Jason Nichols, the organizer for the KCC AAUW pilot program, sets up an informational booth in front of ʻŌhiʻa Cafeteria on campus. (Photo courtesy of Jason Nichols)

By Cameron Enomoto | Staff Writer

In Fall 2022, KCC introduced its AAUW pilot program with the goal of addressing challenges women may face while pursuing an education or career. The AAUW, American Association of University Women, was founded in 1881 and is a nonprofit organization that promotes equity for women and girls through education and advocacy.

The idea for the pilot program stemmed from the success of the AAUW group at UH Mānoa. According to Jason Nichols, the organizer for the AAUW organization at KCC, the UH Mānoa group has multiple student jobs and hosts various events throughout the school year.

Hopefully that’s something we can have here even though it’s a smaller campus,” said Nichols. “The goal is for the pilot program to take off and continue to grow.”

Students at a previous AAUW event in Hawaiʻi support equal pay. (Photo courtesy of Jason Nichols)

Nichols took on the responsibility of running the pilot program at the beginning of the spring semester and working to develop strategies to send out information regarding the AAUW and resources that students, as well as community members, can take advantage of.

Anyone and everyone can be helped since there are so many different opportunities,” Nichols said. “Some women might not be financially able to go to school or find a job if they have kids they need to take care of or if they’re going through some hardships in their life. We had someone in Honolulu who got out of prison. She got out of prison after being in there for a long time. She changed her life, and AAUW helped her with that and now she’s a teacher.”

On Instagram, Nichols posts information regarding AAUW-related events that are happening in Honolulu. Previously there was lobby day, equal pay day, and other workshops that are free for attendees. Additionally, Nichols set up a resources tab on Instagram with the purpose of spreading information about scholarships and other services. One of the services, Dress for Success, will assist women with clothing and coaching if they have upcoming job interviews. The Alani Children’s Center, a resource that’s available at KCC, provides childhood care for children ages 2-5 in the campus community.

“I really want people to get the information since there’s a lot out there [to help] if people knew about it,” said Nichols. “Whether it’s scholarships or assistance, KCC has so many opportunities, and I want people to know what’s available to them. It’s not very well known right now; I’m trying to get the word out but starting from zero is hard. As the campus has more people coming back, I’m sure word will get around.”

Nichols plans to set up a table at the KCC Farmer’s Market twice a month when school is in session to bring more attention to the AAUW pilot program. In the future, he hopes to begin a newsletter to send information more quickly and wants to create student jobs to get more people on campus involved.

“We just really want to help and inform people,” said Nichols. “Through the AAUW, I hope everyone can be in a better position than they were.”