State legislators have approved the state’s supplemental budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which includes $50 million for system-wide capital renewal and deferred maintenance in general obligation bond funds.
The budget now moves on to the governor for approval.
The state budget includes two sections: capital improvement projects and program appropriations.
State legislators have allocated $10 million of general obligation bond funds for the Daniel K. Inouye Library on the UH Mānoa campus. The project will consist of approximately 20,000 square feet of archival space, exhibition area, auditorium, classrooms and faculty research space, according to HB 1700.
Lawmakers also allocated $2 million for Holmes Hall for the renovation improvement and expansion of the building.
They also approved $33 million for a permanent building to house the university’s Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.
The budget also includes $10 million for projects at the community colleges, including capital renewal, reduction of maintenance backlog, major and minor renovations, modernization of facilities, reroofing, mechanical and electrical systems and other repairs to upgrade the facilities at the campuses.
Starting May 1, alumni who graduated between spring 2008 to the present can purchase membership to the newly opened Warrior Recreation Center. But some current and former UH students say graduates, especially those who have paid for the center in their student fees, shouldn’t have to pay for access. According to Campus Center Board President Matthew Nagata, there are an estimated 80,000 alumni living on O‘ahu, a number that could affect accessibility to the center.
“One of the concerns of the operations we have is that the 80,000 alumni would most likely adversely affect the students’ ability to access the center, which is why we had said basically the alumni that essentially paid for the recreation center fee would have first priority access to the facility,” he said.
The alumni who graduated during this time paid for the center with the mandatory campus center operations and recreation fee, which was approved by the Board of Regents in spring 2008. Prior to that semester, the fee was called the student center operations fee.
The campus center operations and recreation fee rose to its current $175 amount during a five-year period, according to Nagata. Current students will continue to pay this fee every semester.
THE CENTER’S ACCESSIBILITY
During its first operating week, the Warrior Recreation Center averaged about 2,300 people who accessed it each day. During its first operating weekend, an average of 750 people accessed it each day.
According to Nagata, Student Recreation Services, as the facility operator, is still trying to determine practical operating capacity of the WRC. The Campus Center Board will then use that data to make appropriate policies for the facility.
He said the center’s fire code says it can hold up to 3,000 people.
“But of course we realize that we can’t accommodate all the people in the facility at one time, so we’re trying to find a balance between what’s appropriate in the facility,” he said. “So we’re trying to balance out number-wise in the facility to make sure that, of course, we’re in compliance with the fire code and then also we’re not overcrowding because we reach capacity.”
Alumni who graduated between spring 2008 to the present can purchase a yearly membership for $300.
“One of the recommendations we received was $300 was a number that operation felt would be proportional to the use of the facility – that alumni would kind of justify the cost of a $300 membership as well as also making sure that we were covering our costs for the use of the facilities because students pay,” Nagata said. “We want to make sure it was fair for everyone to pay.”
But alumni have options when it comes to membership. Six-month, monthly, weekly and daily memberships and passes are also available to them.
Some current students, like freshman Janelle Gacula, think it’s a good idea to allow that group of alumni access to the center.
Freshman Mary Hara thinks this group would impact the center’s accessibility but doesn’t think the center is currently crowded.
“I don’t really have a problem with it though,” she said.
Jack Damuni, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology last December, said he thinks alumni should be able to use the center without paying a membership fee.
“You’ve paid your dues there. You should be able to use the resources there,” he said. “We should be able to have access for free or at some discount.”
Damuni, who works out at the Alexander C. Waterhouse Physiology Research and Training Facility on lower campus, said many alumni utilize that gym.
He said many of those alumni would also come to the Warrior Recreation Center if admission were cheap or free.
“I’d probably come every day,” he said.
According to a UH news release, the Campus Center Board and the Student Recreation faculty and staff from the Office of Student Life and Development will “continue to assess the actual usage of the facility over the coming semester and, if possible, extend the offer of membership to UHM alumni who graduated before Spring 2008 in the future.”
“If the facility is able to accommodate the fee paying students, faculty/staff, and spring 2008 – current alumni; membership opportunities may be extended to UHM alumni that graduated prior to spring 2008,” Nagata said.
According to Nagata, faculty and staff can also purchase a yearly membership for $240. Other options are also available.
UH community college and outreach students, NICE program, SEED program and East-West Center students and participants can also purchase yearly, six-month, monthly, weekly and daily memberships and passes. In some cases, semester memberships are also available.
Buddy passes will also be available for non-members for $10 a day or $20 a week.
THE CENTER’S FIRST TWO WEEKS
The center’s first two weeks were originally designated as a trial period for anyone with a valid UH Mānoa ID, according to Nagata.
“So a student, being fee-paying, of course, would be (able to) access the facility, and then anyone that was faculty and staff or had a valid UH Mānoa ID was able to use the facility for the first two weeks for free,” he said.
According to an April 14 article in Hawaii News Now, alumni weren’t able to access the facility during its first couple of weeks.
“I think operationally we had there were some concerns about the capacity of the facility, so operationally they decided to not sell alumni memberships at the current time the facility opened up,” Nagata said.
Campus Center Board then met with Student Recreation Services and Student Life Leadership.
“That’s when we came around to the, I guess, compromise between the alumni that graduated previously that paid for the facility but also making sure we’re able to service the students that are currently enrolled at UH Mānoa,” Nagata said.
He said that prior to that, the Campus Center Board had approved an affiliate membership category, which included alumni.
“I think we got to recognize the concern from the operation stand point that that may not have been feasible, and we may have, you know, overcrowded the facility so we need to look at that again,” Nagata said.
Eight graduate students enrolled in an architecture studio class are collaborating with a national developer to design a component of Ward Village.
Throughout the semester, students have been working on individual designs, collaborating with Howard Hughes Corp., for one block of the LEED ND Platinum Ward Village Master Plan that will be presented next month to the Ward Village team, who may broadly include some of the student ideas in upcoming development plans.
“I think it’s really good for people in school, especially in this level, to be actively involved in the community,” said Amy Anderson, an associate professor in the department.
Anderson is teaching the course and believes that student involvement is beneficial.
“If you view the university as a testing ground, in which they’re not in the same pressure as the marketplace, they’re a little bit freer to run with ideas that might not initially be viable,” she said. “And I think it’s good for the students to be able to think that way; it’s to push out their own thinking.”
WORKING WITH THE COMMUNITY
Nick Vanderboom, vice president of development at Howard Hughes Corp., said the collaboration is an opportunity for the students to share their creative ideas and for the company to look at things in a different way.
“We saw an opportunity to, I think, give back and hopefully help educate and inspire people who will hopefully go and make a difference and become talented architects here, making Honolulu and Hawai‘i a better place,” he said.
According to some of the students in the class, they are the only section that is receiving a real-world situation.
“Some professors, they make up their own program location, but Amy (Anderson) took it a step further and turned this into more of a reality project, a real project that’s going on,” student Juliann Cheng said.
According to Andreas Gaeta, another student in the class, other sections design for a given scenario.
Anderson’s students are charged with designing an open public space, retail section and residential tower. According to Cheng, each student has to choose one type of renewable energy and strategy to implement on their sites.
The residential tower will be 400 feet tall with a 1,600 square-foot footprint, but the overall scope of the project is approximately 4.5 million feet, according to Gaeta.
Cheng said there are many challenges to designing a project like this.
“It’s designing something beautiful and trying to incorporate culture, trying to understand developers and what their needs are, but also what we want to see in Ward since we live here,” she said.
Gaeta said the benefit of this type of project was dealing with several different aspects that need to be considered rather than designs that focus more on aesthetics in undergraduate courses.
“So rather than just designing in kind of one plane, you’re actually designing in a bunch of different perspectives,” he said.
STILL A CLASS
The eight students and Anderson meet every Monday and Friday from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
According to Anderson, most of the time, the class time is used for individual, one-on-one discussions. She also brings in consultants to help the students on topics such as environmental and structural issues.
But the students are also required to work on their projects for at least 30 hours a week outside of class.
According to Anderson, the students worked on site planning for about half the semester, and now they’re building designs.
The students will present their designs to Howard Hughes Corp. in early May where the developers can learn from the students and get some broad ideas.
“So they can learn from us and get some ideas broadly, but they can’t take things specifically,” Anderson said. “And those people in the professional community are aware of that issue.”
Vanderboom said that while the students are working on their designs, the company has been working with an architect firm to develop a general plan in terms of the direction Ward Village, which is currently known as Ward Centers, is heading.
“I’m not sure if we’re going to be ready to share it with them by the time that they’re finished, but shortly thereafter we’ll be able to share it and think that’ll be really fun for them to have completed the study but then see how a major architectural firm, you know, how they looked at it and what their solution was,” he said.
Graduate students working on the designs think the collaboration is a rare opportunity.
“It’s a unique opportunity, especially coming from school, and we get a real-world taste of what developers are looking for, how they see things should be developed,” said Matt Kubota, a student in the class.
The Board of Regents will receive and discuss the Presidential Selection Committee’s final report, which includes fewer than five names of presidential candidates.
“The intent is for the board to receive the committee’s report and discuss it in executive session, and it is for the board to decide the next steps to take and the public statement it chooses to make,” said regent Carl Carlson, who is the chairman of the committee.
Carlson said some candidates chose to withdraw from the process because of its public nature.
Earlier this week Hawaii News Now reported that the search for a new president has been narrowed down to as few as two candidates — current interim President David Lassner and Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, who is the retired commander of the Army of the Pacific.
UH could not confirm this. According to Carlson, it is university policy under its Human Resources procedures to not disclose specifics about applicants, including the number that applied.
According to a March 20 UH news release, the board intended to make its presidential finalists public. The Presidential Selection Committee was to forward to the full board a list of five or six names of the top candidates it recommends for consideration. The board would then select three finalists from the list and make the names public.
Carlson said candidates were narrowed down using criteria listed in the President’s Agenda, including the published minimum qualifications and desired qualifications.
According to an April 21 UH news release, the committee has completed its work.
The committee conducted the search itself and omitted its original intention to use the services of a search firm and search consultant.
“The committee explored several different options, went through two complete ‘Request for Proposals’ of both firms and consultants, and ultimately decided not to spend the taxpayers’ funds on a search they felt they could manage themselves, with the assistance of the board staff,” Carlson said.
The search for UH’s new president began in June 2013.
Chairman of the committee, Regent Carl Carlson, said response from the public in its presidential search was critical.
“This was an opportunity to hear from the community about what it wanted in a public university and to re-establish and rebuild a sense of trust that had been severely damaged,” he said in a UH news release. “I believe we made progress in the dozens of public meetings with hundreds and hundreds of individuals.”
Throughout its search process, according to a previous Ka Leo article, the committee held numerous community outreaches and visited various groups and organizations across the state.
According to the news release, the search was conducted entirely by the university as it chose to forgo the services of both a search firm and a search consultant.
As the university system moves further along in its sustainability initiatives, UH Mānoa has hired its first full-time sustainability coordinator.
According to Stephen Meder, the interim assistant vice chancellor for physical, environmental and long-range planning, the need for a sustainability coordinator on campus has been around for at least a decade.
He said that about 10 years ago, the campus used to have a sustainability coordinator, but the position and its funding disappeared.
Mānoa Sustainability Coordinator Aurora Winslade sees herself as a faciliator and as someone to help leverage the potential of the campus.
“There’s lots of people here already doing great work, and I’m not here to try to supersede that,” she said. “I’m here to help it be more strategic and more effective and leverage the great work that people are already doing to realize the savings and to invest in the future.”
Meder noted the campus’ strategic plan, Achieving our Destiny, saying sustainability is one of the core platform legs.
“This is part of the UH Mānoa Strategic plan and important to advance the goals and mission of this campus and university,” he said.
UH Mānoa is not alone in implementing a sustainability coordinator position. According to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education 2012 survey, there are 111 sustainability coordinator positions in the United States.
However, Winslade estimates there may be up to 1,000 or more people in that position, depending on how broadly it is defined.
Coordinating the campus’ green efforts
Winslade’s position is under the Office of Physical, Environmental and Long-Range Planning.
She hopes to help build capacity for leaders as well as student, faculty and staff who care about sustainability. She supports the campus sustainability council as a focal point for communication, coordination and collaboration across the campus.
Winslade also serves as a central point of collaboration with both the system sustainability efforts and the statewide effort to advance sustainability.
She said she still has a lot to learn.
“The starting place for me is to learn what’s already going on, to build relationships with the many practitioners and leaders that already exist, and to help develop more robust assessment tools because for us to make progress, we have to know where we are and we have to know how we’re going to measure that progress,” Winslade said.
More than a decade of experience
For a year and a half, Winslade directed the sustainability office at UH West Oʻahu.
Before that, she spent more than 10 years working on campus sustainability at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She was initially a student leader and then founded and managed the sustainability office on campus.
Meder thinks Winslade is the perfect person to coordinate the campus’ sustainability efforts.
He said the search for the sustainability coordinator position was an open search with many good candidates responding from around the country.
Coordinators across the campuses
According to Winslade, there is no position in the system quite like hers.
Out of the 10 campuses across the system, only four campuses have actual sustainability coordinator positions to oversee each campus’ sustainability initiatives.
Most are part time, like those at UH Hilo and Kapiʻolani Community College.
According to Krista Hiser, the Faculty Service Learning and Sustainability Coordinator at KCC, her position is not an official position.
She identifies courses that are taught at the campus along with specific sections of the courses that are taught with faculty who are involved in sustainability.
“Because we don’t have a sustainability degree right now, I try to have a conversation with our faculty about what sustainability means inside their different academic disciplines,” Hiser said. “Because sustainability is a part of business, it’s part of economics, it’s part of architecture, it’s part of health, it’s part of composition. It just fits everywhere.”
Sasha Davis, sustainability coordinator at UH Hilo, also works part time in this position.
He said the position used to be full time when his predecessor was there.
As the sustainability coordinator, which is a position under the campus’ chancellor’s office, Davis acts as a liaison for the institution in terms of the things that are going on at the system level.
“One of the other things that I do is our campus projects that we want to try and get funding for or move forward through the chancellor’s office,” he said.
Hawaiʻi Community College, on the other hand, has a full-time coordinator position. According to Winslade, the position is grant-funded and currently unfilled.
UH Maui College and Kauaʻi Community College have sustainability insitutes but both focus more on educational programs and curriculum, rather than campus initiatives, according to Winslade.
Here’s a goal to set for yourself: Try to have a picnic or barbecue without leaving behind any trace in the environment. For some, a family or cultural value is to leave a place as clean or cleaner than when you came. This has never been more important than it is today, especially in Hawai‘i.
PAPER OR PLASTIC?
Imagine going on a picnic with two of your friends at a beach on the north shore of the island. You’ll need at least three sets of utensils, three plates, three cups and a handful of napkins. Most of these materials will be made from plastic or paper, which can be thrown away.
In 2012, the United States generated almost 14 million tons of plastics as containers and packaging and almost 7 million tons as nondurable goods, such as plates and cups, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
And for those who say paper is the next best alternative, Discovery.com shares that producing paper causes “70 percent more air pollution than making plastic, … causes 50 percent more water pollution than plastic bag production, and uses four times more energy than making plastic.” Though at its source, paper is more natural, the overall affect could be much worse. Your best bet is reducing the total amount of both plastic and paper you use.
So the next time you go on a picnic, bring reusable or compostable utensils and plates. Reuse picnic gear as much as you can. Bambu and WorldCentric make reusable and compostable utensils that you can use for a picnic and at home. Unlike plastic and many “biodegradable” products, certified compostable products are made purely from plants and break down fully in a composting facility.
Thirsty? Have each person bring his or her own reusable water bottle to drink out of. Most people use plastic water bottles when they go on a picnic, but typically, they will not recycle them and many beaches and parks do not even have recycle bins. Reusable water bottles help this problem. They are also safer than plastic water bottles or cups, as most are now BPA free. The best part of all: They will save you more money in the long run than buying packs of water bottles for everyone.
Once you have your reusable bottles, utensils and bags, you should be ready for some earth-friendly picnicking.
ZERO WASTE REVOLUTION
Disposable cups and plastic water bottles will soon be a thing of the past, and reusable bottles will save countless tons of cups and bottles from ending up in the landfill.
Now you have to think about what food you’ll eat. A salad is always a good option. Buy your produce at one of the dozens of farmers markets in your neighborhood or from stores that get their products from local sources. Getting products from local sources drives Hawaiʻi’s own local economy up and reduces the islands’ carbon footprint. The same goes for any meats you want to have at your picnic. Kokua Market and select other shops focus on sourcing all their produce and meat locally.
BURN CALORIES, NOT OIL
And also consider how you’ll get to your picnic destination. If you’re going across the island, consider taking the bus or carpooling. If you’re going somewhere close, try walking or biking – this will get your blood pumping and serve not only as transportation but also as a good workout for the day.
When you’re done with your picnic, remember to clean up after yourself. Recycle and reuse what you can.
Also remember that, being in Hawai‘i, we have a finite and precious supply of natural resources. As an island chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean more than 2,000 miles away from the nearest state, territory or country, our resources are limited, and although there are many efforts to prevent them from running out, everyone needs to do his or her part.
Your next picnic is a stepping stone to helping the environment and preserving the beauty of our islands. And don’t forget to kick your plastic bag habit for the bag ban going into effect in 2015.
Interested in learning more about mindful recreation? Leave No Trace is an outdoor ethics program that shares its principles and resources with the outdoor-loving communities around the world. See more information atlnt.org