Pacific Islander Student Center (PISC)

News and Events

Know Before You Go: Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Effective June 12, 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) no longer requires air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the US to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. However, non-US citizens traveling to the US by air are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Only limited exceptions apply.

Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, International Student Services recommends that students carefully consider travel plans. If you have any questions about traveling to the US, consult with the ISS Director or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's information for travel website.

COFA Residents in Hawaiʻi Can Apply for Medicaid

COFA islander health care Hawaiʻi is now accepting Medicaid applications from residents who are citizens of Palau, the Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia. Medicaid is a federal public health insurance program for low-income people. Contact Kuʻu Makuakane-Salavea at (808) 348-4410 (or or Rachelle at (808) 896-5051 to apply. View more information.

"Real IDs"

Starting May 7, 2025, everyone will need to present a Real ID-compliant license/ID or another acceptable form of identification (like a passport) to board a domestic flight and to access U.S. federal facilities. How do you know if your driver's license or state ID card is Real ID-complaint? If it is Real-ID compliant, there will be a star in the top right corner like those pictured below:

Gold Star Drivers license and state identification cards with stars on them

You do not need a Real ID-complaint ID unless you want to board an airplane using a driver's license or state ID card. If you have a valid (unexpired) passport, you can use a passport to board a plane. But if you want or need to get a REAL ID-complaint ID such as a driver's license or state ID card, Compact of Free Association (COFA) citizens need to have a valid, unexpired passport and an I-94. An I-94 is a record of your arrival date into the United States. Access and print a copy of your I-94. Please be aware that I-94 records are only available online for 5 years. If you cannot access your I-94 form online because your most recent arrival date into the U.S. was longer than 5 years ago, you have to file Form I-102 with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services to obtain a duplicate copy. The fee for the Form I-102 is currently $455 and may be subject to change.

Upcoming Events & Activities

group of students wearing traditional clothes from around the world

United Nations Day

Friday, October 28, 2022
10:00 am-1:00 pm on the Library Lanai

Celebrate United Nations Day on campus with UH Hilo international students who come from 40 different countries around the world! The event features a parade of nations, tabling, and ends with a special performance from the Samoan club. Visit the United Nations Day website for more details.

Katerina Teaiwa

Pacific Peoples' Histories & Contemporary Activism for Environment and Self-Determination

Tuesday, November 16, 2022
11:30 pm online

Katerina Teaiwa, Professor of Pacific Studies at the Australian National University, will discuss the connections between Pacific values and identities, colonial histories, contemporary geo-political dynamics, and environmental activism in Oceania. She will highlight her own work on the ongoing effects of 20th century phosphate mining and population displacement on Banaban communities in Kiribati, Fiji and the diaspora. Click here to register for this free event.


International Speaker Series: Climate Change & Why the Bioeconomy Matters

Thursday, November 17, 2022
5:00-6:00 pm online on Zoom

Featuring Peter Matlock who works with UH Hilo to develop tropical bioeconomy projects and education and with the Joint BioEnergy Institute on programs to advance high-performance renewable aviation fuels. His presentation will review evidence for climate change, a brief description of the bioeconomy and why it is fundamental to addressing climate change issues, and describe some of the challenges in mitigating climate change effects. Join the meeting (passcode: 891058).

rugby players

Rugby League World Cup Final Watch Party

Saturday, November 19, 2022
6:00 am at PISC

Cheer on Samoa as they face Australia in the World Cup final!

image of popcorn with Jumanji movie title

Friendsgiving Movie Night

Tuesday, November 22, 2022
8:00 pm at PISC

Grab your friends and come enjoy watching Jumanji with free snacks!

ocean with horizon

Nuclear Connections Across Oceania

Thursday & Friday, November 24 & 25, 2022 (HST)

This is a free and open public event sponsored by the University of Otago in Aotearoa. The conference provides an opportunity to hear from key activists, artists, researchers, and community members throughout the Pacific on the impact of the nuclear military and industrial complex and how they might collaborate in working toward a nuclear-free future. View more details.

Group of students


Friday, November 25, 2022
12:00-5:00 pm

Come enjoy some food and friends at the Pacific Islander clubs' "friendsgiving."

Images of African and Pacific artifacts

Repatriation of African & Pacific Remains

Thursday, December 8, 2022
9:00 am online

Everyone is welcome to attend this online presentation about repatriating African and Pacific remains to their homelands. To register, contact Dr. Tarisi Vunidilo at

two students in caps and gowns with lei

Pau Hana! Graduates Recognition and End-of-the-Semester Dinner

Thursday, December 8, 2022
5:00-7:00 pm

Take a break before final exams and celebrate the end of the semester as we recognize students who are graduating this semester. Free food!

Welcome with map of the world

New International Student Orientation Meeting

Thursday, January 5, 2023
9:00 am the Student Services Center Room 201

All new international students are required to attend this orientation meeting. You will learn about important information such as course registration, health services and health insurance, important dates and deadlines, and upcoming events and activities. Immediately following the meeting, we will take you to get a TB test and any other required vaccinations you may need, get a UH ID card before the campus-wide orientation program begins, and a tour of campus. Bring your passport (and cash or card if you need to get a TB test and/or other vaccinations). Breakfast and lunch provided.

university of hawaii at hilo campus

Meeting for New Pacific Islander Students

Tuesday, January 10, 2023
7:00-8:00 pm online on Zoom

Join this follow-up orientation session on Zoom for new Pacific Islander students and learn about how to get a job on campus, a U.S. social security number, and health insurance. Also learn about upcoming events, activities, and deadlines, and resources on campus to help you be successful! Check your UH email for the Zoom link and passcode.

lava flow in volcanic caldera

Volcanoes National Park Trip

Wednesday, January 18, 2023
6:00-9:00 pm

View the spectacular lava flow at Kilauea volcano at the Volcanoes National Park! Check your UH email for more information and to sign up. Space is limited.

woman and man standing in front of a flag

Germany's Perspectives & Engagement in the Pacific Region

Monday, January 23, 2023
12:00-1:00 pm online

Germany’s first Special Envoy to the Pacific Island States, Ambassador Beate Grzeski, will discuss Germany’s perspectives and priorities in the Pacific Region and the perspectives for future German engagement in the region. Ambassador Grzeski took up her posting in 2022 and is currently based in Canberra. Click here to register.

man teaching a student how to make a lei

Ku'u Lei Hilo

Tuesday, January 24, 2023
5:00-7:00 pm at the Campus Center Room 301

Join us for an introduction to the Hawaiian language and other activities to introduce you to Native Hawaiian culture. Check your UH email for details and to sign up. Space is limited.

students in the forest

PIPES Internship Information Session

Thursday, January 26, 2023
4:00 pm at the Pacific Islander Student Center

Come learn about paid summer internships in environmental-related careers with PIPES (Pacific Internship Program for Exploring Sciences)! Applications are due January 31 (but may be extended to February 7).

US Agency for International Development from the American People

Pacific Islander & Asian American Voices: Inclusivity for a Stronger World

February 15-17, 2023
Virtual conference

This virtual event will bring together students, alumni, faculty and administrators from Asian American and Pacific Islander serving institutions, as well as other members and friends of the diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander community to learn about USAID (the US Agency for International Development), careers in international affairs, and how to build new partnerships. Speakers will include members of USAID senior leadership, staff, and guests from the public and private sectors. Click here for more information and to register.

canoe sailing on the ocean

Voyage through International Night

Friday, February 17, 2023
11:00 am-2:00 pm on the Library Lanai

Get ready for International Night by voyaging through educational booths about the places that will be performing at International Night! Food, music, and free giveaways.

forest in the pacific islands

USDA Pacific Islands Graduate Fellowship - Information Session

Wednesday, February 22, 2023
4:00 pm online

Join this information session to learn about the USDA Forest Service's Graduate Fellowship for students in the master's degree program in Tropical Conservation Biology & Environmental Science from the US-affiliated Pacific Islands (Guam, American Samoa, CNMI, Palau, Marshall Islands, and FSM). The fellowship comes with generous support for two years, including a stipend, tuition costs, health insurance, and costs for travel and supplies. To join the Zoom meeting, click here - passcode: API.

Samoan students dancing

International Night

Friday, February 24, 2023
7:30 pm at the Performing Arts Center

International Nights feature performances from the many different cultures and countries represented at UH Hilo. International Nights is a long-standing tradition at UH Hilo that spans over four decades, and is a favorite event on campus among students, the community, and visitors. See the shows, see the world! For more details, go to the International Nights website.

Puipuia le ola protecting life study

Puipuia Le Ola: Protecting Life Study

Wednesday, March 1, 2023
12:00 pm online

Gain insight into the inequitable effects of Covid-19 on Pacific Islander communities and the underlying social and cultural factors that contribute to health outcomes. Register here.

Image of 5 women from different countries

International Speaker Series: Women Rising

Thursday, March 9, 2023
5:00-6:00 pm online on Zoom

In observance of International Women's Day, hear the voices of UH Hilo women from around the world as they talk story about gender and women's issues in their countries and cultures and their experiences in the US. To participate, join the meeting (passcode: 891058).

photos of four speakers with title of event:  collaboration and outreach of the 6PAC at the International Maritime Organization

Collaboration and Outreach of the 6PAC at the International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Wednesday, March 15, 2023
2:00-3:00 pm online

A Bwebwenato/talanoa discussion about who the 6PAC are and their current work at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This event, featuring the next generation of young research diplomats, will highlight the impacts of climate change on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Featuring Atina Schutz from the Marshall Islands, John Kautoke from Tonga, Dr. Morgan Wairiu from Solomon Islands, and Dr. Transform Aqorau from Solomon Islands. To register for this free event, click here.

giant stone statues on Easter Island

Me'e Hakaha'ere-'ere Moai (Transporting giant moai on Rapa Nui)

Thursday, March 23, 2023
4:00-5:00 pm at Haleʻōlelo, Conference Room Lumi Pāhiahia

Rapa Nui, famous for its nearly 1,000 giant statues (moai), has been widely misunderstood by visitors and researchers alike. Drawing on more than two decades of field research, Dr. Terry Hunt will share how the multi-ton moai were transported to every corner of the island. Dr. Hunt’s book (with Carl Lipo), The Statues that Walked, won a national award from the Society for American Archaeology and his research has been featured in National Geographic (July 2012) as well as in a full-length Nova-National Geographic TV documentary. Dr. Hunt is a graduate of UH Hilo and presently a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona.

Grant Muagututia

Fafaga'i 'Upu: Drawing on Linguistic Research to Inform Language Pedagogy

Friday, March 24, 2023
4:00-5:00 pm at Haleʻōlelo, Conference Room Lumi Pāhiahia

Presentation by Dr. Grant Muagututi'a, Assistant Professor of Linguistics at California State University, San Marcos. As a Samoan speaker from Oceanside, CA, he works closely with Samoan communities in the diaspora to maintain their language and cultural heritage through linguistics and the performing arts.

whale in the ocean

Whale Watching Trip

Date & Time To Be Announced

Take a boat trip in Hilo Bay to see the humpback whales! More details coming soon.

Guy zip lining over a waterfall

Zip Line Adventure Trip

Date & Time To Be Announced

Zip line over waterfalls on the Hamakua Coast! More details coming soon.