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Hirono visits, discusses sustainable agriculture, digital media, and more


Hirono visits, discusses sustainable agriculture, digital media, and more

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono planted an ʻulu (breadfruit) tree during her Jan. 12 visit to UH West Oʻahu. Image courtesy of UHWO Staff

U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) visited the University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu campus on Jan. 12 — a followup to her Nov. 9 visit — to once again speak with students, alumni, faculty, staff, and administrators, this time about initiatives in sustainable food and agriculture, food security, digital media, labor education and research, and more.

As part of her visit, Sen. Hirono’s campus tour included Hale Kuahuokalā and the Student Organic Garden, ‘Ulu‘ulu: The Henry Ku‘ualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawai‘i, and the new Academy for Creative Media (ACM) Student Production Center.

“For the last decade, UH West O‘ahu has steadily worked to expand the programs, resources, and support available to its students,” Hirono said in a news release following her visit. “They have demonstrated their commitment to creating opportunities to enable all students — particularly underrepresented students — to receive a quality post-secondary education.”

During Hirono’s tour of the māla (garden), she met with with Dr. Albie Miles, assistant professor of Sustainable Community Food Systems (SCFS), and discussed the SCFS program, which prepares students for jobs in the sustainable food and agriculture sector. Hirono also spoke to Dr. Manulani Aluli Meyer and Indrajit Gunasekara about their NiU NOW!/Uluniu Project movement, and planted an ‘ulu (breadfruit) tree — the Hawaiian variety ‘Ulu Maoli — in the Uluniu Grove beside the māla.

Following the māla, Hirono met with Dr. William Puette, director of the Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR), which is designed to provide labor education, research, and labor-related programs to workers, their organizations, and the general public, including through its recently-established Labor Studies certificate program.

Hirono then visited ‘Ulu‘ulu, the state’s official archive for moving images, where she spoke with staff about the digital preservation work they do with audiovisual materials sharing Hawai‘i’s culture, traditions, and collective memory.

Finally, Hirono toured the new ACM Student Production Center with Chris Lee, founder and director of the ACM System; Sharla Hanaoka, director of the ACM at UH West O‘ahu; and Creative Media students and alumni, who shared the work they are doing within the hub for Creative Media education throughout the ACM System.

Hirono also stopped by and briefly spoke at two events that took place that day on campus: a board meeting for Pacific Islanders in Communications, a national nonprofit media arts organization whose Board of Directors represent Hawai‘i, Guam, American Samoa, and public television entities; and the Hawai‘i Food Systems Summit, where participants were brainstorming ideas for food system transformation and policy ideas for implementation during the 2023 state legislative session.

During Hirono’s last visit in November to UH West O‘ahu, she learned about programs offered to support underrepresented students. According to a news release, Hirono recently helped secure $24.4 million for Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions (AANHSI) and other programs that support Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), such as UH West O‘ahu.

“UH West O‘ahu offers diverse programs in promising fields that can contribute to Hawai‘i’s economy, such as creative media and agriculture, and I enjoyed learning more about these initiatives,” Hirono said. “I will continue working to support Hawai‘i’s colleges and universities, as well as the students they serve.”

To see photos from the Jan. 12 event, visit the “Sen. Mazie Hirono tours campus” album on Flickr.