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UH Hilo Chancellor's Blog Posts

UH Hilo’s first Zero Waste Event is a huge success

Kristine Kubat (left) and Jordan from Recycle Hawai‘i stand proudly outside UH Hilo’s Campus Center Plaza with the resource recovery of breakfast waste from the first day of Orientation Week.

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is conducting a Zero Waste Event on campus this week during Orientation. Cam Muir, biology professor and chair of UH Hilo’s Energy Savings and Sustainability Committee, announced Monday that the waste reclamation results on the first day of the event were 55 gallons of compostable materials, eight gallons of recyclables, and one-half pint of trash.

“The success of the event so far is the result of the work of the organizers as well as all the Orientation Week leaders and especially the patience, understanding, and enthusiasm of the freshman class and their parents,” says Muir. “Numerous students and their parents thanked us for the effort and virtually everyone got into the learning aspects, with some passing the learning forward to their new friends.”

The event is organized by Kristine Kubat of Recycle Hawai‘i, Lucas Moe of UH Hilo’s orientation office, and Muir of UH Hilo’s Office of Sustainability.

Muir says “zero waste” is meant to be a goal where all the waste generated at UH Hilo can be diverted to either compost or recycling. He says attaining this goal depends not only on the effort it takes to sort waste “at the bin,” but also begs effort at the “point of purchase.”

“I don’t think the important thing is actually attaining zero percent trash,” he says. “I believe the point is to reduce the non-divertible trash to as close to zero as possible while recovering as much useable resource from our trash as possible.”

Much can be accomplished with minimal effort. As this week’s Zero Waste Event shows, 96 percent of all waste has been diverted away from the landfill. Muir says this is important because as an institution, UH Hilo generates a tremendous amount of waste that is sent to Hilo’s landfill.

“If we can divert a large amount of that waste we can not only ameliorate the negative effects that UH Hilo is having on our local environment but also save thousands on our trash hauling,” he says.

Muir notes that an important part of the zero waste effort is recognizing that much of the trash generated at the university is actually usable resources. Instead of packaging the waste, almost all of it can be turned into soil and other recycled materials, thus reducing the need to cut down more trees for paper, mine more aluminum for cans, or import soil from the continent, he says.

“Of course, as a university, we also have the obligation to educate our students about behaviors that will be more sustainable for our society,” Muir says. “Seeing the response this week from our new students and their parents, the teacher in me has been singing!”

Muir hopes this will be the first of many such initiatives and that as a campus community, UH Hilo will be inspired by the tremendous success of the new freshmen in this first Zero Waste Event.

“My goal is to follow up this event with a proliferation of such events,” he says. “I also hope to expand the effort to a Zero Waste Week, a Zero Waste Semester, and ultimately a Zero Waste Campus. I believe we can do this and I believe that we are educationally, financially, and ethically obliged to try.”

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Video: UH Innovation Initiative discussed

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The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo will have an important role in a new statewide economic development initiative headed by UH President M.R.C. Greenwood.

Kelli Abe Trifonovitch, director of communications and outreach for the UH Innovation Initiative, recently moderated a discussion on UH’s role in Hawai‘i’s economic development with Peter Quigley, UH vice president for community colleges, Jeanne Unemori Skog, Maui Economic Development, and Mitch D’Olier, president and CEO of Kaneohe Ranch on O‘ahu.

“In this program we’ll be talking about economic development with focus on UH’s Innovation Initiative,” says Trifonovitch. “Economic development is a critically important topic and the University of Hawai‘i may have found the way forward for the diversification problem that has vexed our state for decades.”

UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney encourages everyone interested in learning more about the UH Innovation Initiative to watch the video, which includes discussion about the important role of UH Hilo in future economic growth of the state.


Learn more about UH’s Innovation Initiative.  

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Chancellor Straney attends the Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference

UH Hilo recently became a member of the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance, host of this week’s Hawai‘i Conservation Conference in Honolulu. HCA is a statewide joint partnership between conservation-focused government, education, and non-profit organizations.

University of Hawaiʻi President M.R.C. Greenwood spoke at the 20th Annual Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center on July 31 in Honolulu. Pictured from left is Markus Staib, president of Milici Valenti Ng Pack; Sharon Ziegler-Chong, director of the UH Hilo Pacific Islands Program for Exploring Science; President Greenwood; Michael Chang, deputy program manager of Hawaiʻi Energy; and James Hardway, executive director of the Workforce Development Council, Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Photo courtesy of UH System News.

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney attended the Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference this week in Honolulu. UH President M.R.C. Greenwood gave a speech at the conference on institutional preparation for a future economy consisting of green jobs and how UH is preparing future generations to compete in a green job market.

The annual conference is hosted by the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance and brings together researchers, resource managers, community members and educators. Over the last several years UH Hilo faculty, staff and students have given noteworthy presentations at the conference. This year’s conference was held July 31 through August 2 at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center.

UH Hilo recently became a member of the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance, a statewide joint partnership between conservation-focused government, education, and non-profit organizations. There are 19 members of the collaborative group working together to manage the biodiversity of Hawai‘i’s lands and waters. HCA members also include those who work with land and water for social, cultural, and agricultural purposes.

“UH Hilo’s efforts in conservation research on important issues such as climate change, endangered and invasive species, and ecosystem management have grown significantly over the last 15 years,” says Chancellor Straney. “Those activities provide a rich learning laboratory for our students and create strong ties with the community and our agency partners.”

Jim Beets, professor of marine science, will represent UH Hilo on the HCA Steering Committee.

Members of HCA include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Geological Survey, Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Bishop Museum, and Kamehameha Schools, among others.

“HCA provides unified leadership and advocacy on conservation issues critical to Hawai‘i,” says Straney. “UH Hilo focuses on connecting its research and efforts to our island community through its students, faculty and partnerships. We look forward to collaborating with these groups and organizations to address the urgent conservation issues facing our state.”

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Chancellor Straney speaks at United Filipino Council of Hawaii convention

Chancellor Straney speaks at the annual convention of the United Filipino Council of Hawaii. Photo by Milli Asuncion.

Donald Straney, chancellor at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, delivered a speech at the annual convention of the United Filipino Council of Hawaii on July 28. This past February, the chancellor met with members of the group to discuss Filipino community concerns specifically related to the establishment of a Filipino Certificate Program at UH Hilo. At the meeting, the chancellor was invited to attend the annual convention of the United Filipino Council, held in Hilo July 27-28.

The United Filipino Council of Hawaii is the umbrella group for many Filipino organizations throughout the state; about 100 members were in attendance at the convention, which included panel discussions about current and important issues in the Filipino community.

Chancellor Straney was invited to discuss higher education as it relates to the Filipino community. Excerpted highlights from Chancellor Straney’s speech:

UH Hilo’s vision is to challenge students to achieve their best, engage in applied learning experiences, and connect with Hawai‘i and the world. We are an applied university with undergraduate degrees, and master and PhD programs in selected areas. We’re at 4,100 students growing on the order of 2-5% a year. 70% are state residents; 22% Native Hawaiian; 6.2% Filipino; and 8% international. 23% freshman from O‘ahu, 15% live on campus. 34% graduate in 6 years.

Numbers are a challenge. The presence of so many people of mixed heritage makes counting difficult. The federal reporting system has long assumed that people are one thing or another. At best, they are “mixed.” Hawai‘i is not well characterized by this approach to counting. In Hilo: Since Fall 2011, the Institutional Research Office can now pull numbers with more than one ethnic group (unreported results). IRO report for Fall 2011 shows 257 Filipino students or 6.2% of all students. But if you use the “unreported results,” it was actually 811 Filipino students or 19.6%.

–In 25 years, Filipinos have moved to be the second most numerous ethnic group in the state. The 1988 Pamantasan Report, a report done by the UH Task Force on Filipinos, found five areas in need of improvement to address the long-standing need of the Filipino community to have greater and more equitable access to higher education in the state. I’ll go through each area, from a UH Hilo perspective.

1) Recruitment and Retention of Students in Higher Education

We have a UH Hilo Filipino Advisory Committee.

Internships that give students applied learning experience, preparing them well for employment or higher degrees.

Financial aid totals $44.4 million. 65% of our students receive financial aid; 80% of total freshmen. Our students have a 5.5% default rate, which is below the national average.
Financial Aid of special interest to Filipinos includes the Que Andrada Scholarship. Two scholarship endowments were established, at UH Hilo and UH West O‘ahu. The scholarship at UH Hilo supports a full time undergraduate who can demonstrate participation in activities related to Filipino culture, including volunteering for organizations serving the Filipino community or enrolling in programs or educational offerings related to Filipino culture.

UH Hilo received Gear Up funds for the School of Nursing sponsored Pulama I Ke Ola Healthcare Conference. This past year we awarded about 60 scholarships to deserving students, many of whom were Filipino and other underrepresented minorities. We will do this again next spring.

The Minority Access and Achievement Program has been the primary student support program for Filipino students at UH Hilo. MAAP Peer Assistant Linkages and Support program provides peer mentoring for first year students as well as transfers of the 60-90 students who participate each year, at least 50% are Filipino.

MAAP has received grants funds for a Filipino Transfer Project of Hawai‘i Community College to transfer to UH Hilo. The funds have been used to support transfer peer mentors, transfer activities and workshops and a transfer brochure.

The Dorrance Scholarship is an innovative, four-year award designed to benefit local students who are the first in their family to attend college. Each year, up to 10 eligible students are awarded need-based scholarships of $8,000 per year to attend UH Hilo. Awards are renewable for a total of eight semesters of funding. The Dorrance Scholarship addresses a critical need at UH Hilo, where some 70% of its 4,100 students are the first in their family to attend college.

Upward Bound at UH Hilo currently serves 178 students annually of which, 62% are Filipino. The current target schools are Hilo High, Waiakea, Keaʻau, Pāhoa, Kaʻū, Honokaʻa and Kohala. In AY 2012-2013, Honokaʻa and Kohala will be dropped and Kealakehe and Konawaena will be added.

2) Inclusion of Philippine or Filipino-Related Courses into the Curriculum

6% of UH Hilo faculty are Filipino.

We have established the Filipino Certificate Program to provide learning opportunities for students interested in understanding the multifaceted nature of the Philippines and Filipinos, including language, culture, history, literature, politics, economics and natural resources.

We’ve recently hired a permanent Filipino Studies faculty, Dr. Rodney Jubilado, who will be starting this Fall. Dr Jubilado’s prior position was at the Department of Asian and European Languages, Faculty of Languages & Linguistics Building, University of Malaya. He holds a master of arts in linguistics from the University of Philippines, and doctor of philosophy in theoretical linguistics from the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

3) Filipinos in the State Department of Education

A number of Filipino students have graduated from our Teacher Education Program.

4) Employment of Filipinos in the Professions

Majors: Most Filipinos are in Biology, Prenursing, Nursing, Pharmacy, or Business programs. Nursing is one area where Filipino enrollment and graduation is high; Pharmacy is becoming another area.

At UH Hilo employee data show 23 employees claim Filipino, which is 4.2% of our 551 employees as compared to 14.1% in Hawai‘i overall. UH Hilo Filipino employees by category: 65% civil service (15); 21.7% administrative, professional and technical (5); 14.3% faculty (3).

5) Relations between Philippine and U.S. Institutions of Higher Education

We have had no exchange agreements with colleges or universities in the Philippines. Bruce Matthews, agriculture, and Kevin Hopkins, aquaculture, have done work in the Philippines. Now that we have a Filipino Studies certificate program it would make sense to have an exchange agreement and/or study abroad programs.

Potential exchange partners in the Philippines, in addition to University of the Philippines, are: Xavier University and De La Salle University.

I recently attended a Presidential Forum hosted by the University of Guam. The panel included the vice chancellor from the University of the Philippines (Dr. Alfredo Pascual is the president of the University of the Philippines). Also represented were Guam Community College, University of Virgin Islands, Mapua Institute of Technology, and Fiji National University.

In conclusion, I’d like to emphasize that universities do not work alone. Families help recruit students and help tutor students, for example math tutoring. Communities help recruit faculty, for example, physicians in Hilo. We all help each other create careers.

Our goal is to serve the needs of the state and its people. At UH Hilo in particular, we are emphasizing how we have an impact on the community. Together, we are working to create a vibrant future for the state.

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Chancellor Straney gives talk on UH Hilo’s impact on the local economy

Chuck Erskine (left), vice president of Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Economic Development Committee introduced Chancellor Straney. Mr. Erskine is assistant vice president and area manager for the Waimea Branch of First Hawaiian Bank.

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney gave a presentation today to local business leaders on UH Hilo’s impact on the economic life of Hawai‘i island. The luncheon event, held at Restaurant Encore in Hilo, was sponsored by the Economic Development Committees of the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawai‘i.

Local business leaders listen to Chancellor Straney’s presentation.

Chancellor Straney’s talk, entitled, “Toward a Vibrant Economy for 21st Century Hawaii,” focused on UH Hilo’s role in the Hawai‘i island economy as a thriving enterprise creating thousands of jobs, generating millions in revenues, and developing educational and outreach programs in answer to island and state needs.

“We’re an island that has some special economic needs that universities and community colleges are supposed to help address,” says Chancellor Straney. “The need for post secondary education is strong, both in preparation for people to enter the workforce, and preparation for people to create and develop careers. Hawai‘i Community College and UH Hilo are poised to serve the county extremely well.”

View PowerPoint.  

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