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Our Services

The Center offers a broad spectrum of services and programs to facilitate the success of Pacific Islander students at UH Hilo. All UH Hilo students are welcome at the Center. We think you’ll discover a “home away from home” right here in the middle of the UH Hilo campus. Stop by any time. You’re welcome here and we’d love to see you!

A Gathering Place

The Center is set up to be a gathering place for Pacific island students to meet each other, to study individually or in groups, or hold their meetings and events. Students can use our 10 Apple and PC desktop computers and sign out any of our 20 laptops for their use. To help students relax in between classes, we have a large flat screen television which can play CNN news, ESPN, and other major network news channels. The Center also has a growing collection of books and DVDs on Pacific-related topics, includes a kitchen (including refrigerator, stove and microwave), a lanai with covered tables for group meetings or to eat your lunch. Please contact if you wish to schedule a meeting or event at the PISC.

Student Development & Support

Bridge Program

A limited number of newly accepted Pacific Islander students at UH Hilo will participate in an intensive 9-day residential bridge program on campus prior to the start of the fall orientation week each year. The program is designed to introduce first-year students to college-level expectations for writing, critical inquiry, study skills/strategies, different learning and teaching styles, and campus resources, as well as to encourage help seeking behaviors which many minority students lack. Find out more>>

Learning Communities

The Center will arrange small learning communities in which students from similar cultural backgrounds who are enrolled in the same programs and/or courses will study together in small groups at the Pacific Islander Student Center and support each other’s success. Learning communities in particular will be constructed in ways that capitalize on Pacific Island identity and values. Pacific Islanders tend to identify with a unit larger than individuals, such as with families, clans, villages, and islands. Pacific Island cultures value group cohesion and harmony more strongly than individual success; a positive group reputation is strongly valued, and competition between groups often serves as an effective motivator. In light of that, great potential exists in developing and implementing approaches that aim to facilitate the success of students by motivating and rewarding them as groups, rather than as individuals. Thus, the project will construct learning communities that motivate and reward groups, enhance group reputation, and promote healthy competition between groups as a culturally informed service.

Peer Mentoring

The Center has partnered with the Minority Access & Achievement Program to utilize its PALS peer mentoring program for interested first year Pacific Islander students. Students will meet regularly with an assigned peer mentor throughout the first year, who will provide guidance, advice, encouragement and support as they assist them in building solid academic foundations and developing habits and attitudes that lead to academic and
personal success.

Academic Success

The Center provides an array , Pacific Island students will be provided throughout their college career with academic support services including tutoring, intrusive academic advising, monitoring of academic progress and intervention with students when they are not performing well, and financial aid counseling.

University 101 course

The Educational Specialist, Desha Staley-Raatior will teach a section of the University 101 credit-bearing first year experience success course adapted for the target population. First year Pacific island student will have the opportunity to enroll in this or any of the sections taught by other UH Hilo faculty / staff.

Student Employment

Research shows that students who participate in a "high impact" activity during their college experience will most likely persist in college. The Center will help place Pacific islander students into at least one of the following high impact activities each year:

Highly Engaged Learning Positions (HELP)

Pacific islander students at UH Hilo can propose meaningful employment opportunities on or off campus that impact their education while serving the Pacific island community on campus, in Hawaiʻi, or throughout the Pacific region.

Campus Programming

Faculty / Staff Workshops

Faculty and staff development workshops will be offered at least twice annually and will include exercises in identifying and understanding Pacific Island cultural values, and ideas and strategies for incorporating Pacific Island ways of knowing and learning into the curriculum and pedagogical approaches.

Pacific Speaker Series

The Center will sponsor a series of distinguished guest speakers from throughout the Pacific islands who will help educate, inform, and inspire the UH Hilo community on matters of importance to the region and its citizens.

Community Outreach

The PISC provides community-based learning opportunities which integrate service to the local community with leadership learning skills.

College Day

The goal of College Day is to bring Pacific islander high school students and their parents to the UH Hilo campus to motivate, inspire, and inform them about higher education opportunities and resources. Hosted by the Pacific Islander-serving student organizations and the PISC, these special college campus visits are meant to expose high school students of Pacific Island ethnicity to college student role models from their language groups.

Pacific Youth Empowerment for Success (PacYES)

As the Pacific Island population grows in Hawaiʻi, so too has the need for the State of Hawaiʻi to address the needs of this population, particularly the youth. PacYES is a leadership development & youth advocacy program for Pacific islander students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo to help inspire, motivate, and inform Pacific Islander youth from the local high schools to become successful members of the Hawaiʻi ʻohana.

Community Partners

The Pacific Islander Student Center (PISC) invites Hawaiʻi-based non-profit organizations and and public schools that serve Pacific island youth to partner with us to host PASS Leaders in their schools or organization. We can work together with our hosting agencies to design one-time or on-going programs that empower the Pacific island migrant communities. These community service projects have the added benefit of not only developing students’ leadership and mentoring skills and making connections between classroom learning and outside-of-classroom learning that occurs through experiential education, but also impacting the success of future generations of individuals from the target population.

What's Your Story?

What's Your Story?A digital storytelling project to chronicle the stories of Pacific Islanders in Hawaiʻi. The video interviews and narratives will be shared on the PISC YouTube channel for the general public. Our goal is to educate the general public on the many positive ways that Pacific islanders are contributing to the Hawaiian society. Students will collaborate with community-based organizations and clubs to identify and commit the individuals to feature on the project. Read more>>

Research & Engagement

The research component of the project is designed to enable focused, in-depth, longitudinal studies that will fill a large gap in the higher education resources and literature of the nation. Educational indicators including persistence, degrees awarded, dropout rates and time it takes to complete degrees will be analyzed for Pacific Islanders and Pacific Island subgroups, as well as financial aid indicators (e.g., amounts, types and distribution), pre-college enrollment indicators (e.g., courses taken, entrance and placement test data), social and cultural indicators, and individual characteristics. Throughout the 5-year project we hope to disseminate our findings to stakeholders throughout the Pacific region to help in their college preparatory and educational reform initiatives. Read more>>