3 men looking at steel container
James Trujillo, center, shows UH Regents Ramón de la Peña, left, and John Holzman honey produced by Kauaʻi beehives

Kauaʻi Community College has launched Hoʻouluwehi: The Sustainable Living Institute of Kauaʻi to partner with the community in creating a culturally, economically, environmentally and socially sustainable Garden Island.

“This is an exciting moment for the college,” said Chancellor Helen Cox. “It is both the culmination of intense work since 2009 and the beginning of a remarkable journey in which we will provide our students opportunities to engage in exciting work in many aspects of sustainability while at the same time provide very real solutions for the Kauaʻi community.”

Working with Hawaiian and local cultural values, the institute will advance partnerships and implement research and projects to foster a more vibrant future for Kauaʻi.

Institute objectives include—

  • Assisting the college in reducing its own environmental footprint
  • Demonstrating sustainable practices available today as well as conducting applied research on promising technologies and practices
  • Providing a training center for green workers, entrepreneurs and interested residents
  • Establishing Kauaʻi as a place for tough discussions and helpful resources
Helen Cox and Eric Knutzen
Chancellor Helen Cox with institute Director Eric Knutzen

“For each of us in the community, the institute can be seen as building upon our history and, in a very practical way, positively affecting everyone on the Kauaʻi in the long term,” said Eric Knutzen, institute director. “Areas of special focus include sustainable living practices in producing food, renewable energy, affordable housing and waste elimination.”

The institute will build upon the campus’s current sustainable programs, including a community garden and the Farm-to-Table project in which students create gourmet dishes from produce straight from the garden.

Students also work with aquaponics, queen bees cultivation and renewable energy programs.

The campus has also allocated land to build two affordable home prototypes that will be open to the public for viewing when completed and will serve as prototypes for developers. “Free online access to the design plans and material purchase lists as well as budgets will be made available. All of this to help address one of Kauaʻi’s greatest sustainable living needs—affordable homes,” said Knutzen.

“We look forward to working together to address issues of sustainability on Kauaʻi and to enable Kauaʻi to no simply carry on but to thrive,” said Cox.

—Adapted from a story by Cammie Matsumoto, director of community relations and special projects, Kauaʻi Community College