By Jayme Malo, Kapi‘o Staff Writer
Kapi‘olani Community College ranked No.7 in The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s annual list of the nation’s most diverse campuses.
Overall, the University of Hawai‘i system’s 10 campuses ranked at the top of both the two- and four-year institution lists.
UH-Hilo was the No. 1 most diverse four-year public institution, followed by UH-Maui College, UH West O‘ahu, UH Manoa,
Windward Community College topped the list of most diverse two-year public institutions, followed by Hawai‘i Community College, Kaua‘i Community College, and Leeward Community College. Berkeley City College in California ranked No. 5, followed by Honolulu Community College and KCC.
“It allows us to look at some of the commonalities among our diverse groups but also some of the differences and to celebrate those, and I think this is why diversity and being cited in The Chronicle of Higher Education is so important,” said KCC Chancellor Dr. Leon Richards.
The Chronicle of Higher Education is a top source for news and information relating to colleges and universities and has more than 315,000 subscribers.
In Fall 2013, KCC had an undergraduate enrollment of 8,376 students according to the UH Institutional Research & Analysis Office. By ethnicity, 35 percent of all KCC students were Asian, 10 percent Caucasian, 19 percent Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, and the rest mixed or other. Although 12.1 percent of KCC students are from outside of the state, 87.9 percent reside here in the islands, which shows that majority of what makes KCC diverse comes from within the state.
“On campus there’s a little bit of each culture, so as we learn from the professors we learn from each other as well,” says Macie Manuwa-Kupihea, a student at KCC.
Richards pointed out that our local language, pidgin, has words from several different languages such as Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and Hawaiian but people are still able to understand it. It is a representation of how the Hawaiian Islands have been a melting pot for a very long time, and continues to be so in it’s higher education system.
“Of course we have the beautiful weather, the mountains, and the beaches,” Richards said. “But what is that special element that sort of attracts people? I would like to say it’s the Aloha Spirit. So that’s why Hawai‘i has become a gathering place, and we want the same for this campus. Regardless of which island, nation, or part of the world you’re from, you can always find a home in Hawai‘i or KCC.”