HPU News for October 2011

Sea Warriors shine at service projects

October 17, 2011

Sea Warriors volunteer at Palama Settlement.

HPU students and resident advisors Jade Gomez and Ladimir Geake pass a basketball to a boy at Palama Settlement Oct. 13. Helping youth at the community center was among several service projects during Sea Warrior Service Day.

HONOLULU — Hawai‘i Pacific University volunteers gave time to the local community following the inauguration of President Geoffrey Bannister, Ph.D., Oct. 13.

“Every great university has a liberal arts function, a professional function and a duty to its community — to take our talents, skills and work out to the people who need help,” Bannister said.

On Sea Warrior Service Day, HPU volunteers went to Kokua Kalihi Valley, dedicated to reforesting native Hawaiian species; a beach cleanup at Sherwoods, Waimanalo Bay Beach; the Hawaii Nature Center for trail clearing; Seagull Schools Early Education Center for playtime with children; the Institute of Human Services to help the homeless; and Palama Settlement, which has a youth recreation center.

HPU student and resident advisor Jade Gomez was among more than 15 volunteers playing games and sports with local youth from disadvantaged neighborhoods at Palama Settlement.

“It feels good on the inside because you can change lives,” said the Orange County, Calif. native, who volunteered on the basketball court.

“These are our future doctors, lawyers, leaders and presidents,” said Gomez, as volunteers passed basketballs to kids while exchanging smiles and laughter.

That connection to the community is vital, Bannister emphasized. Volunteering is about “empathy, community service and learning,” he said.

“We can learn as much in the field from our neighbors as we can from each other. Not all learning is in books,” Bannister said. “Much of it is going to come from telling story and learning from how other people have managed to work the land and live here.”

“I’m very proud of what you all are doing today,” Bannister said.