A lot can happen in the three-and-a-half months that make up a semester. Here are some of the biggest things that happened this fall.
Greenwood’s leave of absence
University of Hawaiʻi President MRC Greenwood took a one-year unpaid leave of absence on Sept. 1 as Interim President David Lassner assumed the position.
The Board of Regents approved Greenwood’s leave at their July 18 meeting, along with a part-time position on UH’s medical research faculty, where she is expected to aid in the creation of a center to study diabetes and obesity at the school.
In an email announcing her resignation, Greenwood said she looks forward to having time to spending time with her family, “to write, teach and do some policy work.”
Making Meals ‘Mindful’
At the beginning of the year, Sodexo implemented its “Mindful” program at the Gateway and Hale Aloha Cafeterias to make students aware of healthier choices in the cafeterias.
The program includes entrees that are 600 calories or less, along with higher proportions of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Desserts in the program are made with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla instead of sugar to bring out the flavor.
A green apple icon that appears next to selected entrees can identify the “mindful items.”.
“We work together to promote ‘a better tomorrow’ for students, faculty and everyone,” Sodexo General Manager Donna Ojiri said.
Adapting to decline in funds
State lawmakers lowered university funds by cutting $7 million from the state legislature and $2.5 million from the governor’s office, which took effect July 1.
“The University of Hawai‘i, like the rest of the state, has suffered deep budget cuts since the recession hit Hawai‘i and the nation,” Interim President David Lassner said.
The decline in funds from the state legislature has remained consistent in the past years, with declines in state general funds from 8.7 percent in 2009 to 6.7 percent in 2013.
In 2011, the Board of Regents approved a five-year tuition increase schedule that generates about $10 million in additional income for the university’s budget according to Senate Ways and Means Chair David Ige in a Hawai‘i News Now report.
Kānewai receives funding for new cultural resource center
A Cultural Resource Center will be built next to the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies on Dole Street.
“It will allow our staff and practitioners a place to work and create tools for their practice, like building canoes, carving and ku‘i kalo (pound taro),” Edward Makahiapo Cashman, director of Ka Papa Lo‘i Kānewai Cultural Garden, said.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded Ka Papa Loʻi a $670,000 grant to build the center.
Construction for the center began in September and is expected to take seven months.
How do you get to campus?
Commuter Services on campus recommends that students who couldn’t get one of the 5,700 parking passes this semester consider alternatives to driving and driving alone to campus.
“We encourage students to take advantage of the UPass program (included in their student fees) and ride TheBus, when possible,” Phyllis Look, marketing and communications manager for Campus Services, said on behalf of Commuter Services in an email. She also said students should consider the health and environmental effects of walking and biking.
According to Commuter Services, other alternative transportation solutions are in development.
Students take action against tuition hikes
Students on campus took their rally against the Board of Regents’ tuition hikes to the student government and state legislature.
In 2011, the BOR approved a five-year schedule of tuition increases, averaging about 5.5 percent a year for undergraduate residents and 7.5 percent for undergraduate nonresidents.
Senior Ian Ross brought the issue to Vice Speaker of the House John Mizuno, who proposed a freeze on tuition for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi Senator Sean Mitsui proposed a resolution to the student government at the end of September to request a freeze on tuition for the 2014-2015 year along with a financial audit.
No butts about it: smoking prohibited on campus in 2014
Smoking will not be allowed on campus after a policy prohibiting the use of all tobacco products and electronic cigarettes on campus will be implemented on Jan. 1, 2014 by campus administration.
In February 2012, the Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi passed a resolution in support of banning tobacco products on campus.
UH Mānoa joins 422 colleges and universities in the United States that are 100 percent tobacco free, according to the American Lung Association website.
According to an article published in Tobacco Control, cigarette smoking is linked to cancer, respiratory disease, coronary health disease and stroke.
Enrollment decreases for UH system
Enrollment at the University of Hawaiʻi system has decreased by 2.2 percent, following five years of record-breaking enrollments.
According to Jodi Leong, director of communications for external affairs and university relations, the decrease in enrollment was not a surprise.
“As the economy began to improve we expected enrollments to begin to drop,” Leong said.
According to the United States Census Bureau, enrollment in fall 2012 decreased by half a million students in colleges across the nation compared to that of fall 2011.
ID cards receive a makeover
Students are able to manage their ID cards online through the Mānoa One Card project, which has upgraded IDs with new features and design.
Starting Sept. 30, all UH Mānoa ID card-holders were able to manage their accounts by registering online. Once registered, students could download the Blackboard Transact Mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
The Mānoa One Card will also make validation easier as validation privileges will electronically be tied to cardholder accounts, starting in fall 2014.
Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health to start next semester
The Office of Public Health Studies will implement the campus’ first Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Health in the spring semester.
The degree will include 36 major credits, along with nine related credits in courses like calculus, Math 140 or higher, a statistics course and Psychology 100.
“The bachelor’s in public health is really focusing on how do we improve the health of populations,” Director of the Office of Public Health Studies Jay Maddock said. “So this is looking at things like how do we improve clean water, improving health policy, improving health behaviors.”
Students will also be able to start the degree program in their freshman year.
UH’s $35 million electricity bill among key topics discussed at Campus-wide Conversation
Students, faculty and UH officials discussed the campus’ electricity bill and building renovations at its Campus-wide Conversation of the year.
The campus’ utility bill is about $40 million with $35 million being for the electricity, according to Chancellor Tom Apple. Each student currently pays $2,500 for the electricity bill.
According to Apple, 10 years ago the utility bill was only $11 million. The campus’ bill has risen despite using relatively the same amount of electricity. Stephen Meder, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Planning and Facilities, attributed the high electricity bill to the high cost of oil as nearly 90 percent of electricity generated on the island is from fossil fuel.
University may feel effects of government shutdown
The government shutdown on Oct. 1 would have affected students the same way it affects all the people of the state, at least in the short term, according to Vice Chancellor for Students Francisco Hernandez.
At 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 1, the federal government partially shut down after Congress failed to enact spending legislation with the start of the government’s new fiscal year, according to an article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Department of Defense notified officials at the Navy, Army and Air Force academies that all intercollegiate athletics would be suspended until the shutdown ended.
According to Jodie Kuba, Director for Financial Aid Services at UH Mānoa, the office did business as usual during the shutdown. If the shutdown did affect its services, the office would have notified the students.
UH library welcomes new additions to Hawaiʻi newspaper archive
New additions were added to Hamilton Library’s open-access archive of 19th and 20th century Hawai‘i newspapers.
“Hamilton Library has been a part of the National Digital Newspaper Program since 2008, and we have been digitizing newspapers since then,” Hawai‘i Digital Newspaper Project manager Jennifer Beamer said.
The 2012-14 project will digitize predecessor titles of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
$1 million allocated for UH classroom improvements
The campus will allocate $1 million a year for continual classroom upgrades, with a second batch of classrooms to be renovated this summer.
According to interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Physical, Environmental and Long Range Planning Stephen Meder, this money will come from Capital Renewal and Deferred Maintenance, which is money allocated from the state legislature to the University of Hawai‘i system.
Five classrooms in the Business Administration building will be renovated in the summer with the money allocated for classroom improvements.
The UH system’s deferred maintenance backlog has reached $487 million, according to the BOR Committee on Planning and Facilities and Committee on Budget and Finance meeting on Oct. 4.
Over this past summer, the Facilities Management Office renovated approximately 23 classrooms across campus.
Student protest against developments on Mauna Kea and for free speech
Around 80 people gathered on Oct. 15 in front of HauMĀNA’s mural by the Art Building to protest their right for free speech to express their politics and cultural values.
“Weʻre here to take a stand and say that the university cannot be a place of Hawaiian education and Hawaiian learning, while also participating in the desecration of Mauna a Wākea,” Haley Kailiʻehu, a Ph.D. student at UH Mānoa said.
According to the UH Institute for Astronomy website, Mauna Kea hosts the world’s largest astronomical observatory, with telescopes operated by astronomers from eleven countries. The university leases the land within a 2.5-mile radius of the site of the UH 2.2-meter telescope, which is essentially all the land above 3,700 meters elevation except for the portions that lie within the Mauna Kea Ice Natural Area Reserve.
Board of Publications (BOP) chairwoman Rebekah Carroll says the construction barriers around the new campus center, where the mural was painted, are owned by the Campus Center Board and, to her understanding, are not a venue for free speech.
Ways to Mānoa: event to showcase sustainable modes of transportation
Commuter Services held the event, “Ways to Mānoa: An Alternative Experience,” on Oct. 23 to explore the different ways to get to campus.
The event featured 16 exhibitors, including Cycle Mānoa, TheBus, vRide, University Health Services Mānoa and Opconnect.
Campus architect Sharon Williams, the Physical, Environment and Long Range Planning Office representative at the event, said the office is looking at future plans of sustainability for the campus.
The Transportation and Demand Management Program conducted a survey to determine how far students, faculty and administration live off campus. It found that 43 percent of all campus affiliates live within three miles of the campus, which she called a commutable distance for walking or biking.
Board of Regents approve supplemental budget for FY 2015
The Board of Regents approved the university’s fiscal year 2015 supplemental budget, including a proposal to cut funding for the Daniel K. Inouye Center.
The university budget will now go on to the state Department of Budget and Finance, which is the governor’s budget agency.
The board approved an amended request for $5 million in state general obligation bonds for construction of the Daniel K. Inouye Center on the Mānoa campus. The construction for the center will not begin in July 2014 as planned.
The university’s deferred maintenance backlog has reached $487 million. The budget calls for $14 million in general funds, which was cut from the base budget in FY 2012 and was based on a temporary cut in the University of Hawai‘i Professional Assembly members’ pay. If the funds are received, the university can take the $14 million in tuition revenues it had been using so it can pay the debt service on $212 million in revenue bonds.
“That $14 million is enough to eliminate the deferred maintenance backlog for all of our campuses except Mānoa,” Interim President David Lassner said.
A step toward a sustainable UH
Students, faculty and community members introduced a sustainability policy to the Board of Regents on Oct. 18 to promote sustainable practices in different university functions.
The proposed policy calls for the recognition that the knowledge base in sustainable island systems resides in the indigenous people and residents of Hawaiʻi, and for commitment to consult with local cultural practitioners and sustainability experts on best practices in sustainable resource allocation and use.
“If the university is not sustainable, the system may not be sustained long enough for future generations to come here and learn,” said Gabriel Sachter-Smith, a graduate student studying Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences.
Task force seeks to improve services for veterans
UH interim President David Lassner and retired Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs General Eric Shinseki will appoint a new UH task force to provide suggestions on how UH campuses can better support veteran students.
The goal of the task force is to improve services provided to veteran students across all UH system campuses.
UH veteran students include more than 2,400 students or about four percent of the UH student body.
The task force will be asked to complete its work by spring 2014 to present proposals at the next year’s system-wide conference. UH Mānoa hosts and coordinates this conference on service to veterans each spring.
Campus implements sustainable projects
Buildings and Grounds Management has put out more than 100 recycling bins throughout the UH Mānoa campus to improve the school’s sustainability.
Director of Buildings and Grounds Management Roxanne Adams wanted to increase the campus’ recycling and came up with the idea to implement the new recycling bins.
The department is also planning to expand the landscaping around Hamilton Library and is working with students to adopt a landscape.
Campus Security officer honored as ‘Top Cop’
Campus Security officer John D. Trojacek earned the “Top Cop” award through his life-saving actions during the First Hawaiian Bank Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics in May.
As Trojacek helped HPD at the run, he noticed a fellow correctional officer lying unresponsive on the ground. Trojacek coordinated several HPD officers and fellow runners who were doing CPR compressions on the fallen runner.
Another officer was able to deliver an AED to the scene, and Tojacek learned the next day the runner had survived.
La Raza Unida hopes to unite Latino students on campus
A new student organization, La Raza Unida, hopes to raise awareness of Latino culture and population on campus.
Mercedes Ramos established the Latino organization this semester, with the goal of bringing Latino students on campus together, to create a home away from home, to raise awareness of Latino culture and have a Latino graduation.
Claudia Lara, a junior ethnic studies major and one of the founders of the organization, said that the Latino community in Hawai‘i has grown significantly through the years, but lacks an organization.
Anyone can join the organization, regardless of his or her ethnicity, according to Ramos.
UH asks state to renew Mauna Kea leases
The state Board of Land and Natural Resources will review the University of Hawai‘i’s request to issue new 65-year leases atop Mauna Kea at its Dec. 13 meeting.
According to Big Island Now, UH asked the board to cancel its existing leases for the Mauna Kea Science Reserve and the property under the Hale Pōhaku Mid-Level Facility and to issue new ones.
According to UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney, the new 65-year lease will allow UH “a long-term horizon to better plan and commit to the design and development of instrumentation that has put the facilities on Mauna Kea at the forefront in cutting edge astronomical research in the world.”
The Associated Students of the University of Hawai‘i passed Senate Resolution 13-14 in opposition to the renewal of leases on Mauna a Wākea on Nov. 6.
UH scientists discover new species in Kīlauea Caldera
A team of researchers at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa has found a unique species known to exist in only one cave in Kīlauea Caldera.
The new cyanobacterium, which are bacteria that live in water and obtain energy through photosynthesis, was cultivated from the volcanically active Kīlauea Caldera.
Once the team sequenced its whole genome, they said they had discovered a new species.
The species has been named Gloeobacter kilaueensis. The second part of the name, ‘kilaueensis’ means “of or pertaining to Kīlauea,” the area from which the type of strain was isolated.
‘The Great American Smokeout’ smothers tobacco use
University Health Services Health Promotion Program hosted the annual “Great American Smokeout” health fair on Nov. 21 in conjunction with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
The event was based on a national event that was originally created by the American Cancer Society as a day for people who use tobacco to attempt to quit, according to University Health Services Health Promotion Chair Kristen Scholly.
More than 20 organizations were at the event.
In recent years, the event focused on encouraging more people to quit smoking, and also for nonsmokers’ awareness of their exposure to secondhand smoke.
New chief of Campus Security plans to raise safety standards
As newly appointed chief of Campus Security and Emergency Management, Charles Noffsinger plans to improve the overall standard of safety on campus by incorporating community policing, engaging in open dialogue and improving policy development.
Noffsinger assumed the role on Sept. 30, 2013, after a three-month national search conducted by Campus Services management and the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Administration, Finance and Operations.
He said his interest focuses on the perception of safety. He said if people don’t feel safe and if they don’t believe it’s a safe community, then that’s a starting point for him.
The budget-balancing act
The Student Network for Action and Progress marched to the state capitol on Nov. 22 to protest the decrease in state funding to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
The organization hopes to be able to give the student body the ability to lobby for its interests directly, according to SNAP founder and march organizer Christopher Stump. He hopes the march will “bring attention to the fact that the university here in Hawai‘i is the best investment for the state of Hawai‘i’s future.”
According to Chancellor Tom Apple, state support has dropped by over $4,000 per undergraduate on campus in four years. He also said the campus’ utility bill has risen by over $1,000 per student in the same period.
Sen. David Ige said there is concern throughout the university because of its backlog of repairs and maintenance.
University of Hawaiʻi campuses receive $83.9 million
The University of Hawaiʻi system received $83.9 million for capital improvement projects on Nov. 21.
According to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the projects address the needed maintenance and repair work while creating jobs.
Fifty million dollars will go to System Capital Renewal and Deferred Maintenance at UH Mānoa, UH Hilo, UH West Oʻahu and UH Community Colleges, along with other projects. Twenty-eight million dollars will go to Systemwide Health, Safety and Code Requirements at UH Mānoa, UH Hilo and UH Community Colleges.
UH forms task force on veteran affairs
The university has formed a system-wide task force on improving services for student veterans, which held its first meeting Nov. 22.
Lassner announced his plan to appoint a new task force at a joint news conference in September with retired Secretary of the U.S. Veterans Administration General Eric Shinseki.
UH students, faculty, staff and community members submitted nominations and self-nominations, which led to the appointment of the 15 task force members.
The task force is charged with providing recommendations that improve veteran access to UH and the success of student veterans by reaching out to all campuses and representing the interests and concerns of the entire system and veterans throughout the state.