College Visit Guide: The University of Hawaii at Manoa

College Visit Guide: The University of Hawaii at Manoa

Nearby off-roading tours for ‘Lost’ fans and mochi ice cream are just a couple reasons to visit The University of Hawaii at Manoa By: Samantha Davis-Friedman
<p>The school offers a modern athletic complex and 20 NCAA Division I teams. // © 2015 Samantha Davis-Friedman</p><p>Feature image (above): At nearby...

The school offers a modern athletic complex and 20 NCAA Division I teams. // © 2015 Samantha Davis-Friedman

Feature image (above): At nearby Kualoa Ranch, students and their families might go on an ATV, zipline or catamaran tour. // © 2015 Samantha Davis-Friedman

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The Details

The University of Hawaii at Manoa

Proximity to Hawaiian surf and sand might be an obvious reason to visit The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UH), but there is much more to this island campus than just fun in the sun. 

UH is the flagship of the 10-campus University of Hawaii system of three universities and seven community colleges throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Founded in 1907, the 320-acre campus sits at the mouth of the beautiful Manoa valley, just minutes from downtown Honolulu and Waikiki.

Due to the university’s location, UH students have the unique opportunity to study at Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, a world-renowned marine research institute on Moku o Loe (Coconut Island) in Kaneohe Bay. Fans of “Gilligan’s Island” will also recognize Moku o Loe as the “stock shot” used for the island where unlucky castaways were stranded for three seasons of the show in the mid-60s.

Another notable scientific accomplishment for UH students is through the Small Satellite Program at The University of Hawaii’s College of Engineering. The program has given undergraduate engineering students the opportunity to design, build and launch nanosatellites into space. It’s no wonder that the top electrical engineering student in the country has come out of UH four times in the last 14 years.


Athletics Complex
With an athletic tradition dating back to 1909, UH — the only Division I school in Hawaii — boasts 20 NCAA Division I athletic teams. The nickname “Rainbow Warriors” was adopted in 1923, when a rainbow appeared over the campus football field, sparking superstition that UH would never lose under a rainbow. 

In 2000, the H logo was introduced, representing the state of Hawaii and also carrying the significance of the Hawaiian expression “ha,” meaning spirit of life passed through generations. 

UH athletics facilities include the newly opened Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex, which includes a three-story LEED Gold Certified building that supports activities and events such as track and field, football, soccer, baseball and softball. Additionally, the facility has a sand volleyball venue with 800 seats and grandstand seating for approximately 2,500.

Sakamaki Hall
Sakamaki Hall, named after Shunzo Sakamaki, a UH professor of Asian history, is the location of Sakamaki Innovative Zone, specialized classrooms designed in 2014 to promote interactive learning through a variety of spatial arrangements and state-of-the-art technology. With the goal of fostering innovative teaching styles and reinventing the learning environment, these classrooms are also intended to encourage creative class subjects, such as a course about K-Pop, a music genre popular among young adults throughout Asia. 

No Cash, No Problem
With sustainability in mind (as well as the fact that college students never seem to have any money), UH has a “Free Garden,” where students can plant and harvest anything they wish. There is also a “Free Fridge,” where students can leave and take what they need, and a “Free Store,” where students donate and take gently used school supplies or household items.  

Island Eats
Calling itself a neighborhood bistro, The Nook is tucked away off University Avenue, just a short walk from campus (and even closer to the dorms). With a seasonal menu featuring all-day breakfast, brunch and lunch, this hidden gem supports Hawaii farmers by using local ingredients. 

Just across the street from The Nook is Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream & Desserts. This Oahu favorite has been making ice cream for more than 30 years, but its specialty is mochi, creamy ice cream wrapped in a sweetened rice confection. These bite-sized “balls of happiness” are available in 20 flavors, including chocolate peanut butter, tiramisu and island fruit flavors such as lychee and guava. Ice creams fans should note that Bubbies only accepts cash.


Kualoa Ranch
In 1850, King Kamehameha III sold 622 acres of land at Kualoa to Dr. Gerritt P. Judd, a doctor who translated medical journals into the Hawaiian language. Later, Judd’s son purchased additional land from Queen Kalama, increasing the estate to the 4,000 acres it is today. Still managed by Judd’s descendants, Kualoa Ranch is 20 miles from Honolulu on the northeastern side of Oahu. The ranch terrain varies from dense rainforest to white-sand beaches, and there are many ways for visitors to explore the spectacular landscape made famous by the Hollywood movies and television shows filmed here. 

Activities at Kualoa Ranch include horseback tours, zipline adventures, ATV tours and even a catamaran tour of Oahu’s scenic Kaneohe Bay.

KOS Tours
While at Kualoa, visitors can take the only Hummer Off-Road Tour on Oahu with KOS Tours and see locations used in movies and television shows such as “Lost,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “Jurassic World.” KOS offers two- or five-hour Movie/Lost Adventures, or ultimate “Lost” fans can opt for the eight-hour Circle Island Lost Adventure, which promises to visit more “Lost” filming locations in one day than most people see in a lifetime. 

Agents should note that advance reservations are required; five- and eight-hour tours include hotel pickup; and two- and five-hour tours involve off-roading that may not be advisable for pregnant women or anyone with back problems.