It's been an exciting year for the University of Hawaii Maui College, with new facilities added, new accolades awarded and even more projects on the near horizon. Here's just a few of the highlights from the past year that will benefit our college and community:
* Grants awarded. In the last academic year, the college received more than $11.8 million in a variety of awards from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Labor, as well as other federal state and county support. However, just in the first quarter of this 2012-13 academic year, the college will be awarded more than $19 million. Projects include workforce development, a Maui Farm Bureau partnership creating a Food Innovation Center, Liko A'e Native Hawaiian Scholarships, Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program and STEM-related and Hawaiian studies student support, cyber security education and various renewable energy and electric vehicle initiatives.
* International partnerships. In 2012, the college signed agreements with Takamatsu University of Japan and the Mapua Institute of Technology in the Philippines. Four scholars from Mariano Marcos State University visited the college in early September, meeting with administrative officials and teaching a special lecture series. And nine students from the Shanghai Institute of Tourism, China, arrived to take hospitality and tourism and Hawaiian studies classes while completing internships at Maui hotels and resorts.
* Campus sustainability. The college is collaborating with U.C. San Diego and Johnson Controls to transform the campus into a center of excellence for sustainability. Projects include a high performance central chiller plant, energy-efficient lighting, occupancy sensors, solar hot water heaters, low-flow plumbing fixtures and a campuswide energy management system. This will reduce energy consumption by at least 25 percent and in its lifespan save an estimated $14 million in electricity, 4 million gallons of water and reduce greenhouse gas generation by 1,134 tons per year - the equivalent carbon dioxide offset of 29,075 trees.
* Opentable.com accolade. In 2012, OpenTable.com, a nationwide online restaurant reservations service, named the Leis Family Class Act Restaurant No. 1 on their list of "Best Overall Restaurants in Hawaii." Managed by Maui Culinary Academy faculty and students, diners reported enjoying exquisite five-star culinary creations made with fresh, locally grown ingredients prepared and served by our culinary students.
* Baby Dental Packet Program recognition. In November, Mayor Alan Arakawa presented a special proclamation to the college's Dental Assisting Program for its work in creating Dental Packets for Babies. The program gives health care providers dental informational packets for the families of every baby born at the Maui Memorial Medical Center, as well as interested pediatric and community health offices. Eight thousand Baby DentalPackets have been distributed since 2009.
* Community garden. The Sustainable Living Institute of Maui broke ground on the college's new community garden, a project funded by the Ulupono Initiative, Community Work Day and the Department of Water Supply. It is the first community garden within the University of Hawaii system. Plots will be available for a small fee to all students, staff and faculty, as well as members of the community who will learn to grow their own food while socializing and interacting with others who share these interests.
* New science building. The construction of the $26 million facility called 'Ike Le'a (to see clearly) is being completed in this year and will open in January. Teaching labs will be dedicated to astronomy, optics, physics, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, biology, microbiology and the marine sciences. Students will additionally experience hands-on training and applied research through a variety of these science, technology, engineering and mathrelated internship programs.
Of course there's much more than we can fit in one article. To learn more about this year's progress, visit our online news page at maui.hawaii.edu/news.
* Clyde Sakamoto is chancellor of the University of Hawaii Maui College. Ka'ana Mana'o, which means "sharing thoughts," is scheduled to appear on the fourth Sunday of each month. It is prepared with assistance from UH-Maui College staff and is intended to provide the community of Maui County information about opportunities available through the College at its Kahului campus and its education centers.