Thanks to a group of UH students, the opportunity to learn Hawaiian has opened up

Local News

(Shafkat Anowar/Ka Leo via ASUH)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Learning Olelo Hawaii, or the Hawaiian language, has never been more accessible.

And it’s all at the hands of a group of University of Hawaii at Manoa students.

Students within the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii, or ASUH, have opened up the opportunity for people to learn Hawaiian through a series of free classes at UH Manoa.

“Prior to 1986, the Hawaiian language was under attack and was rarely taught or spoken. As an indigenous-serving institution, we feel that UH has a responsibility to repair that damage. With this in mind, the ASUH decided to offer these courses free to all community members, to help ensure that anyone who wanted to learn the language has the opportunity to–a goal that, a few decades ago, was really only a dream,” said Micah Leval of the ASUH.

And the initiative delivered results.

Over 300 people sat in the first of 15 sessions on Jan. 22. Leval said that the class had to even be relocated to UH’s Campus Center Ballroom in order to meet the demand for the class.

In attendance were students, faculty, UH alumni, and members of the community.

The first session covered the basics of the language, such as introductory sentences like “What is your name?” and “Where are you from?”

“The ASUH did this independent of the University itself,” Leval said.

Since the classes are free, how are the instructors getting paid?

Leval said that ASUH allocated its own funds to compensate the course instructors for this course. He said that they’re also in charge of all logistical considerations.

Each class will be held once a week, every Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester.

No registration is required and is open to the public.

“All sessions are designed to benefit both those who intend to attend all sessions and those who wish to attend only one session, allowing anyone to attend as many or as few sessions as they choose.”

Here are the dates and locations for all of the Spring 2020 sessions:

  • January 22 (UH Manoa Campus Center Room 310)
  • January 29  (UH Manoa Campus Center Room 310)
  • February 5  (UH Manoa Campus Center Room 310)
  • February 12  (UH Manoa Campus Center Room 203E)
  • February 19  (UH Manoa Campus Center Room 310)
  • February 26  (UH Manoa Campus Center Executive Dining Room)
  • March 4  (UH Manoa Campus Center Room 310)
  • March 11  (UH Manoa Campus Center Room 310)
  • March 25  (UH Manoa Campus Center Room 310)
  • April 1  (UH Manoa Campus Center Room 310)
  • April 8  (UH Manoa Campus Center Room 310)
  • April 15  (UH Manoa Campus Center Room 310)
  • April 22  (UH Manoa Campus Center Room 310)
  • April 29  (UH Manoa Campus Center Room 310)
  • May 6  (UH Manoa Campus Center Room 310)

So far, there’s no word on whether there will be more sessions for the future semesters. However, ASUH did say that they plan to closely monitor attendance and comments about this semester’s class and determine the course’s future based on the feedback.

As for homework, there is none. That also goes for tests and final exams.

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