New students were introduced to the new Holokai general education curriculum and able to meet professors promoting their departments during the New Student Orientation on Tuesday, Sept. 5 in the Cannon Activity Center.
“Our goal is to really make sure the students know what they need to do this first week,” said Charity Fonoimoana, the business management advisor. “It’s too much to give them a whole bunch of information they need to know three weeks from now, so [we have] to give them a good starting place and let them know who we are and [that] we’re here to help.”
The orientation began with the introduction of the different academic advisors followed by a film explaining the history of BYU-Hawaii and the new Holokai curriculum, which requires students to major and minor in three different disciplines on campus: Arts and Humanities, Math and Sciences, and Professional Studies.
Vice President of Academics John Bell and Dr. Daniel Sharp, a professor of religion, explained how the three disciplines work together to give a better understanding of the world by comparing them to the physics behind an airplane’s wing. First demonstrating with science experiments, they then explained how flight could be discussed in humanity classes as well as business and religion.
Emma Barry, a freshman from Washington majoring in biomedical, said she’s looking forward to the new curriculum. “I’m excited about the major and the minor being in two different sections, because if I was anywhere else I would end up doing a major and a minor in science, and I probably wouldn’t be as well rounded,” she said. “I kind of have to branch out.”
For Miracle Shalom Ioane, a freshman from Samoa majoring in business management, said the Holokai program was a pleasant surprise. “I came out here with just one major in mind, and now I see I have so many options with the new curriculum. Back home in Samoa, we don’t have all of these options,” he said.
She continued, “I like that I get to explore these options to widen my education.”
For Sunghim Cheng, a freshman from Hong Kong whose major is undecided, the information gave him perspective. “It helped me think about what I want to do,” he added.
While several freshman were excited about the opportunities of the new curriculum, transfer student Beatriz Carvalho, a junior from Brazil majoring in information systems, said she was upset at first. She explained how at first it looked like it would be an extra burden. After talking to her advisors about her goal to reach law school, she said she began to see the great benefits of Holokai.
Carvalho explained, “I want to go into law school, and I’ve always had computer science on my mind. But I found out once I got here if I want to get into law school and be more competitive I’m going to need a minor in political science.”
After the Holokai presentation, students were invited to visit with faculty from the different academic departments at booths. They were able to learn more about the majors and minors available through each department.
Other student services participated in the event by promoting their organizations. Some used interactive activities like a beach ball toss or Kahoot trivia game.
Students mentioned they were impressed by the Handshake presentation from Career Services, which they said made them think about what they were going to do after they finished college.
Fonoimoana was impressed with the attendance and called it “a good turnout. We have 500 incoming students and about 350 came to the orientation today.”
“I loved seeing the students participating and enjoying themselves because we wanted to keep it fun and interesting,” said Fonoimoana.