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Maui Electric honors largest graduating class of sustainability students on Maui

By Staff | May 19, 2016

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

KAHULUI – 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 (SSM) Program at the University of Hawaii 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 – 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. “These students are the kind of thinkers Maui will need to help protect our lifestyle and precious ecosystem.”

“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. 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 County Councilman 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.”

To support the UHMC Sustainable Science Management program, interested businesses can call Botkin at (808) 984-3322, e-mail botkin@hawaii.edu or visit www.maui.hawaii.edu/ssm.