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Tag: Community Outreach

Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column, Jan. 2019: Helping our island and state grow into the future

We at UH Hilo take seriously our kuleana to help provide the workforce for new growth sectors in our economy, the scientific experts to help conserve the precious environment of our island and state, and the technological resources necessary for our communities to meet unexpected crises.

By Marcia Sakai

Aloha and Happy New Year!

I look forward to the coming year as progress and growth continues at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. I’d like to focus this month’s column on a major goal of the university: to strengthen UH Hilo’s impact on the community, island, and state through responsive higher education, community partnerships, and knowledge and technology transfer.

Responsive higher education

The new building to house the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy is well on its way to completion in July. The modern classrooms, offices, student services, and laboratories will answer the great need for state-of-the-art facilities to train the pharmacists who will serve communities in our state and region.

New building to house the UH Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, under construction, Dec. 11, 2018. Photo by Tracy Niimi.

Last month, our new bachelor of science in aeronautical sciences program was approved by the UH Board of Regents. There are two tracks: one in commercial professional pilot training and the other in commercial aerial information technology (drones)—both are projected workforce needs in the state. The pilot training track is cost effective compared to mainland programs. The drone track trains students for growing career opportunities in agriculture, natural resource management, search and rescue, security services, and expected air transport services.

UH Hilo launched its long-planned data science program this past fall by offering a certificate in the fast-growing field. The program is filling a need in the state because almost every branch of science collects massive amounts of data, but there are not a lot of trained people able to analyze that data and make conclusions—for example, here on our island, there is a great need in conservation efforts, water resource management, and climate change research.

Partnerships

Partnerships are key to conducting effective scientific inquiry into 21st century challenges. Here is an example in the field of conservation biology, specifically research to save the endangered ‘alalā (Hawaiian crow) from extinction.

alala
One of the recently released ʻalalā. Photo San Diego Zoo Global.

In collaboration with a Silicon Valley company that provides sophisticated genomic analysis systems, geneticists at UH Hilo and San Diego Zoo Global have fully sequenced the genome of the endangered ‘alalā. Once reduced to a population of about 20 birds, the sequencing of the species’ genome will be important to track any genetic challenges that may occur due to the reduced genetic diversity now seen in the species. This is an extremely important contribution to conservation genetics. The genome assembly is now publicly available.

Currently, the UH Hilo geneticists are collaborating with researchers from California, New Zealand, and Australia to do a genetics study addressing the hatching failure of the ‘alalā and the endangered kākāpō of New Zealand.

Another research team, this one from the UH Hilo Bioacoustics Lab, recently received a $50,000 award from the Disney Conservation Fund to work in collaboration with the ʻAlalā Project, a partnership between the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, San Diego Zoo Global, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to find out if captively reared ‘alalā are developing new vocalizations as they adapt to new situations encountered in the wild. This information will greatly assist in the conservation efforts of ʻalalā.

Knowledge and technology transfer

UH Hilo’s response to the recent lava flow in Puna is a good example of the university sharing its expert knowledge and technology resources for the benefit of our local communities.

As the lava threatened vulnerable communities, Hawai‘i County Civil Defense reached out to UH Hilo’s experts in drone technology to do high-resolution mapping of the flow areas. Government responders needed to pinpoint exact locations of the advancing lava, and the UH Hilo drone team was able to capture overhead shots, and then quickly relay that information to Civil Defense.

Another research team from UH Hilo conducted real-time chemistry analysis of lava samples that helped determine how the lava would behave and how fast it would move. The data provided critical information to the U.S. Geological Survey scientists responding to the natural disaster. The samples were collected daily from the flows, bagged and dated, and brought back to the Hilo campus for analysis. It was the first time scientists looked at the chemistry at the same time the volcano was erupting.

Yet another research team provided precise leveling of the ground around the Puna power plant to detect whether the surface was rising due to the flow of magma beneath the surface. The monitoring would alert officials if the facility was about to be compromised.

The longer-term scientific value of the data collected by these research teams helps government officials better understand these types of eruptions so that responders can do an even better job of predicting in the future.

Thinking ahead

We at UH Hilo take seriously our kuleana to help provide the workforce for new growth sectors in our economy, the scientific experts to help conserve the precious environment of our island and state, and the technological resources necessary for our communities to meet unexpected crises. By working together with our local communities and in collaboration with myriad partners, we help improve the quality of life for everyone.

Wishing you a happy and productive 2019!

Marcia Sakai
Interim Chancellor

2018 Fall Food Drive underway

Non-perishable food items and monetary donations are being accepted and will be donated to the Hawai‘i Island Food Basket

Words: Food Basket Inc, Hawaii Island Food Bank. Against green image of breadfruit.The Fall Food Drive is underway at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. The event, hosted by the Campus and Community Service program is happening from Oct. 29 through Nov. 14, 2018.

Non-perishable food items are accepted and will be donated to the Hawai‘i Island Food Basket. The UH Hilo goal is to raise $550.00 and collect 350 lbs of food. As of Nov. 2, $115.50 and 46.2 lbs of food has been collected.

Food donations can be left at the following locations on campus:

  • Campus Center, room 210
  • School of Education in University Classroom Building, room 313
  • Division of Student Affairs office in Student Services Center, room W-306
  • Performing Arts Center Box Office
  • Athletics Office
  • Mookini Library

Monetary donations can be made at the Campus Center Sodexo Dining Hall at each of the registers or online. Online donations should include the notation “TO UH HILO” in the memo so that it will count towards UH Hilo totals. Checks can also be made, payable to “Hawaii Island Food Basket”—the Campus Community Service office will provide pick up of checks (send an email request for pick up).

Hunger Banquet

The campus community is invited to the Hunger Banquet on Nov. 8, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., in Campus Center, room 301. The event highlights the disparity in access to food and resources globally.

Contact

Campus Community Service office.

Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column: UH Hilo, a leader in diversity

Our campus’s cultural diversity provides an environment in which appreciation for diversity of perspectives can create a healthy community where everyone feels respected and valued.

Large group, Freshman class.
UH Hilo’s Fall 2018 Freshman Class gather on the Campus Center Plaza during Orientation Week, Aug, 15, 2018. In August, The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2018 Almanac ranked UH Hilo as the most diverse four-year public university in the nation. Courtesy photo from the Freshman Experience Program, click to enlarge.

October is Global Diversity Awareness Month and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo has much to celebrate. Our campus prides itself on being an inclusive community, nurturing and supporting a global mix of ethnicities and cultures. In August, The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2018 Almanac ranked UH Hilo as the most diverse four-year public university in the nation! Three other UH campuses also ranked in the top 10.

Our campus’s cultural diversity provides an environment in which appreciation for diversity of perspectives can create a healthy community where everyone feels respected and valued. This is enriching for everyone on campus. But it’s even more than that.

Having local, mainland, Pacific region and other international students all living and learning together gives everyone real experience in the development of global understanding. Students leave our campus and community with a strong sense of the value of diversity in education, commerce, health and welfare—our graduates are already global citizens before graduation, with an understanding that valuing diversity raises the quality of life for everyone.

Let me share something about our people and programs working in support of diversity at UH Hilo.

First, we embrace our responsibility to serve the indigenous people of Hawai‘i and to support Hawai‘i’s indigenous language and culture. Hawai‘i’s people, history, cultures, and natural environment permeate all that we do in teaching, conducting research, and doing outreach to the community.

In addition to our Hawaiian language and cultural revitalization programs, cultural practitioners are part of many programs in the natural sciences, pharmaceutical and health sciences, humanities, and sustainability. Cultural practitioners at our Uluākea program teach faculty in various academic disciplines an authentic and practical understanding of indigenous ways of knowing the world.

Group of people some blowing conch shells.
Cultural practitioners at our Uluākea program teach faculty in various academic disciplines an authentic and practical understanding of indigenous ways of knowing the world. Courtesy photo.

It is from this strong place-based foundation that our campus embraces the world, its peoples and its cultures.

In academics, Professor of Sociology Marina Karides is developing a new track of study focusing on island and indigenous sociology. The curriculum includes courses on indigenous health and well-being, island feminism, and the political economy of Hawai‘i. Students’ theses will be based in indigenous research protocols, and internships will be required with organizations that serve Native Hawaiian and/or indigenous communities.

Through the Study Abroad program, headed by Director of Global Exchange Carolina Lam, our local students have many opportunities to study in another country, giving them real world experience of other cultures and people. Students who study abroad gain valuable skills and expertise for an increasingly internationalized and interdependent world.

Anya Benevides by lake, snow and snow capped mountains in distance.
UH Hilo exchange student Anya Benevides, Narvik, Norway. Courtesy photo.

On campus, UH Hilo hosts incoming exchange students from different nations and cultures each semester in a program headed by Director of Global Exchange Tom Shumway. Almost 100 new international exchange and other international students have joined us this fall—of those about 30 are exchange students with us for one or two semesters and the others degree seeking. About 250 total international students are on campus. Along with international films and speakers, these students present opportunities for an enriched understanding of diverse viewpoints and experiences that benefit our classrooms, our campus, and the greater Hilo community.

Group of people, the host family and their young daughter with students.
The Matsui Family of Hilo is a host family to UH Hilo international students. (Left to right) student La-Arnie Lucky, student Niah Maui, Savannah Matsui, Erin Matsui, Kent Matsui, and student Ngiratkel Singeo. Read story about the Host Family Program welcome event hosted earlier this semester. Courtesy photo, click to enlarge.

At our Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, Director Jennifer Stotter is looking at diversity on campus from the perspective of equity. In addition to ensuring that UH Hilo is following all laws and policies pertaining to equal opportunity, the EEO/AA office also develops training programs and workshops on sexual harassment and discrimination to ensure all on our campus are supported and treated fairly.

LGBTQ+ Center logo, rainbow heart with words: LGBTQ+ Center University of Hawaii at HiloAt our Division of Student Affairs, Vice Chancellor Farrah-Marie Gomes is looking at developing a Center for Diversity and Multiculturalism to bring together all the programs that currently support diversity, including the Center for Global Education and Exchange, the Minority Access and Achievement Program, the Student Support Services Program, the Womenʻs Center, the LGBTQ+ Center, Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center, and others. The centralization will allow for even more coordination and collaboration between people and programs in support of our diverse campus community.

We look forward to doing more, because this is the type of support that expands our students’ views about people, their diverse communities and the world as they become global citizens and move on to become the leaders of the future.

Diversity Fair

UH Hilo will be celebrating Global Diversity Awareness Month on campus with a Diversity Fair on Oct. 24. There will be student presentations, artwork, music, food, and performance art, all celebrating diversity. The different programs mentioned in this column will also have displays and information booths. An awards ceremony will cap the event recognizing the best student presentations. All are welcome, the event is free and open to the public. I hope you’ll join us.

Aloha,

Marcia Sakai

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