Kauai Community College Preparing Students for Sustainable Living Careers

Kauaʻi Community College
Camilla Matsumoto, (808) 245-8280
Comm Relations & Spec Proj, Chancellor's Office
Posted: Feb 4, 2015

Container home built by Kaua'i CC students and faculty.
Container home built by Kaua'i CC students and faculty.
Kaua'i Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Reverend Vidinha and Chancellor Helen Cox with students and faculty.
Kaua'i Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Reverend Vidinha and Chancellor Helen Cox with students and faculty.

Lihue.  Saturday, January 31, 2015, Kaua`i Community College held a blessing and opening of its student-driven Container Home Project.  Reverend Wayne Vidinha, Sr. of Ke Akua Mana Church conducted the blessing.   The project, part of the College’s Ho`ouluwehi:  Sustainable Living Institute on Kaua`i, was designed to provide students a broad range of experience in constructing sustainable housing.  Carpentry, Electrical Installation, Welding, and Facilities Engineering students received hands-on field experience throughout the project.

The prototype home, built from a shipping container, is an alternative sustainable living dwelling model for Kauaians.  The College’s goals are to prepare students to enter jobs that employ sustainable living solutions in building and to use the prototype home to advance a sustainable living lifestyle on Kaua`i, and throughout the world.  Materials used to build the home were reused and repurposed.  Natural airflow keeps the home well ventilated and cool.  Space and size reduced the home’s footprint and amount of land used, while maintaining a comfortable place to live.  A porch provides additional living space, where homeowners can enjoy fresh air and sunshine.

As explained by Helen Cox, Kaua`i CC Chancellor, the prototype home is one example of how the College is responding to the growing emphasis on the need for sustainable living practices.  Kaua`i CC offers a Certificate of Completion to students who complete the electric vehicle hybrid course.  Its new Sustainable Science Certificate, being offered in the Science and Math Division, has been endorsed by businesses on island for providing important skills related to food, waste, water, construction, and energy.

Campus projects include an aquaponics system; apiary; an aeroponics system managed by the Culinary Program; growing ulu in partnership with the National Tropical Botanical Garden; assisting the Grand Hyatt Kaua`i Resort and Spa in constructing a hydroponics garden; and conducting research on beach erosion.

An exciting, unique cross-discipline approach to learning places the College’s Electronics Technology students along with an eager high school student from Kaua`i High School  in the apiary where they are running experiments to determine a way to deter the small hive beetle from entry into beehives. Using the electromagnetic spectrum of light from invisible UV to levels of visible to infrared light, their goal is to identify the frequency of light needed to deter the beetles.  Their work holds promise of becoming a simple and readily available method of environmentally friendly pest control.

For those looking more intently at climate change, where research has been determining that changes are taking place now and at an alarmingly fast rate, the College is preparing students professionally and personally for what’s ahead.

 “Kaua`i CC embraces its huge responsibility to both students and the community to teach the very skills that benefit a thriving community that practices sustainable living,” said Chancellor Cox.  “And we must help develop an understanding of climate change and prepare our students with the expertise to work toward mitigating it,” stressed Chancellor Cox.

A lot of learning is taking place at Kaua`i CC.