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SGA President Christopher Morrow on Campus Issues and Goals for HPU

    By Sam Avina. September 12, 2016 - 1:20 pm

img_1647Christopher Morrow, 34, the newly-elected student government association president for the 2016-2017 school year, is ready to help build Hawaii Pacific University to its true potential.

The former U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman and medical laboratory technician  decided to get involved with SGA because he wanted to serve the best interest of the student body. Morrow, who is a senior studying Communications, also wants to make sure that concerns and issues that students may have are heard and addressed by student leadership.

Prior to being SGA president, Morrow spent time in the HPU Shared Governance Oversight Committee, the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee and was a veteran’s senator for SGA.

Morrow sat down with the Kalamalama last week to talk about important issues that the student community has been buzzing about, particularly with the announcement that the Hawaii Loa campus would be closing in the next 2 to 5 years. Morrow was not afraid to be straightforward and was willing to answer the questions students have been asking since then.

Q: Have you viewed the dorms at HPU or lived in them for a period of time? If so what has your experience been like?

A: I came as a transfer student to HPU and have never lived in the dorms here. However, I did view and tour both dorms at Hawaii Loa campus and Aloha Tower Marketplace and thought they were very nice. Aloha Tower was especially really nice with the views it has and the convenience of being so close to the downtown campus.

Q: A variety of students have stated that though the new dorms at Aloha Tower are substantially nice, the price tag is unaffordable with a two person room costing students $1,600 a month. What is your take on that?

A: Aloha Tower is a newly renovated space and was planned to mainly house upperclassmen and international students. If space is unavailable at the Loa campus for (under)classmen, then they look at the option of living at the ATM campus dorms. Really what you are paying for at ATM along with a new campus is the convenience of living so close to campus in an urban city that is highly compact. I believe the people who constructed the campus and set up the campus layout knew the kind of campus lifestyle and setting (that) upperclassmen were looking for and would enjoy.

Q: Students were moved in last year even when the dorms weren’t fully complete. Now in its second year of residency, what can students be expecting in the upcoming year in ATM’s progression? Gym? Cooking commons?

A: I think that some interesting things we have coming are establishing an off-campus meal program. Another thing we recently added was the farmer’s market where students can get supplies for meal prepping. For cooking options, the hot food preparation is limited, but to an extent that is something you can work around. ATM dorms do have grills in the common area for cooking. We will have a gym coming later as well across from the learning commons. Additionally, the YWCA student memberships have shown a large population growth and are something we will be continuing by offering more discounted memberships. Renovations are still in discussion with administration because we don’t know if there is enough demand for dining commons on the ATM campus. With the off-campus meal program, there will also be a rewards program with frequently visited vendors both on ATM and on Fort Street.

Q: As many of us have come to know, in the next two to five years, as stated by HPU administrators, the Loa campus will no longer be a part of HPU. Where will new space for classrooms and dorms be located as we move to an urban setting? Will things like parking be available for students?

A: Parking will always be an issue and I feel highly confident in saying that. We have limited space on the island and from my perspective if you want to drive your car here that’s fine but it is pricey. But one of the reasons SGA championed the Upass is our answer to parking in the short term and has been quite an investment. Our transition away from the Loa campus is bittersweet and I understand we are going to do adapt with HPU’s transforming needs — we will find space. The university is (already) in the process of negotiating with the people we need to talk to in order expand from here.

Q: Are there any big upcoming surveys or campus meetings students can attend to make their voices heard in the creation of the future HPU urban experience?

A: Absolutely. Every Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. the senate meets in one of the (multipurpose rooms at Aloha Tower). All students interested are welcomed to attend. We are also formatting surveys to make a recommendation on whether we will continue the Upass contract, as well as discuss library hours, which I highly encourage students to participate in. We a variety of students to participate in the surveys to get an accurate analysis of what the student body wants. We also have openings in the senate and executive branch of the SGA. For any students interested, they should email me through the HPU SGA email.

Photo courtesy of Christopher Morrow.

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