Students to explore land, sovereignty, and environmental justice in Hawaii this summer


Submitted by Ben Dinwiddie

Paisley Regester, Staff Writer

Global Ethos, a youth travel organization dedicated to engaging US-based students in service-learning experiences abroad, will be taking six GCAA students to O’ahu Island in Hawaii this Summer. Global Ethos, founded by GCAA Social Studies teachers Ben Dinwiddie and Evan Smith, will celebrate its third expedition since its formation – the previous two took place in San Ramon, Nicaragua.

Being a service-learning trip, students will be exploring and experiencing the many cultures of Hawaii, while also participating in volunteer work. “There’s a really interesting interplay between cultures that we want our students to learn about and experience so that they can become more adept at competing, interacting, and cooperating in a 21st century global society,” said Dinwiddie. Environmental justice is a large component of the trip. Students will be participating in agricultural work, including helping out at a taro farm, a potato-like crop common in Hawaii. The travelers will also be joining local middle schoolers in a communal beach clean-up. The goal is that through this service, students will become more mindful of the natural world they live in.

Global Ethos is partnering with Kyle Kajihiro, a professor of Ethnic Studies at University of Hawaii, as well as graduate students from both University of Hawaii’s Ethnic Studies Department and Hawaii Pacific’s Department of Anthropology, to help make the experience as impactful as possible. Graduate students will be leading small exploration activities with students, including an examination of the extensive military presence on the island. To expand on this, students will be exploring the connections between environmental issues and social concepts, such as race and class. “We felt that Hawaii, being the 50th state and the most recently added to the union, as well as its unique culture and history, has a special relationship and status in America. We felt like Hawaii would be a place where our students could learn about America as an empire and America as a global power, and students could understand a place that has a very unique culture that is extremely diverse,” Dinwiddie said.

Global Ethos will be having a student-run fundraiser on April 14th at the venue RKDE on 2720 Cherokee Street from 6-10 p.m. There will be a silent auction featuring original pieces donated by local artists, as well as gift cards from local businesses. Student performances, live art, and a raffle will also be taking place. All proceeds from the silent auction and raffle will go towards the cost of the trip, including accommodation and plane tickets.