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3 people planting
Hawaiʻi CC students planting native trees in the Kaʻū District of Hawaiʻi Island.

A new certificate at Hawaiʻi Community College aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge to help address some of today’s biggest challenges. In fall 2021, the campus will become the sixth University of Hawaiʻi Community College to offer an Academic Subject Certificate (ASC) in Sustainability.

“The need for individuals with knowledge about sustainability is growing, in our island communities, in our world, and in our workforce,” said Hawaiʻi CC Sustainability Initiatives Coordinator Charlotte Cheek. “Graduates with this certificate will learn how to be part of the solution. No matter what career you are pursuing, sustainability is a valuable component.”

student cleaning beach
Hawaiʻi CC student Trecelyn Tagalicud removing plastic marine debris on Hawaiʻi Island.

The ASC in Sustainability is interdisciplinary and encompasses Hawaiʻi’s geography, traditional sustainable practices, climate change and mitigation science, aloha ʻāina (land) and more. The certificate can be earned alongside any Hawaiʻi CC degree program.

Students will have opportunities to pursue their passions and learn in dynamic places, ranging from loʻi kalo (taro patches) to science labs.

“I would like to express how incredibly excited we are about the debut of our Academic Subject Certificate in Sustainability!” said Drew Kapp, geography instructor and co-chair of the Academic Sustainability Committee. “Many members of our kauhale (village) have already been teaching, learning, working and living sustainability, and it’s just amazing that now our students can earn a certificate in a subject that speaks to this holistic understanding of and relationship with our ʻāina, wai, kai—so very appropriate, timely and critical for Hawaiʻi nei.”

The certificate consists of four three-credit sustainability designated classes. Students must take one course in each of three areas—natural science, social science and Hawaiian studies. In addition, they take one three-credit sustainability class of their choice.

For more information, please contact Kapp at

Read more at the Hawaiʻi CC website.

—By Thatcher J. P. Moats

people working on fishpond
Hawaiʻi CC students strengthening walls along the ʻauwai, or channel, of a fishpond in Hilo.
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