By Steffanie Sobitz`
Ka La staff writer
Whether you are new to the campus this semester or have been at Honolulu Community College for awhile, you have probably noticed change is in the air, including the addition of Hawaiian place names on buildings; cafeteria and building 5 renovations, new class offerings, and a new campus slogan: We Are Honolulu.
All of these changes are in alignment with the University of Hawai‘i’s Hawai‘i Papa o Ke ‘Ao plan that recommends all campuses incorporate Hawaiian cultural understanding at all levels. These changes also align with the campus’s strategic plan.
There is an ‘ōlelo no‘eau, or Hawaiian saying, that says: I ka wā mamua, ka wā mahope, which translates to: the future is in the past. HonCC is making a strong effort to our past into our present and coming together for a stronger future rooted in Hawaiian values and culture.
A few years ago a plan to rename the buildings to reflect a piece of that history was put in place. The college used historical documents which revealed that the campus was built on six ancient Hawaiian land divisions, or `ili. The new building names reflect the historic land division names as follows: Kumupali (Building 2), Niuhelewai (future STEM building), Keone‘ula (Building 14), Pulehu a i‘ole Kapulehu (Building 27), ‘Olani (Building 6), and Kaukahōkū (Building 7). The buildings have signage that explains the importance of each of the ‘ili. The signage includes copies of the old land division maps, along with a short history of that specific location.
In September of this year, Honolulu Community College won a Bronze award for a new 30-second TV ad at the District 6 Medallion Awards for the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations for Community Colleges. According to schoolʻs Director of Communications, Billie Lueder, “We Are Honolulu is not just a catch phrase or a hash tag; it is a statement that we as students, faculty, and staff take great pride in as an institution that has been serving the community for 96 years.” The undertone of the commercial is an ‘oli, or traditional Hawaiian chant written by Hawaiian Studies faculty member Kimo Keaulana. Below is the English translation of the chant:
Ke Kula Kaiaulu ‘O Honolulu
I am from the gourd of the ‘Olauniu wind
From the land where the water of Niuhelewai flows,
Water that bubbles inland.
From the upland is the fragrance of sandalwood
That streams to the sea of Kawa;
Education is a great treasure
That bursts in a world of light;
It is known.
History teaches us that being involved in one’s community, as well as reflecting on and working from the past is the best way we can thrive together in the future. In the fall of 2016, HonCC officially launched We Are Honolulu through its many communication platforms and marketing efforts, and in the spring of 2017 there will be more elements added to support the theme that will come together in hopes to make new friends and connections on campus and in the surrounding community to facilitate a bright, limitless future for all of us.
“We want everyone to participate and tell us you story by sharing social media posts of you in your program of study, doing a community service project with classmates, or showing off your definition of campus life by using the hashtag #WeAreHonolulu. See our stories on our Instagram feed,” shares Lueder.
Studies show that students who get involved in campus activities, utilize campus resources, and join clubs and study groups at school are much more likely to graduate with high GPAs, as well as move on to four-year universities. Being a part of HonCCs community also helps students develop important leadership skills, become more effective communicators, and practice better study habits. Together, we can make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others, while increasing our chances at success.
If you are looking for ways to get involved and meet new people at HonCC, here are a few. Join a study group; gain support and make new friends while preparing for exams. Get a job or volunteer for activities on campus; getting to know staff, faculty, and students on campus is a great way to gain additional support. Join a student organization or club; be active on campus and in the community. You can always pop in at one of the events held on campus throughout the semester too. There is a ton of history to explore, people to connect with, and culture to appreciate at Honolulu Community College.