UH Hilo International students give back to the community, create handmade ornaments for fundraiser

Course on American Culture and Community culminates in fundraiser for the Angel Tree Christmas Program.

By Susan Enright.

Students and advisor hold up ornaments. The two students have on Christmas hats.
Students from the English Language Institute are doing a fundraiser this week, selling handmade holiday ornaments for the Angel Tree Christmas Program. Photos by Bob Douglas, Dec. 5, 2016, on the Library Lanai, click to enlarge.


Laurel Luth
Laurel Luth

Students from the English Language Institute at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo are holding a fundraiser today and tomorrow as part of a course on American Culture and Community.  The course is taught each semester by Laurel Luth, an instructor at the institute. This multi-level course for non-native English speakers explores American culture through topics such as treatment of the elderly, the environment, people with disabilities, addiction, homelessness, education, immigration and the treatment of animals.

To experience hands-on learning, the students discuss varying cultural perspectives of the topics and directly participate in projects with local organizations. Topics change each semester and a culminating project designed by students completes the course.

This semester the international students participated in a beach cleanup of Puako Beach, taught cultural games to preschoolers, cared for animals at Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary, and delivered Thanksgiving meals.

For their culminating project, students are tasked with creating a project that would help one of the organizations they have learned about. This semester the students wanted to raise funds for the Angel Tree Christmas Program—they made handmade Christmas ornaments that are on sale today and tomorrow on the Library Lanai.

The students will be selling ornaments on Monday, Dec. 5, and Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the Library Lanai.


“Please stop by to help support the Angel Tree Christmas Program, buy a little something for yourself or for a stocking stuffer and encourage our international students’ interest in becoming active participants in both our local community and in the larger global community,” says Luth in an email to the university community.


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

About the photographer: Bob Douglas is a local artist, photographer, and student who volunteers his photography skills to the Office of the Chancellor and UH Hilo Stories. 

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