Every day, I am inspired by our students who vitalize the University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu and magnify UH West Oʻahu’s potential. As we prepare for the spring 2016 commencement of our graduating seniors, I wish to commend and thank our graduates-to-be and all students for your propensity and aptitude for service and dedication to the campus. How privileged we are to witness first-hand your development as future leaders of our state and community. You are the innovators and game-changers whose initiatives and engagement have enriched the campus and made a positive difference at UH West Oʻahu and the community. Your involvement is, and will continue to be, highly valued.
Student involvement enhances the educational experience beyond the classroom. It presents students opportunities to hone leadership, negotiation, advocacy, and decision-making skills that will be assets in your future endeavors. Student involvement appears in many forms, and all are respected and appreciated. Some serve on boards of chartered student organizations, such as the Campus Center Board, Student Media Board, and Student Activity Fee Board. Others contribute in tutoring at the Noʻeau Center, serving as a student ambassador with the PUEO Leadership Program.
Some students have embraced UH West Oʻahu internships and creative opportunities. At the grand opening of the Regal Cinemas in Kapolei in April, I was delighted by the “West is Best” promotional trailer that was written, produced, and edited by six of our Creative Media students. In March, I witnessed the Senate and House of Representatives honor Chancellor Emeritus Rockne Freitas at the State Capitol in ceremonies that were initiated by our UHWO legislative interns. Last week’s inaugural Pueo Awards: Student Recognition event further illustrates the fantastic contributions of our students in academic excellence, intramurals, service learning, student life, clubs, and student employment.
At the recent tuition public meeting at the University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu, our Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu student leaders asked thoughtful, meaningful questions about how tuition dollars had been spent in the past, how they will be spent in the future, and how they benefit our students. It takes courage and confidence to ask pointed questions in the presence of UH Regents Lee Putnam and Michelle Tagorda, UH System Vice President for Academic Planning and Policy Risa Dickson, and other executives. Our ASUHWO student leaders took their responsibility seriously and fulfilled their obligations to represent their fellow UHWO students. Their fine leadership and diligence are commendable.
When I was a graduate student, I looked daily above my desk at a poster with the inscription, You never really leave a place you love. Part of it you take with you, leaving part of you behind. UH West Oʻahu will long cherish the legacy each student leaves with us. We hope that you will also treasure the student experiences you take with you as you leave UH West Oʻahu.