UH Hilo Strategic Planning

Meeting Notes - September 23, 2020

Importance of Place Committee Meeting: Wednesday, September 23 at 1:30pm

Present: Bruce Torres Fischer, Heather Kaluna, Michele Ebersole, Hualani Loo, Kathleen Baumgardner

Meeting purpose: Digging deeper into our identified projects. We started moving beyond what we could do, to determine what we should do. The discussion was focused on the identified projects.

Garden or On-campus Improvement Project/Event

The idea: There are multiple garden efforts across campus. Students participating in an on-campus improvement/garden project or event might learn about native plants, history, and the host culture, while getting their hands in the dirt and finding new ways to spend time in nature. These experiences will help students connect to our campus and the Hilo community in meaningful and authentic ways and provide healthy outlets to keep them grounded. Garden efforts could work during this time when distancing is important and after that eases.

Questions: Could there be one campus-wide garden work schedule open to students, faculty, and staff? Or, might we have a rotation of work days across campus? Could campus housing or student organizations help us to recruit students to volunteer? Should we proceed with a pilot this semester so we can plan farther out based on what we learn? Do we want to bring all the garden stewards together at some point in order to get input?

Michele and Heather have been connecting with people in order to learn more about these efforts and determine needs and interest. What we’ve learned so far includes:

  • Many garden spaces are run by departments where they are located. If departments are responsible for these garden spaces, would they be responsible to provide tools and materials needed to carry out the work?
  • Don Hemmes, founder of the UH Hilo botanical gardens, is happy to welcome anyone who would like to help. He walks to campus weekly to work on the gardens.
  • Lito Arkangel is very excited about this project and sees the gardens as wonderful gathering spaces. Michele has an upcoming meeting at the gardens at Ka Haka ‘Ula with Lito to advance this discussion.
  • Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center has a bimonthly Māla Day event (two Fridays each month, 3-4:30pm) where students help to maintain and create new projects within their native plant gardens at Kīpuka and Hale Kanilehua. Malu is the contact for these events.
  • Volunteer efforts could potentially go beyond campus, like fishpond restoration projects at Richardson Ocean Park.
  • Franny Brewer offered help from the Big Island Invasive Species Committee with expertise in invasive identification, control, and removal or possibly even assistance/guidance of volunteer groups post-Covid.

Action items for this garden-based project:

  • Hualani will let the group know how the first Kīpuka Māla Days go. What did student participation look like? Also, she will check on and share the risk release waiver forms that are used.
  • Michele will meet with Lito Arkangel to get a feel for his interest and the fit for a potential pilot project.
  • Heather will reach out to Kalei for guidance about protocols for garden work days. She will also develop a gardens project survey and see if student housing and Maile might distribute the Google form to students and student groups so we can gather information and gauge interest.

Hoʻokamaʻāina Podcast

The idea: A podcast built around stories of on- and off-campus Island locations, empowering listeners to connect to place. For maximum impact, a listener could visit the places featured while listening to the podcast. If the listener cannot visit the site, the podcast content will be designed so that it is relevant and compelling.

The primary audience is people new to campus (students, faculty, staff), but also community members and prospective students. This podcast could also provide content for UNIV 101, allowing non-Hawaiian faculty to participate in community-based teaching in a way that will feel more comfortable for them, as they are not trying to serve as the storyteller. In addition, the podcast could be made part of the First-Year Experience. This podcast may help to fill gaps, as Wahi Pana trips have been cancelled.

Bruce has compiled podcast necessities - resources we have, resources we need, and discussion items. What we’ve learned so far includes:

  • Kīpuka pays for a pro version of SoundCloud, which may be useful. The library has mic stands for check out. The Uʻlu room in the library is being set up as a podcasting studio. UH Hilo’s radio station has the best sound room.
  • Bruce has volunteered to serve as the sound person and plans to use GarageBand for editing.
  • Makoa, a Kīpuka peer mentor, works at the radio station and may be interested in helping.
  • Bruce has reached out to students and faculty to serve as storytellers, like Drew Kapp, lecturer in Geography at UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College.
  • Content should be tightly scripted in order for the podcast to be its best. Pronunciation is very important. We should build in content hooks - tie the podcast to a time of day (Moʻolelo Mondays) and build in repetitive features that create an expectation.
  • We are considering a monthly episode released on a schedule that aligns with communications like Ha‘ilono o UH Hilo and Kilolani, ‘Imiloa’s monthly membership e-newsletter.
  • We will start with Hilo places first, then other areas, but focus on Hawaiʻi Island. We should choose the place and then ask people to participate that have the connection and stories. The stories should be good, meaty. We may want to include campus stories, like Larry Kimura telling stories of the space where ‘Imiloa is located.
  • Episodes should be 30-45 minutes long.

Action items for this podcast project:

  • Hualani will ask Aunty Gail if this project is in line with a Kīpuka grant.
  • Name the podcast - Hoʻokamaʻāina podcast or something else?
  • Develop a list of spaces to feature, along with storytellers who are relevant to each place.
  • Choose a first episode - it should be filled with meaty content. Begin script development.

UNIV 101/102 Class

The idea: The UNIV 101/102 class could help ground students in a sense of place and introduce them to skills and resources needed to thrive at a UH Hilo. These introductory courses could use place-based, community-engaged learning.

What we’ve learned so far includes:

  • Hualani Loo and Kathleen met with Julie Mowrer (UH Hilo’s Center for Community Engagement) to talk about UNIV 101. One major issue is continuity - who will develop and “own” this effort. 101/102 has moved back and forth between student affairs to academic affairs. Because of this, the course has not evolved. The course is currently tied to the living learning communities, but it could have a much broader impact if it was available to all students and if it satisfied a graduation requirement. Faculty teaching this course would need preparation.
  • Kerri Inglis, Professor of History, has provided a proposal she developed for an entry-level course, Kuleana & Community, that endeavors to facilitate student and faculty connections to place and establish a foundation upon which students and faculty can build community connections.

Kerri’s Kuleana & Community proposal and slide show are very strong and in line with what we have talked about for the future of UNIV 101/102. However, what would happen to the resource-based transition-to-college piece that the class now provides? Could the transitional content and the sense of place content be woven together in one class? Or, should they be offered separately? Is it possible for First Year Experience (FYE) to cover some of the basic skills so that some of the transition-to-college content is shifted out of UNIV 101? Or, would low FYE attendance for those offerings cause the content to be lost?

Action items for this project: Set a meeting to discuss the future development of this course. Participants, yet to be determined, might include Hualani Loo, Julie Mowrer, Kerri Inglis, Kris Roney, Michele Ebersole, Kathleen Baumgardner.

At this point in the discussion, the 90-minute meeting time had expired. The other two potential projects on the committee’s radar were not discussed - an Annual Community Partnership Fair and Policies Regarding Applied Learning / Community Engagement. We will pick up those discussions at a later date.