© 2023 Hawaiʻi Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Hawaiʻi Community College opens student center stocked with basic necessities

Hawaiʻi Community College

Hawaiʻi Community College on Big Island has opened up a one-stop shop for students to get basic necessities while they earn their degree.

The Kahuaola Basic Needs Center is located at the Manono Campus and is stocked with food, hygiene products and clothes available for pickup.

Student navigators are also available to help students sign up for financial aid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), sometimes known as food stamps.

"There is a growing movement in higher education in taking a more holistic look in what students need to be successful," said Craig Mitchell, the Kahuaola director.

Based on a 2019 study, about half of the students at Hawaiʻi CC face some type of basic needs insecurity. That includes everything from mental health to basic housing.

"There is an increased recognition that the cost of attending school has skyrocketed over the past several decades, but funding and support available to students have not gone up at the same pace. But it is still a growing movement. Not everyone is convinced yet," Mitchell said.

Five more campuses in the UH System (UH Mānoa, UH Hilo, Kapiʻolani CC, Kauaʻi CC and Windward CC) have already established similar basic needs centers.

Kahuaola, which means the "foundation upon which life, health and well-being blossoms, was supported by a five-year Stupski Foundation of almost $2 million.

The center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hawaiʻi Community College's Manono Campus, Building 379-A.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
Related Stories