UH Hilo Strategic Planning

Meeting Notes - August 24, 2022

Relationships Committee Meeting: Wednesday, August 24 at noon

Present: Justina Mattos, David Kurohara, Julie Mowrer, and Kathleen Baumgardner

Meeting purpose: Reconnect on Wailau and generate new ideas

We set a regular meeting time for September, October, and November, and a separate meeting for December. For Sept-Oct-Nov, we will meet via Zoom at 2:00pm. On December 14, we will meet in person at 3:30pm.

Wailau update

The idea: The purpose of Wailau events is to build connections across campus and with the wider community that go deeper than the roles we hold while honoring our complex, fragile and brave selves. In keeping with the meaning of Wailau, we will showcase five storytellers at each event - a UH faculty member, staff member, student, alum and a community member.

Fall’s episode of Wailau will be live. The press release was completed and sent. Jayna Omaye, Culture & Arts Reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio, reached out and did an interview with host Tori Matsumoto resulting in an article and a short on-air story. Mahalo to Bob for connecting us with topic expert Douglas Le, County Recovery Officer. Justina has reached out to Douglas to answer questions and discuss the role. We are offering Douglas a session with Krystal and Mary at Hawaiʻi Lit Production Co. along with our storytellers. Mary and Krystal will be providing coaching online for this event as they will be traveling.

At the last meeting there was a question about whether there is a teleprompter on campus. Kathleen checked around and there is no actual teleprompter. Something could be put together with a computer and screen but someone would have to operate it in cadence with the storytellers after one practice. So, we decided to allow notes on a music stand, and will encourage storytellers to memorize their 5-minute story if possible.

We brainstormed outreach to drive additional applications. Bob works with many nonprofits whose membership may be a great fit to be storytellers. Justina has community contacts. David has friends who have powerful stories to share. We also discussed storyteller selection. A group of students from the English Club lead story selection. They look at each story, make selections, and provide a story order. Sometimes, they offer us choices for a storyteller slot and there is some back and forth discussion. There has been great value in story variety - because the themes speak to many possible story topics the event the problem of sameness hasn’t arisen.

We finalized a time for Wailau - 4:00pm on Friday, November 18, 2022, Campus Center 301

We shifted focus to building an audience for this first live event. We could create flyers to post, use sandwich boards from CCE to promote attendance and to provide directions to the venue on the day of the event. We could reach out to organizations and suggest that they bring their membership. FYE and Housing might make it an activity. We could try to promote the event through Vibrant Hawaiʻi or the young professionals group with the Chamber. There are a number of possible orgs - Hope Services, Hawaiʻi Rise, Going Home, Toastmaster. Could this be paired with a VISTA member event?

We talked about COVID. Currently masks are required indoors on campus, so this will need to be mentioned in publicity, with messaging about mindfulness.

Wailau action items:

  • Kathleen will craft info about Wailau for the committee to send to potential storytellers.
  • Kathleen will email the past Wailau storytellers and ask them to encourage friends, colleagues, classmates, or family members to apply.
  • Bob, David, and Justina will reach out to their contacts.

Online Recognition System

7.1.1. Strategy 7: Nurture and strengthen campus relationships and campus culture. Action 1: Increase opportunities to express gratitude and celebrate success in large and small ways across campus. Deliverable 1: Communicated the work of campus groups/committees recognizing that the work was meaningful and acknowledging the impact or efforts that came to fruition.

An Online Recognition System was briefly discussed. Kathleen reached out to Eastern Illinois University about their Shout Outs program, their online recognition program, and received the following info: - The recipient of a Shout Out gets a copy, the supervisor does not. - They feel it is not a MAJOR influencer of staff motivation but it does help with morale. - The process of creating a shout out is very simple - identifying the person, indicating if the shoutout is anonymous or not, and entering a message. The message is posted on the Shout Outs webpage. - There is a person on their Staff Senate who gets an email when someone submits a shout out and they maintain a list. When someone receives a shout out they get a free coffee or pastry at the campus coffee shop valued at $3. Staff can receive one shout out per year. Their system is for campus staff, not faculty.

The group talked about how it would be optimal to include both faculty and staff. There is great value, whether it is event-based or an online system like this, in including all. We discussed the value of designing events that appeal to all and focus on building relationships.

Online recognition system action items:

  • Kathleen will touch base with Brennan.

Additional Discussion

One of our members from the community asked about whether there was a culture of hierarchy on campus. Yes, most campuses tend to have a certain level of hierarchy and some friction between faculty and staff, as well as between members based on senior and junior levels, and other constructs. We do have pockets across campus whether this seems to be more problematic. We talked about driving change from the top down at various levels.

We discussed the impact that community-based volunteer activities might have on our campus community. Julie would like to build a program where three times each semester, a group (faculty and staff) engages in a service project, doing something positive for the community, with lunch included. The problem is sustainability vs. growth. Julie’s shop already has so much going on, it would be difficult to plan and implement. We discussed the possibility of the Reconnect, Learn, Enjoy program taking this on, but we’re not sure that is the direction that program is headed. So far, those events seem to be campus-based and appear to draw more attendance from staff rather than a balanced mix of faculty and staff. One question - How do you get people to sign up or attend who might not typically consider joining in, so it isn’t always the same people.

At this point our time had expired, and we closed the discussion.