Hawaii Sustainable Development Goals Course

PAAC and the College of Hawaiian Language (Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikōlani and ʻImiloa Center) at the University of Hawaii at Hilo are collaborating to offer an opportunity for Hawai`i high school students to earn college credit for free through an online course focusing on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through global and local contexts. 

What is the class about?

This course will cover the way in which we are confronted by challenges of sustainability, both in Hawai`i and all around the world. In the course, the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will provide the framework to examine the broad spectrum of social, environmental, and economic concerns that all nations must confront in the face of issues such as climate change, increasing urbanization, and lack of food security. Special attention will be paid to these shared global challenges’ local impacts and the need for sensitivity and adaptation to local contexts in order to tackle them. 

Eight of the 17 SDGs will be covered during the Spring 2021 semester. The remaining nine goals will be covered during a Summer 2021 session. Students must apply to each course separately. The spring course is not a prerequisite for the summer session. Applications for the summer session will open during the spring. 

What will I gain from this?

Successful completion of the Spring 2021 class with a passing grade will result in 3 credits being awarded by the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Students can also earn elective social studies credit for this course at their high school, pending the approval of their principal.

How is the class taught?

This course will be delivered in a blended online format. Students will be responsible for independently completing the provided research readings and videos, the assignment activity, and the assessment quiz for each module. There will also be virtual class time in the form of weekly discussion sections and guest speaker sessions held via online video conferencing. 

Virtual class time will be on Tuesdays (Discussion Group A), Wednesdays (Discussion Group B), and Thursdays (the whole class) from 3:30 - 4:45pm. Students will be assigned to a discussion group at the beginning of the semester. Attendance is mandatory at all virtual class sessions.  Class will begin on Tuesday, January 12 and end on May 6. 


Who can apply?

Residents of Hawai`i in grades 10 through 12 enrolled at a public school are welcome to apply. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer the course to private, charter, or home-schooled students at this time. The course is only open to high school students. 


There are only 30 spots available in the spring semester class. 

What about College Credit?

Students chosen for the course will be enrolled as Early Admit students through the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The spring and summer courses are worth three credits each. 

Can I get Dual Credit?

Yes! The course is set up so that students will also meet the HIDOE standards for two different elective social studies courses. Accepted students will receive instructions on how to apply for dual credit during the online orientation sessions on November 22 and 23. 

What do I need to have to participate?

  • * Commitment to attend all virtual class sessions and complete all coursework by the due dates

  • * Access to stable internet connection on a laptop or tablet, not a cell phone

  • * Computer with word processing, internet access, and other basic functions (discussion sessions and other synchronous portions of the class will be hosted via a web conference platform)

  • * Quiet learning environment for student (especially for discussion sections)

  • * Access to the Google Classroom where the course materials will be hosted

  • * An email address that does not block messages to/from the instructor (we prefer a Gmail account as some accounts associated with schools block messages from PAAC)

Students do not need to pay for books or materials to participate in the mandatory aspects of the course.  The course is offered at no cost to students, thanks to the generous support of the Mamoru & Aiko Takitani Foundation.

Click the button below to find out more about the application timeline and what you’ll need to submit. 

Application Information