This page was last updated on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, 8:27am HST.
Joint UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi CC Information on the 2018 Puna Lava Flow
All classes and operations are continuing as normal.
- August 22: A Special Welcome
- August 6: Message to New and Returning UH Hilo Students
- June 5: Message to New and Returning UH Hilo Students
- May 29: Frequently Asked Questions
- May 21: Housing for Students
- Archive of prior announcements
- Are UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi CC Safe?
- General Information
- Information for Students
- Information for Faculty/Staff
August 22: A Special Welcome
A special welcome to new students, faculty and staff joining our UH Hilo ʻohana (family) and to our returning students, faculty and staff.
While the new semester holds much excitement, we are aware of the stress many have felt from the volcanic eruption event that began in early May. Please reach out for support if you have been directly affected. Visit our informational website at https://hilo.hawaii.edu/puna-lava-flow/ for FAQs, information on housing, safety, wellness resources, contact information, and more.
August 6: Message to New and Returning UH Hilo Students
Aloha, New and Returning Students,
As the new academic year quickly approaches, I write to share with you some exciting projects that members of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo ʻohana have been working on this summer to welcome you and your fellow classmates later this month:
- To officially welcome new students to UH Hilo, a new and improved orientation program will launch August 13 and extend to the first six weeks of the semester.
- New and returning students will have access to data visualization technology through specialized art and data science classes, and our new library director will be working this year to add collaborative technology workspace for students.
- Geology students will have the opportunity to interact with Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists who have been monitoring the eruption from the UH Hilo campus all summer.
- The Center for Community Engagement will be opening this year and looking to students for ideas and participation.
- The outdoor recreation space, Puʻu Liʻi , (located behind the Parking Office/Auxiliary building) has been revived with the addition of a new barbecue area, and covered picnic tables equipped with solar-powered charging stations.
- Covered tables with solar-powered charging stations were also installed outside of the College of Business and Economics and Students Services buildings.
- New signage was added to Kanakaʻole Hall, and new campus maps will be posted throughout campus to make navigating campus a little easier.
Rest assured that we continue to closely monitor the ongoing Kīlauea eruption and keep as our top priority the safety and well-being of everyone in our UH Hilo ʻohana and the larger Hawaiʻi Island community.
You are encouraged to contact departments directly or the office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at (808) 932-7445 for assistance with questions about housing, food, transportation, counseling or other needs, or the office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at (808) 932-7332 or email email@example.com for any necessary academic accommodations or assistance.
Continue to enjoy your summer, and I will be back in touch soon with additional updates. I look forward to welcoming you to campus!
June 5: Message to New and Returning UH Hilo Students
Aloha New and Returning UH Hilo Students,
I hope you are enjoying your summer so far. As you may be aware, the volcanic eruption on Hawaiʻi Island that started on May 3, 2018 has received widespread media coverage. I want to reassure everyone that operations are normal at University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. The closest area affected by the eruption is 20 miles from Hilo, and the volcanic activity has had no direct impact on the town of Hilo and most of Hawaiʻi Island. That includes our airports, harbors and the majority of roads. It is absolutely safe to travel to and around Hawai’i Island (PDF) .
Many members of our island community, including some of your peers have been impacted, and they remain in our minds, hearts, and prayers. We remain committed to the success of all our students and continue to work with those in need during this difficult time, whether that is through issuance of incomplete grades to allow extra time for course completion or emergency housing due to evacuation. We encourage all students who are impacted, directly or indirectly, to keep reaching out to us.
Our UH Hilo mission states that the purpose of our university ʻohana (family) is to challenge students to reach their highest level of academic achievement by inspiring learning, discovery and creativity inside and outside the classroom. Our kuleana (responsibility) is to improve the quality of life of the people of Hawaiʻi, the Pacific region and the world. To this end I am very proud of our faculty, staff and students who have been sharing their expertise and resources to help others in this situation.
At UH Hilo, we believe that one learns from many sources. For us, the eruption puts us in the unique position of being able to observe and study geology first-hand and in real time. Before our eyes, we are seeing and experiencing science and culture unfold in ways that are not available anywhere else in the world.
If you have any concerns or questions, please contact Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Farrah-Marie Gomes at (808) 932-7445 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Announcements and regular updates on the volcano eruption are posted on our UH for Puna web page.
As you enjoy your summer, please know that your university is busy preparing for the fall semester, and we are excited to welcome you to campus in August for the start of classes. I promise that you will be coming to a place dedicated to creating an environment where you can focus on your higher education and thrive.
Mahalo nui loa,
May 29: Frequently Asked Questions
- How far is the recent volcanic activity from the UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College campus?
- The new eruption site is about 20 miles southeast of the Hilo campuses.
- Could the lava reach the UH Hilo or the Hawaiʻi Community College campus?
- There is no chance that the current lava flows will reach the Hilo campuses.
- In what direction is the lava flowing?
- The lava is flowing south, away from Hilo, and is currently entering the ocean.
- Does the eruption pose health hazards for students and employees while on the UH Hilo campus?
- There is no increased health hazard on the Hilo campuses because of the eruption. However, due to increased gas emissions, there is a possibility for sporadically heavier vog concentrations in the future, but the prevailing winds in Hawaiʻi, known as the trades, push the vog away from Hilo.
- Should students be concerned about earthquakes?
- Hawaiʻi Island is home to an active volcano, so there are earthquakes, including one of the largest on record, a 6.9 magnitude quake that caused no injuries and minimal damage.
- Are business like stores and restaurants, or the airport or harbor, in Hilo closed due to the eruption?
- Other than the area directly impacted by the eruption, which is 20 miles from Hilo, no businesses have closed during this event, and all are currently operating normally in Hilo and Hawaiʻi Island.
May 21: Housing for Students
On-campus housing for UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College students displaced by the current eruption is available for Summer 2018 at Hale ʻIkena Apartment Complex. Students without dependents or non-service animals may apply for on-campus summer accommodations at Application (PDF) or by going to the Housing Office webpage at University Housing.
Please see the Archive of prior announcements for older information.
Are UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi CC Safe?
The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College campuses and facilities are not directly threatened by the lava flow.
While the future flow, direction and impact of the lava is uncertain, we encourage everyone who may be affected to review their personal emergency plans and preparations, which may include taking steps to secure alternative housing.
You may find the following resources helpful.
- The UH Hilo Housing office maintains an Off-Campus Housing website with listings of available opportunities.
- The UH Hilo Housing office has a bulletin board posted in front of their office at PB-11 with additional off-campus housing opportunities.
- Students without dependents or non-service animals may apply for on-campus summer accommodations at Application PDF or by going to the Housing Office webpage at University Housing.
- The Hawaiʻi County Housing Office provides a housing agency resource guide.
- The University of Hawaiʻi Employee Assistance Program offers counseling support for those families facing crises and problems that affect work performance. View a PDF flyer with more information about the Employee Assistance Program.
- The CDC has a page for Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event .
- SAMHSA has information for those who may need some help in dealing with the stresses of trauma and grief.
- UH Employees may contact WorkLife Hawaiʻi for the following resources:
- Appropriate Expectations You Can Have for Yourself in Grief
- Common Reactions After a Trauma
- Helping Children Cope with a Traumatic Event
- 24 Hour National Disaster Distress Helplines
- Call: 1-800-985-5990
- Text "TalkWithUs" just like that to: 66746
- Disaster Distress Helpline Website
Information for Students
- What happens if I cannot make it in to attend my classes?
- Please contact each of your instructors as soon as possible to identify options to complete the semester successfully.
- What are my withdrawal options?
- Please consider making alternative arrangements with your instructors if attending classes will be difficult. As a last resort, students may completely withdraw from classes, but doing so may have significant financial implications.
- UH Hilo students may contact Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Farrah-Marie Gomes for more information on withdrawals.
- Hawaiʻi CC students may contact Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Dorinna Cortez at email@example.com for more information on withdrawals.
- What housing facilities are available for me, my family, and my pets?
- Students without dependents or non-service animals may apply for on-campus accommodations with University Housing. Please contact the Housing Office for more information. Students will be housed at the Hale ʻIkena apartment complex.
- Students with dependents or animals should seek alternative arrangements, such as Off-Campus Housing or Hawaiʻi County Housing .
- What counseling services are available for students?
- Aʻoaʻo Pili Ola Counseling Services provides personal counseling, consultation, and coaching in a supportive environment to both UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi CC students.
Information for Faculty and Staff
- What happens if I cannot make it in to teach my classes or work in my office?
- Please contact your supervisor, department chair or division chair as soon as possible.
- What housing facilities are available for me, my family, and my pets?
- Faculty and staff should seek alternative arrangements, such as Off-Campus Housing or Hawaiʻi County Housing .