University of Hawaii Maui College received awards last week for academic and student work in sustainability. The awards were presented during the third annual statewide Hawaii Sustainability in Higher Education Summit held at the UH Manoa campus.
Executive Director Alex de Roode accepted the UHMC Campus Sustainability award for the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui on behalf of a team including Melanie Stephens and Austin Van Heusen. “The knowledge that we are within a system that supports and recognizes sustainability efforts and achievements inspires and motivates us to broaden our scope and increase our impact within our local community and beyond,” said de Roode, who was nominated by UH Maui Chancellor Lui Hokoana for leadership in building Hawaii’s green economy.
UHMC student Pierre Parranto received a system-wide award for leadership in student and community engagement; the honor was presented by UH President David Lassner. Parranto, who is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Science Management, helms the Student Ohana for Sustainability at UHMC, and raises awareness about sustainability on campus as President of the Student Activities Council.
“Our student projects focus on community service including beach clean-ups, rain gardens, water-bottle refill stations, and awareness campaigns,” Parranto said. “Bringing this award home to Maui encourages us to continue our efforts like organizing an upcoming campus Earth Day event.”
Recognized for leading the first degree program in sustainability in the UH System, UHMC Program Coordinator Tim Botkin accepted the faculty award for leadership in advancing sustainability from President Lassner. Botkin said the award recognizes that the Sustainable Science Management program is more than just curriculum. “It’s a connector for developing knowledgeable leadership for Maui, Hawaii and beyond,” Botkin said.
During the summit, a historic moment for the University of Hawaii system occurred when President Lassner electronically signed a new executive policy on sustainability. The policy sets specific goals for UH including achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, and provides a framework for the university to fulfill its commitment to sustainability in operations, curriculum, scholarship and engagement.
“The establishment of a core fabric of sustainable thinking, working across all disciplines, is an important academic mission,” Botkin said. “But even more important is the work our graduates will do as they join the workforce to help map the future of our islands.”
Botkin’s program is also developing new shorter term certificates in Sustainable Tourism and Sustainable Technology to apply the principles of sustainability to local industries. To learn more about sustainability initiatives at UH Maui College visit maui.hawaii.edu/ssm and sustainablemaui.org. The policy can be viewed online at go.hawaii.edu/8G.
The Sustainable Science Management program is partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in the amount of $320,694. Funding does not pay for student costs to participate. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
Photo of UHMC President David Lassner (left) congratulating Alex de Roode: Ryan Kramer