North Hawai`i Education and Research Center expands services

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Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaii at Hilo North Hawai`i Education and Research Center (NHERC) is enhancing operations to better serve North Hawai`i. Staying open longer, additional programs and new policies to expand the use of facilities are among the steps recently taken to make the Center more accessible to the area’s communities.

“The creation of the Center was community driven,” said Interim Director Farrah-Marie Gomes. “So we’re geared to take community input and use it to both create new services and fine tune existing ones.”

The Center extended its hours of operation on September 1 to facilitate community access to the facility. The Center is now open from 7:45 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

A subcommittee of the Center’s Community Advisory Board developed a facility use policy that enables the community to use rooms for nominal or no fees. Rooms are available with capacities ranging from 20 to 140 people. Grassroots and community organizations not charging a fee may use the facility for meetings and trainings for free, as long as the space is available and during regular hours of operation.

The Center’s computer lab also recently opened to the public. Lab hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Membership is available on a daily ($1), monthly ($5), or yearly basis ($30). UH Hilo students, staff, and faculty may use the lab free of charge.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) program at NHERC is also expanding its offerings to the community. New OLLI events include regular gatherings for OLLI participants and instructors as well as a monthly speaker series. Upcoming speakers this fall include Dr. Billy Bergin discussing the upcoming second volume of his history of the Parker Ranch on November 8, and Gerald De Mello talking about Hawai`i’s unique people and cultures on December 4.

The OLLI program is also offering 14 non-credit classes this fall, including: Mahjong; Computer Basics; Basic Hawaiian Language; Tai Chi & Qigong Meditation; Dream Interpretation; Basic Genealogy; Estate Planning; Printmaking; Hawai`i’s Natural History; Wisdom of the Seneca; The Old Testament (Tanakh); Fitness through Hiking Hamakua; Grant Writing; and Personal Care Giving.

The Center’s first on-site college course is currently meeting at the Center. Spring college courses will include Psychology 100 on Monday evenings and Philosophy 100 on Thursday evenings. Both classes begin at 6:00 pm and end at 8:45 pm.

“As you can see, there is a lot going on at the Center,” Gomes said. “We’re excited to provide more services to the benefit of North Hawai`i.”

For more information, contact the Center at (808) 775-8890.

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