Largest Class of Sustainability Students on Maui Graduates

May 13, 2016, 8:05 AM HST · Updated May 13, 8:09 AM
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Celebrating students of sustainability on Maui, from front left, Terese Masters, Tim Botkin, Ferdouz Cochran, Kelly King, Marina Treese, Jeniffer Karraca, Alina Rhoades, Sharon Suzuki, Rob Parsons, Sulin Aipa and David Tester. From back left: Ignacio Roger, Nicolas Timpone, Brent Clifford, Pierre Parranto, Steve Parabicoli, and Jonathan Stenger.

Celebrating students of sustainability on Maui, from front left, Terese Masters, Tim Botkin, Ferdouz Cochran, Kelly King, Marina Treese, Jeniffer Karraca, Alina Rhoades, Sharon Suzuki, Rob Parsons, Sulin Aipa and David Tester. From back left: Ignacio Roger, Nicolas Timpone, Brent Clifford, Pierre Parranto, Steve Parabicoli, and Jonathan Stenger.

Maui Electric joined fellow business leaders at a reception hosted by the company on April 26 to congratulate the largest graduating class of the Sustainable Science Management Program at the University of Hawai‘i at Maui College.

Established in 2011, SSM is one of three bachelor’s degree programs currently offered at UHMC.

The four-year program teaches students to use a “systems thinking” approach – or understanding of how various working structures influence each other – to address the long-term sustainability of the environment and resources, such as water, agriculture and energy.

“Our SSM program teaches students to think systematically and to take a multi-pronged approach to problem solving,” said Lui Hokoana, UHMC Chancellor in a joint press release. “These students are the kind of thinkers Maui will need to help protect our lifestyle and precious ecosystem.”

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“Through the program, our students learn how to make sound, long-term decisions when it comes to maintaining a substantial quality of life indefinitely,” said Tim Botkin, SSM program director. “Students analyze various technologies and practices to make a positive impact on the future sustainability of our world. We’re honored to have Maui Electric’s support and we’re hoping other local businesses will also be inspired to help strengthen our program’s foundation.”

In January, a $30,000 Maui Electric Sustainability Scholarship Endowment Fund was established to allocate an annual $1,000 scholarship to an SSM student in perpetuity. Company representatives say the endowment reflects the company’s longstanding commitment to higher education, as well as its efforts to create employment opportunities in the energy field.

Maui Electric, along with Pacific Biodiesel and the office of Councilmember Don Guzman, also hosted interns from the SSM program since its inception.

“In celebrating the achievements of these graduates, we hope to encourage other companies to support the sustainability program and its students by way of scholarships, internships, and careers,” said Sharon Suzuki, president of Maui Electric.

“In order to attain our state’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy, it’s important that we invest in our future leaders. Our company has a 95-year history in this community and we look forward to many more years of growing and supporting each other.”

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