Huge gathering marks Fil-Am mainstay’s 30th year at University of Hawaii
HONOLULU — A Filipino American advocacy group marked its 30thyear at University of Hawaii Mānoa campus with its largest conference ever on Oct. 5.
Some 300 students, faculty, staff, and administrators from across the ten UH campuses honored the Pamantasan Council at the Pamantasan Conference by attending various workshops, cultural activities, and a book and curriculum fair on current issues for Filipinos and higher education.
The conference was themed #BeKindToAStudent, in honor of the late Ernest “Niki” Libarios, Jr. As director of the Office of Student Academic Services in UH Mānoa’s College of Education, Libarios advocated for the Filipino community and was the initiator of the “Be a hero. Be a teacher” campaign.
The Pamantasan Council, founded in 1987, has pushed for increased representation of Filipino American and Philippine courses in higher education.
Filipinos make up nearly a quarter of all student enrollment in Hawaiʻi‘s public schools, making them the second largest ethnic group, after Native Hawaiians. But they represent only 13 percent of all students in the UH System. Most enroll in UH’s community colleges and remain underrepresented in UH’s four-year institutions.
At UH Mānoa, only 10 percent of students identify as Filipino. In addition, only 7 percent of HawaiʻI public school teachers and 4 percent in the UH System are of Filipino ancestry.
“Much has been accomplished over three decades to make our state and our university more inclusive of Filipinos and other underserved groups, but much more must be done to promote equity, excellence and diversity at each of our 10 campuses,” said Amy Agbayani, emeritus assistant vice chancellor for student diversity and a member of the 1988 UH Task Force on Filipinos, which had called for the establishment of the Pamantasan Council.
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