two men talking
University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner, left, and University of Guam President Emeritus and former Guam congressman Robert Underwood.

University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner is among eight island college and university presidents who made collective commitments to advance sustainability during the Presidential Summit on April 11, at the 10th annual University of Guam Conference on Island Sustainability. The commitments promote collaborative partnerships to seek solutions to island sustainability challenges.

During the summit, Lassner met with the presidents of the University of Guam, Guam Community College, College of the Marshall Islands, Northern Marianas College, Jeju National University in South Korea, Western Philippines University in Palawan and the University of the West Indies campus in Jamaica.

The university leaders discussed the different initiatives they have implemented to promote sustainability in their communities, and also shared their sustainability challenges, including waste reduction, food security transportation and climate change.

Lassner explained UH’s comprehensive sustainability policy and how UH is advancing across multiple dimensions of sustainability. He shared how UH Maui College is on track to become the first college campus in the United States to generate 100 percent of its energy on campus with battery storage using performance contracting to avoid capital outlay. He also showed a recent video about sustainability efforts across the UH System.

Among the priorities of the Presidents’ commitment:

  • Seek indigenous/island solutions to island problems
  • Create an inventory or website to connect best practices or solutions
  • Connect institutional heads of research and education with one another to identify opportunities for collaborations
  • Develop exchanges of faculty and students among institutions to foster future exchanges of faculty, staff and students
people seated behind a table on a stage
University of Guam Conference on Island Sustainability panel discussion.