A Home Away From Home

  • 14 February 2019
  • Author: Frederika Bain
  • Number of views: 1693
A Home Away From Home

CTAHR’s new student lounge is a bright and comfortable place where students can study, relax, hang out with other students, and help themselves to free food in the pantry—even a fresh salad, compliments of its hydroponic stations!

The students themselves care for these indoor vegetable and herb gardens and get to harvest the produce. The gardens are growing tomatoes, bell peppers, basil, Thai basil, chives, cilantro, dill, and mint, as well as lettuce grown from seeds developed by CTAHR researchers.

“Our student lounge just opened this school year, thanks for a generous donation from Steven and Karen Sato, and we had over 600 visits the first semester,” says Interim Associate Dean Ania Wieczorek (ASAO). “We designed it to be a place of belonging, a home away from home for the CTAHR ‘ohana.”

Located on Gilmore Hall’s first floor, the student lounge has its origins in a 2017 UHM survey of students about campus parking. The results unexpectedly revealed a food insecurity problem—some students were choosing between parking or eating, often going to class hungry. A staunch advocate for food production, Ania stocked the lounge with shelf-stable food using the Satos’ gift, bolstered by donations from CTAHR faculty and staff. The gardens provide a fresh and healthy option, and the student gardeners learn by doing. Check out the video about the gardens!


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