UH Hilo Strategic Planning

Meeting Notes - October 20, 2020

Relationships Committee Meeting: Tuesday, October 20 at 11:30am

Present: Makamae Kamaka-Mauhili, Keali'i Beck, Julie Mowrer, Justina Mattos, Pat Guillen, Kathleen Baumgardner

Meeting purpose: Moving projects forward. The discussion was focused on the committee’s identified projects.

A UH Hilo Version of The Moth

The idea: A series of themed events that create a stage for storytelling in our community, breaking barriers and helping people to find common ground and appreciation for each other while empowering members of our community (on and off campus) to share their stories.

Makamae has sent responses to the questions that Malu posed, in order for this series of events to be considered for a Hawaiian name.

Justina and Kathleen met with the English Club. They are excited to steer the canoe, making creative decisions on this project, while we handle logistics. During the meeting, they shared their vision and what they feel is doable for them. This encapsulates that conversation about the event details along with a few added notes from the committee meeting:

  • A bimonthly event, starting in February, with the following episode in April. This gives us a month of prep time and a month of event promotion time.
  • Different themes for each event with five storytellers for each event. Storytellers will represent five audiences, one each - a student, a faculty member (also former faculty members), a staff member (and former staff members), an alum, and a community member.
  • Summer events might be an option. This will be revisited.
  • We will explore launching a website associated with this project.
  • The English Club will reach out to art students who might develop art for each theme.
  • Grants will be explored in order to support costs associated with the event, like honoraria for artists.
  • There will be a student host for the series of the events, chosen after an audition. It might be interesting to add a co-host chosen on relevance with the theme of each episode.

Julie spoke with Maile Boggeln from Campus Center. She encouraged us to pull in faculty from Cultural Anthropology to help promote the event or support the event in other ways. Maile also recommended Kurt Dela Cruz as a possible host or a coach specifically for hosts. Justina said she would be happy to serve as a coach for hosts. Toastmasters may be a resource. Maile also suggested that using YouTube may be a good option for premiering episodes because it allows for more conversation, unlike FaceBook Live which mostly results in reactions.

The committee likes the idea of continuity, having the same student host from episode to episode. A co-host based on the theme might be fun and offer more relevancy.

Logistics discussed included filming the talks in advance on the Performing Arts stage. We will also pre-record the hosts, including introduction of storytellers. The storytellers and host(s) should be available at the YouTube premiere to answer questions and connect with viewers. A question arose about alum storytellers who might live off island and if we would be able to accommodate them. Justina mentioned that she is working on a project right now that allows participants to self tape. This will allow us to have less limits to participation.

In terms of promotion, there were suggestions about promoting the event through social media and possibly the UH Hilo app. We also discussed introducing one storyteller at a time through five UH Hilo Stories articles and an article in the Ka Nūpepa publication featuring the event. There was also a suggestion to use teasers to promote the event and build anticipation and excitement. Teasers could center on the event themes.

Action items for this storytelling-based project:

  • Makamae will follow up with Malu on naming.
  • Julie will reach out to the faculty in Cultural Anthropology in order to explore how they might support the event.
  • Julie has reached out to The Moth and is awaiting response. We want to ask questions about how they support storytelling events and how we credit The Moth for inspiring our event.
  • Kathleen will begin to explore establishing a website for the event.
  • During the meeting, Pat messaged Lisa Uyetake with UH Foundation in order to ask about reaching out to alums in order to drive storyteller applications. She has already responded with a few questions. Kathleen will follow up with Lisa.
  • Justina will write up the guidelines for self-taping in case we have storytellers unable to attend a taping on the stage.
  • Kathleen will follow up on potential placement in a January edition of Ka Nūpepa and update the English Club on our conversion as well as deadlines.

Database of Community-Engaged Efforts

The idea: facilitate new collaborations between the University and community, provide a way for students to seek out mentors, and showcase collaborations between UH Hilo and the community through a searchable, interactive database with an outward-facing website.

Julie and the Center for Community Engagement are working on the back end of the database, inputting professors, classes, community organizations, etc. Currently Marisa is pulling information from UH Hilo Stories. There should be a streamlined process for information sharing. Currently Susie (public information specialist, writer of UH Hilo Stories), Aly (director of media relations, writes and distributes press releases and her office handles social media), and Marisa are all handling pieces of information. We do not want a process where someone wishing to report a successful partnership project has to contact three different people and offices.

Question: If I am a community member, and I have a question, will I be able to search the database by keyword? Yes. However, an issue to consider is that if a community member does this, there may be an expectation that resources will be available to help. That may not be the case. A class might be able to take on one community project, but not two. Or during the summer, fewer people are working on campus. Database analytics tracking searches from outside UH Hilo may provide insights regarding community needs and allow us to better plan for class projects, etc. The UH Hilo’s Speakers’ Bureau should be incorporated into the database, and it offers the community access to resources/people who have volunteered to engage.

The target date for the first external-facing product is Spring 2021. It is already easy to see that there is much community-engaged work being done, but not being showcased, even on campus. Many people do not self promote their efforts. Beyond strengthening relationships with our community, the database project may help us build connections and interdisciplinary efforts on campus.

As mentioned before, A university that has developed robust resources around community engagement is University of North Carolina at Greensboro: https://communityengagement.uncg.edu/

Community/University Partnership Day

The idea: Build collaborative efforts to solve some of the challenges we face on the Island through an opportunity-based event bringing people together from on and off campus.

Within our community are many other smaller communities, like those involved in the construction trades, people aligned with athletics, neighborhood associations, downtown businesses. These groups are already organized around their areas of interest and because of these, they may most readily benefit from relationship building with UH Hilo. Many groups like these have action plans in place or are developing plans. Because of this, we may more easily find opportunities to partner.

But, what participation can be relied on? It seems that we need to know who is available to help first, so we don’t imply that we can help and then not follow through on what might be perceived as a promise. Do we need to know who is available first? We should also move forward with a reciprocal perspective - the University has experts and so does the community. Another issue is the labels we assign to organizations. A healthcare business may have a need for marketing help, not healthcare. We should make sure that we don’t make assumptions about needs and we remain open to thinking outside the box. Personal exchange / conversations have always been the most important in building relationships. Some questions that arose about moving forward:

  • Would it make sense for committee members to each reach out to several groups they work with to talk story about the needs they have identified, as well as their short- and long-term goals?
  • Is now the time given the level of uncertainty at the University?
  • If we do reach out to organizations / groups, how do we prepare?
  • What can we offer and what result might we expect?
  • Do we have the backing to build relationships with confidence?
  • How effective would an event be if done virtually?

We don’t want to shelf the project due to COVID, and the database (the second project listed above) may be what we need to move this forward. It will show what community-engaged work is currently happening. However, a Partnership Day is meant to create pathways and future partnerships in new areas.

What can we do to celebrate partnerships? We should make appreciation and celebration a norm. We know much is happening but few people, especially those in the community, are not aware. Perhaps we would enjoy a stronger relationship with the community if we told more success stories. We could schedule a Zoom get-together of partners in order so that all involved have an opportunity to share what they found meaningful in their partnership. This might raise the level of respect and appreciation.

At this point in the discussion, the 90 minute meeting time had expired. The other potential project on the committee’s radar was not discussed - an Exhibit or Presentation of Faculty Work, intended to showcase faculty works in order to build healthy relationships between faculty and students. We will pick up this discussion at a later date.