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Proposal floating for undergraduate research office

ASUH figures out its budget

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UROP has $400,000 in funding available for undergraduates every year.

A new office for undergraduate research is being developed to offer students more research opportunities.

“The aim was to engage as many undergraduates in opportunity that exist across campus; to enable students, undergraduate students, to link with an interesting project and an interested faculty member in all fields,” said Velma Kameoka, associate vice chancellor for research.

Creighton Litton, a professor in the Natural Resource and Environmental Management (NREM) department, and Kameoka presented their proposal for an undergraduate research office to the Associated Students of the University of Hawai‘i (ASUH). Kameoka said the goal of this office is to engage all students, not just those in the honors program.

Litton said this office is different from the current Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) because it is an idea they want to improve on.

“We feel like what we have with UROP is a great start on providing research and creating more opportunities to students on campus and we want to provide a lot more,” Litton said. 

This research office would move UROP out of the honors program where it is currently housed and under the office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Litton said he wants to achieve a better separation between UROP and the Honors Program because he believes that students think they need to be honors students in order to apply for UROP funding.

According to the proposal, this office would be governed by a faculty advisory board comprised of faculty members, representatives from partnering organizations and undergraduate students.

The proposal also claims that undergraduates who participate in research are “more satisfied” with their education and are more likely to graduate. 

No evidence was included in the proposal to support that statement.

One of the other ideas Litton and Kameoka want to develop with this undergraduate research office is a website on which faculty members can post their research projects and students can find the projects they want to work on.

“One of the main things we think is a problem on campus now . . . we don’t think it’s very easy for students to figure out what opportunities exist,” Litton said.

Included in the proposal is an idea for a Summer Research Immersion Program during which students spend six to eight weeks of their summer participating in research opportunities with participating units on campus. 

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa faculty senate passed a resolution in a 49-2 vote in support of improving undergraduate research experiences.

Other ASUH news

UH Athletics Director David Matlin reported athletics’ recent activities to ASUH. 

He said athletics is projecting a $2.2 million deficit this year, a $1 million decrease from last year. Despite their deficit, Matlin added that they are investing in their program by addressing health and safety issues, athlete nutrition and academic and medical care. 

“We’re heading in the right direction, but we have a lot of work to do,” Matlin said. 

ASUH interim treasurer Jessica Chen announced that ASUH has about $50,000 left in their accounts. The announcement comes a week after ASUH senators did not know how much money was left in their account. She later clarified that there is $30,000 left in their general funds account.

A bill for $8,500 to help fund UH athletics’ H awards is being reviewed by ASUH’s finance committee. The H awards are in their third year and honor excellence in UH athletics. 

Currently, of the $8,500, $500 is for decorations, $4,000 is for food, $3,000 is for equipment rentals and $1,000 is for a photo booth. 

The finance committee is reviewing a bill for $600 for “Movement Research’s Gold Mandala Project.” The $600 is currently for stage materials.

“The purpose of this project is to connect with other students through dance and movement, to practice symbolic connection and manifestation of goals, and to increase opportunities to view contemporary dance performance,” Danson Honda, the bill’s introducer, wrote in the bill.