By Jocelyn Howard, School of Social Work and CPIS MA Student
The April 4–6 “Waves of Change” conference brought many different people to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Among them were students from Kaimukī High School, located down the road from UHM campus. These students are part of the STEM and Media Projects of the Imua and the Pālolo Pipeline programs, which focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Their participation in the conference was to help them learn about climate change and how it is affecting the Pacific, their home countries, their lives and the lives of their future children, and media training. My service learning involved planning for how these students could prepare before the conference, mentoring students during the conference, and providing feedback for video editing after the conference.
The students visited UH Mānoa two times prior to the conference, during which they watched films on climate change, listened to presentations by Pacific Islander students—including myself—about how climate change has affected their communities, learned interviewing skills, learned techniques for video recording as well as how to interact among themselves and with the UH students and faculty.
The part of my service-learning project that I enjoyed the most was working with the students during the conference. The students had the opportunity to meet the keynote speaker, Minister Tony de Brum from the Marshall Islands, listen to his message, and conduct an interview with him to further explore the subject of climate change. The students interviewed other conference speakers including HE Ambassador Takesy from the Federated States of Micronesia to the United State of America. The students also participated in giving lei to the conference speakers. Overall the opportunity to have this service learning has been a crucial part of my learning in the Pacific Islands Studies program. It allowed me to put theory into practice, serve my community, and learn from my community to be a better student, researcher, service provider, as well as community advocate. I would encourage every student in the program to do service learning.