourage local entrepreneurship and provide opportunities to create more jobs.

The Community Vision Summit was a great success and I appreciate the time and effort made by everyone. I was reminded that the greatest resource we have is the people of our island—when we put our minds to it, we can work together to create a bright future for our island and state.

This summit is the first of a series of meetings where I plan to hear from different parts of the community about ways UH Hilo can drive local economic development, bridge our island’s multiple sectors, and strengthen the university’s relationships with the community.

You can read a full summary report on the summit and other news from the Office of the Chancellor on my blog.

Don Straney

Comments closed

Column by the Chancellor in Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce Newsletter: February 2012

Message from UH Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
Chamber Connection Newsletter
Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce

February 2012

UH Hilo and the state collaborate on energy and food sustainability

Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce LogoOne of the goals in the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s new Strategic Plan is to foster a sustainable environment on campus, one that gives students, faculty and staff the best possible place in which to study, work and live. One of the key components of this sustainability goal is responsible stewardship for Hawai‘i’s precious natural resources by providing leadership in recycling, sustainable resource use, food production, “green” building design, and use of renewable energy sources on campus.

We already are making great strides in these objectives with the installation of photo voltaic on several of our buildings and promotion of “local first” days in our campus eateries. Our newly re-formed Sustainability Committee is currently discussing new initiatives on energy and recycling. During winter break, our campus community participated in our Green Days initiative, in which many facilities and offices on campus were closed, saving $68.5 thousand in energy costs.

A statewide initiative that dovetails in part with UH Hilo’s sustainability goals is the work of the Hawai‘i EPSCoR Statewide Governance Committee, of which I am co-chair. EPSCoR is a multi-million dollar federally-funded statewide initiative called the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. Taking the lead from Governor Abercrombie’s “A New Day in Hawai‘i” roadmap, in which the governor emphasizes the urgent need to infuse technology and innovation into the economy, the EPSCoR committee is providing leadership for development of the Hawai‘i Statewide Science and Technology Strategic Plan. The committee recently drew up a proposed guide, “Sustaining and Improving Quality of Life for a Prosperous Hawai‘i: A Statewide Framework for Science and Technology,” including a section on energy and food sustainability.

The plan, still in draft form, is meant for state and local governments, businesses, and the education sector and “provides a pathway for sparking conversations and actions that will bring to bear the latest knowledge and technology to grow, diversify and strengthen a resilient state economy, and improve the overall quality of life for Hawai‘i residents.” The plan advocates four key objectives: 1) strengthen the sci-tech talent pool; 2) foster synergies between Hawaii’s sci-tech businesses and institutions; 3) advance sci-tech for a healthy state; and 4) invest in sci-tech for a resilient, sustainable island state.

Objective 4 addresses the current model in which the state imports 90% of its energy (through oil) and 85% of its food need; the EPSCoR committee expresses concern that Hawai‘i is therefore exposed to increased risks relating to energy and food supplies. “Investment in scientific and technological research to help Hawai‘i produce more of its own energy and food for domestic use and exportation will help to ensure that the state is protected,” the draft plan states.

I’ve placed as one of my priorities the advocacy of initiatives that bring us closer to a truly sustainable campus, island, and state. Governor Abercrombie’s New Day roadmap, UH Hilo’s strategic plan, and EPSCoR’s draft sci-tech guide all encourage discussion and collaboration to advance the objectives I’ve discussed above. In last month’s column, I wrote about convening the first UH Hilo Community Vision Summit with leaders from our local community—representatives of education, health, technology, business, local government, and community non-profits. Among the most prevalent topics at the summit was UH Hilo’s focus on energy and agriculture. “UH Hilo has to focus on the new trends where jobs are and communicate this to the community,” said one participant. “This will produce the ‘fire in the belly’ for motivation in education.”

More community vision summits are planned for the near future. I look forward to working with the chamber and its members to advance sustainable initiatives and practices for the benefit of our island and state.

For more news from the Office of the Chancellor, visit my blog.

Don Straney

Comments closed

Column by the Chancellor in UH Hilo’s Newsletter: Ka Lono Hanakahi, January 2012

Message from University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney

Ka Lono Hanakahi, UH Hilo’s Faculty and Staff Newsletter 

January 2012

 UH Hilo and the state collaborate on sustainability with energy and food

One of our greatest accomplishments in 2011 was the university ‘ohana and surrounding local community working together to develop UH Hilo’s new strategic plan. The long term plan gives us a pathway to the future and guides us as we start 2012. One of the goals, which I’d like to discuss in this column, is to foster a vibrant and sustainable environment within which to study, work and live. The aim is to develop an attractive and sustainable physical, technical, and organizational infrastructure that engenders a greater sense of pride in UH Hilo as a vibrant and welcoming institution of higher education.

One of the key components of this “sustainability goal” is responsible stewardship for Hawai‘i’s precious natural resources by developing an environmental sustainability plan to exhibit leadership in recycling, sustainable resource use, food production, “green” building design, and use of renewable energy sources on campus. We already are making great strides in these objectives and you can read about several projects currently underway on campus in Ken Hupp’s cover story in this edition of Ka Lono Hanakahi.

UH Hilo is not in a vacuum working on sustainability issues—this is a trend found not only on our campus but throughout our entire island and state. A statewide initiative that dovetails in part with UH Hilo’s sustainability goals can be found in the work of the Hawai‘i EPSCoR* Statewide Governance Committee, of which I am co-chair and which is providing leadership for development of the Hawai‘i Statewide Science and Technology Strategic Plan. The committee recently submitted a proposed planning and coordination guide to Governor Neil Abercrombie on “Sustaining and Improving Quality of Life for a Prosperous Hawaii: A Statewide Framework for Science and Technology,” including a section on sustainability with energy and food. (*EPSCoR is a multi-million dollar federally-funded and statewide initiative called the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.)

The EPSCoR committee’s plan, still in draft form, is meant for state and local governments, businesses, and the education sector and “provides a pathway for sparking conversations and actions that will bring to bear the latest knowledge and technology to grow, diversify and strengthen a resilient state economy, and improve the overall quality of life for Hawai‘i residents.” The plan advocates four key objectives: 1) strengthen the sci-tech talent pool; 2) foster synergies between Hawaii’s sci-tech businesses and institutions; 3) advance sci-tech for a healthy state; and 4) invest in sci-tech for a resilient, sustainable island state.

In keeping with the theme of Ka Lono’s cover story, I’d like to key in on Objective 4: a sustainable island state. Noting that the state imports 90% of its energy (through oil) and 85% of its food needs, the EPSCoR committee expresses concern in its plan that Hawai‘i is therefore exposed to increased risks relating to energy and food supplies. “If Hawai‘i develops technologies in these areas that reduce dependence on imports, the state will not only have more independence but it will also be less susceptible to variations in the global costs of energy and food,” the plan states. “Investment in scientific and technological research to help Hawai‘i produce more of its own energy and food for domestic use and exportation will help to ensure that the state is protected.”

I’ve placed as one of my priorities the advocacy and support of initiatives that bring us closer to a truly sustainable campus, island, and state. This includes not only the projects underway on campus such as the installation of photo voltaic on several of our buildings and promotion of “Local First” days in our campus eateries, but also, as the EPSCoR plan describes, working to “[c]ultivate a ‘green workforce’ by providing programs and courses in Hawai‘i’s education sector that will ensure Hawai‘i has the skilled workers to solve its energy and food sustainability challenges.” A program that comes to mind is the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management’s beehive management courses based at the university’s agricultural farm lab in Pana‘ewa tackling diseases that threaten to wipe out our island’s primary pollinators.

Both UH Hilo’s strategic plan and EPSCoR’s sci-tech plan encourage the facilitation of discussion and collaboration to advance objectives of each framework. I recently convened 27 leaders from our local community—representatives of education, health, technology, business, local government, and community non-profits—to convene for a Community Vision Summit. The discussions were lively and fruitful, focusing on the strategic directions of UH Hilo in the coming years. The group talked about their shared vision of our island’s future, and how to build two-way relationships to reach our common goals. Among the most prevalent topics was the need for UH Hilo to focus on energy and agriculture. “UH Hilo has to focus on the new trends where jobs are and communicate this to the community,” said one participant. “This will produce the ‘fire in the belly’ for motivation in education.”

For more news from the Office of the Chancellor, please visit my blog.

Don Straney

Comments closed

Column by the Chancellor in Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce Newsletter: January 2012

Message from UH Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
Chamber Connection Newsletter
Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce

January 2012

UH Hilo hosts Community Vision Summit 

First, I want to wish all of you a Happy New Year! I know we all greet 2012 with optimism, looking forward to a bright and prosperous year—but also keeping our eyes wide open to the challenges of the here and now.

One of our accomplishments in 2011 was the university ‘ohana and surrounding local community working together to develop UH Hilo’s new strategic plan (see www.hilo.hawaii.edu/strategicplan). The long term plan gives us a pathway to the future and guides us as we start 2012, placing strong emphasis on our kuleana, our responsibility, to improving the quality of life for our island’s people and our local community as a whole. One of the ways to honor this commitment is to strengthen partnerships and collaborations, share our understanding, and work together with the community to discover innovative ways to educate our citizens and grow our economy.

In early December, I invited 27 leaders from our community—representatives of education, health, technology, business, local government, and community non-profits—to convene for a Community Vision Summit. The discussions were lively and fruitful, focusing on the strategic directions of UH Hilo in the coming years. The group talked about their shared vision of our island’s future, and how to build two-way relationships to reach our common goals.

Working together, the participants provided helpful guidance about the university’s role in strengthening our community. The importance of UH Hilo’s role in the P-20 education system was emphasized. There was a great sense of people wanting to work together to provide education and life-long learning opportunities matched to workforce development needs. In addition, emphasis was placed on undertaking research and development relevant to the people, environment, and culture of our island and state.

The discussion identified three key areas where UH Hilo could have the biggest impact on improving the quality of life on our island:

  1. Be a Catalyst for Local Economic Development. Participants highlighted the role that UH Hilo should play in building connections with local industries that could let students apply what they are learning to the workplace. Participants recommended that this can be achieved by the university educating and training local students to move into the island’s growing industries in health care, energy, agriculture and information technology.
  2. Bridge Our Island’s Multiple Sectors. A focus of discussion was the role that UH Hilo can play as a champion for dialogue and discussion between multiple sectors. Participants recommended the university develop an economic engine and model that is rooted in the culture, values, traditions and community of the island, one that connects the university, K–12 education, industry, community, and policy. Participants also recommended public-private partnerships that enhance applied learning with feeder programs, where opportunities can enhance student retention. 
  3. Strengthen Community Relationships. While bridging across sectors was identified as important, equally so was the need to strengthen and maintain such relationships over time so that UH Hilo’s continued impact occurs in partnership with the community. Particularly noted was the need for the university to actively strengthen and maintain reciprocal relationships with local businesses, government, and non-profits to empower higher education and workforce development. For example, internships with small businesses to fuel student ambition and problem-solving capacity, build entrepreneurial skills, creativity, and critical thinking.

The meeting was a great success and I appreciate the time and effort made by everyone. I was reminded that the greatest resource we have is the people of our island—when we put our minds to it, we can work together to create a bright future for our island and state. This summit is the first of a series of meetings where I plan to hear from different parts of the community about ways UH Hilo can drive local economic development, bridge our island’s multiple sectors, and strengthen the university’s relationships with the community.

The Hawai‘i island community is a vital partner in the mission of UH Hilo. We appreciate the excellent relationships that have grown strong over the years with groups like the Chamber and people in business across the island. I look forward to working with you in 2012 to create a prosperous future for the people of Hawai‘i.

Happy New Year!

Don Straney

PDF of Community Vision Summit Report 

Comments closed