The “wow” factor is just the beginning when you step through the doors of the new Academy of Creative Media facility at UH West O‘ahu. The state-of-the-art, $37 million building will link creative media programs for students throughout the UH system and provide a high-tech training hub for high-demand careers. UH West O‘ahu’s bachelor’s of arts in creative media embraces digital media literacy and storytelling through video, animation, video games, design, social media, web and app development, virtual and augmented reality, and other areas.
Currently, it’s the fastest-growing major on campus with Native Hawaiians making up 28 percent of the student body in the ACM program. Academy director Sharla Hanaoka said the program’s state-of-the-art equipment will provide “hands-on experiences” to prepare students for the industry, but the training goes beyond technology to classes in leadership, creative writing and history. “Technology changes, but how to tell a story and think outside the box are perennial skills our graduates need,” she added. In a Honolulu Star-Advertiser interview, UH system ACM founder Chris Lee said the goal is to give local youths from diverse backgrounds a way to pursue their digital dreams without having to leave Hawai‘i. “There’s nothing on the mainland kids can’t have here now,” he said.