Spring Media Coffee Hour 2019

Chancellor Dr. Sakai talks efficiency within the university

Staff Writer Breandain Clarke
Photographer Kevianna Adams

Meeting with the chancellor

This year at Interim Chancellor Dr. Marcia Sakai ’s Spring Media Coffee hour, she went into extensive detail on the progression happening at University of Hawaiʻi Hilo, especially when discussing the level of efficiency they have achieved and hope to achieve in the near future.

One of the main topics she touched upon was the new chancellor coming in to replace her this coming July, Dr. Bonnie Irwin . Coming from California State University, Monterey Bay, Irwin’s past experience is considered beneficial as she takes on the position at UH Hilo. Not only is she coming from a college with a higher attendance rate—CSUMB has roughly 7,000 students, while UH Hilo’s current attendance is at about 3,600— Monterey Bay’s surrounding area is rural and agricultural, and therefore similar to Hilo’s.

“Bonnie Irwin is looking forward to working with the faculty and students of our campus. One of her biggest plans she looks forward to is stabilizing leadership, since there are so many interim positions throughout the departments here,” said Sakai.

“She has already set up a system in which she asks the community a series of appreciative questions when discussing the campus,” continued Sakai. Some of the questions posed to her included what she found positive about the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, and how she believes the university can move forward in the future.

Sakai said UH Hilo is trying to become more efficient by beginning to “embark on a new planning process, one of which brings into consideration national trends, as well as state needs.”

Sakai also discussed energy-saving initiatives that began over five years ago. “We have taken a lot of steps to have energy-efficient retrofits throughout the campus. Five years ago we installed LED lights to all of the main campuses,” she explained. “Instead of hiring a contractor to complete a campus-wide installation, we created an energy reinvestment account.”

Sakai continued, “We were able to calculate the savings from the various energy-saving retrofits and activities and we would use that amount to do more energy saving retrofits. So, we went from building to building, and now every major building on campus has energy-efficient lighting systems.”

“Our next project is going to be installing new parking lot lighting. They have to stay on late anyways due to the lights becoming a security matter,” said Sakai. “We just want UH Hilo to be as efficient as possible.”

UH Hilo strives for efficiency using six goals in excellence for the entire campus. Those goals are excellence in teaching, excellence in research, having a vibrant campus community, multicultural fluency, strong partnerships with the local community, and having a high performing system. That includes using the best practices, efficiency and effectiveness, as well as sustainability, and as Sakai put it, “becoming a model for an indigenous-serving community.”