KōEC & The Ipu O Lono Project

Your Fun, Local Learning Space



Over the past couple of years, Hawai’i has witnessed a decline in both college enrollment and graduation rates of Native Hawaiian students. There are many factors contributing to this decline, but two of the main factors are not feeling a sense of belonging and one’s identity not being represented enough in college. We must acknowledge these declining rates because they have a bigger impact on Native Hawaiian students and our community than you may think.

There are very few public places and facilities within our community that really focus on Hawaiian culture and on Native Hawaiians in general. That is where the Ipu O Lono project comes in. 

Ipu O Lono (vessel of knowledge), along with two other projects within Hawai’i Community College (Piko Hawai’i and Uluakea), were created in hopes to increase the college enrollment and graduation rates of Native Hawaiian students.

This project strives to support the success of Native Hawaiian college students and all others, while also educating many others in the community about Hawaiian wisdom, arts, and culture.

Honokaa’s very own Kō Education Center (formerly NHERC) is participating in the Ipu O Lono project by redesigning its campus to become an Indigenous-inspired learning space.

Over the next four years, the Ipu O Lono project will transform the Kō Education Center into a campus where Native Hawaiians and all others can share their culture, feel welcomed, and develop a sense of belonging. 

Kō Education Center plans to host various fun events and activities that offer people in the community the chance to be involved in the Ipu O Lono redesign of the campus. For example, KōEC’s Dragon Den Virtual Internship Training program has adopted Ipu O Lono as their client for the Spring semester and is working to create an Ipu O Lono inspired student lounge at Kō Education Center. Our campus will become a Native Hawaiian-inspired learning space that also reflects many local cultures! 

 We encourage everyone to share their ideas and help guide the Ipu O Lono activities by taking this very short survey: What would it mean to have a Native Hawaiian inspired learning space? 

If you have any questions or are interested in participating in the Ipu O Lono project, please email:[email protected] or stop by Kō Education Center to see what’s new.