Chancellor Dr. Maenette Benham of the University of Hawaii at West Oahu (UH West) spoke to the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board in May about the progress of the university’s growth. Dr. Benham, who started working on January 1, 2017, introduced the theme of the school year – pupukahi i holomua. The university’s five principles are po’okela (excellence), kauhale (creating a place where people want to be), hana lawelawe (service), malama honua (sustainability), and wai wai (abundance). The enrollment capacity presently is 3,000, and UH West plans to be sustainable at 8,000 in 10 to 12 years. The Health Sciences and the Administration buildings will be opened by fall of 2018 to be followed by the Creative Media Facility. The university encompasses 500 acres of which 350 acres are set aside for facilities and a University Village, which will include student housing, faculty housing, and shops related to campus needs and conveniences.
Dr. Benham described some ongoing programs to encourage greater student enrollment:
- College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources has been given an award from the Department of Land and Natural Resources to work on the mapping of the Pueo habitat in the area.
- The Bachelors of Applied Sciences (BAS) programs were recently approved by the Board of Regents; the BAS degree for Sustainable Communities and Food Systems is one of the fastest growing degrees at UH West; a request is being processed for 200 acres mauka of the freeway to be used for the Educational Agricultural Program.
- UH West has received Title 3 federal grants to increase campus services for Hawaiian students; three programs are currently designed to promote Hawaiian culture and ideals.
- UH West is committed to emphasize and incorporate the flora of the Leeward Coast into the campus landscape.