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Retention: A student's viewpoint

by Jaclynn Fasken, business manager


When we write our comments on the evaluation forms handed out at the end of every semester, we hold on to a hope that what we wrote about HPU might be read, pondered, might even make a difference. On Aug. 12, an opportunity of the same sort was presented when a workshop on student retention was held at the Hawai‘i Loa campus, and I was invited to attend and to present a student’s point of view.


Wow! A chance to voice my opinion, and for a moment, people would stop and listen to what a student had to say.


But what was I going to say? I dug deep and realized that students want to attend a university that they feel cares about them. We want to feel that, yes, we matter in this world and especially at this institution.

While attending the workshop, I came to the realization that our university does care. After an opening speech, we assembled in smaller working group to brainstorm ideas. I was the only student in the group, but everyone in my group really wanted to hear what I had to say. Everyone wanted to know a student’s perspective on what the University could do to provide a better higher education experience.
Not only did these people see and understand my point of view, that of a single student, but I started seeing theirs. During that day I finally understood that we, students, did matter. If the University did not care about the students, they would have never held the workshop on student retention. The entire day was dedicated to discovering student’s feelings of isolation, and developing ideas of what HPU can do better to alleviate it, to build a stronger sense of community, and to making the overall experience at this institution a better one for us all.
I started at HPU five years ago, and since my first semester I have said too many tearful good-byes to close friends who decided somewhere else was a better place for them to be. We will all move on eventually, as we graduate and start our careers, but when a student leaves the island before that time, that departure creates an empty space. The opportunity is gone to learn from someone from whom we still had much to learn.
So, if you see problems with the University, try to have ideas how these problems can be solved. And let people know—not just your teachers, but your advisors, the University Chaplain, Kalamalama. We, as students of this institution, should do what we can to help increase student retention, because one way or another, it affects us all.


2003, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
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