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History of OMSS

The University of Hawaii's Office of Multicultural Student Services (OMSS) traces its roots to Operation Manong, a program established at the University of Hawaii in 1971. A coalition of Filipino community leaders, University students and faculty, and community agencies saw the need to assist and encourage the growing population of immigrant Filipino youth in their adjustment to Hawaii and the United States. As an organizing principle, the resultant organization adopted the Ilokano kinship term for "older brother," Operation Manong (OM) thereby linking university students with the younger students in the public schools. At the time "manong" had been used in Hawaii in a derogatory manner to refer to Filipinos, so OM also sought to restore and promote the positive, traditional use of "manong."

Since 1976 OM had been funded by the State of Hawaii through the University of Hawaii, and over the years, OM has received additional funding through the United Presbyterian Church, ACTION, the U.S. Departments of Education and Energy, and the Hawaii State Departments of Education and Human Services.

From its inception, in additon to serving Filipino youth, OM has served all immigrant groups, including immigrant Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Laotian and Samoan youths. It has also provided outreach to other ethnic groups that are similarly underrepresented in higher education, including Native Hawaiians, African Americans and Hispanic Americans. To better reflect this broader agenda, Operation Manong became the Office of Multicultural Student Services in May 2000.

In recent years the Office of Multicultural Student Services has been partnering with community and University groups to increase the awareness of multicultural issues within the community and at the University.


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