January 12, 2023

PHOTOS & VIDEO: Hirono Visits UH West Oahu to Discuss Sustainable Agriculture and Labor Education and Research

HONOLULU, HI – Today, U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) visited the University of Hawaii West Oahu (UHWO) campus to speak with UHWO students, faculty, administrators, and staff about their initiatives in sustainable food and agriculture, food security, digital media, and labor education and research. As part of her visit, Senator Hirono toured the student organic garden, the state’s official digital archives, and the new Academy for Creative Media Student Production Center.

“For the last decade, UH West Oahu has steadily worked to expand the programs, resources, and support available to its students,” said Senator Hirono. “They have demonstrated their commitment to creating opportunities to enable all students—particularly underrepresented students—to receive a quality post-secondary education. UHWO offers diverse programs in promising fields that can contribute to Hawaii’s economy, such as creative media and agriculture, and I enjoyed learning more about these initiatives. I will continue working to support Hawaii’s colleges and universities, as well as the students they serve.”

During her tour of the student organic garden, Senator Hirono planted an ulu tree and discussed the university’s Sustainable Community Foods Systems (SCFS) program, which prepares students for jobs in the sustainable food and agriculture sector. The garden is maintained by UHWO students, staff, and faculty and is used to host various workshops. She also stopped by the Hawaii Food Systems Summit, where participants were brainstorming ideas for food system transformation and policy ideas for implementation during the 2023 state legislative session.

The Senator also met with Dr. William Puette, director of the Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR), to discuss the progress of his labor education curriculum. CLEAR 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. 

Senator Hirono also toured the state’s official digital archives, ?Ulu?ulu, and the new Academy for Creative Media (ACM) Student Production Center, where she heard from students and alumni about their work. The new center, which opened in November 2022, serves as a resource for UHWO’s fast-growing creative media program and links facilities and programs throughout the University of Hawaii system. At the archives, the Senator spoke with the staff about the work they do to digitize and preserve materials related to the history and culture of Hawaii.

While she was on campus, Senator Hirono also briefly sat in on a board meeting for Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), a national nonprofit media arts organization. She spoke to the group about the importance of sharing the diverse stories of underrepresented groups, such as Pacific Islanders, in media. PIC’s Board of Directors represent Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, and public television entities.

Senator Hirono last visited UHWO in November, where she learned about programs offered to support underrepresented students. A longstanding champion of programs that support underrepresented members of our community, Senator 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 UHWO. 

Photos of the Senator’s visit are available here

B-roll of the Senator’s visit are available here