Monday, September 21, 2015

Embracing community

Anya McClenton, Student Government Association (SGA) Vice President, came to Honolulu and Hawai‘i Pacific University from Oakland, Calif. A psychology major anticipated to graduate in December 2016, she demonstrates a commitment to and fondness for the HPU and Hawai‘i communities.

Her path to the university and Hawai‘i began as she researched universities on the Internet. She was drawn to study in Hawai‘i and liked what she saw on the HPU website.  

“It seemed like a school that put an emphasis on student success,” said McClenton. “That’s why, ultimately, I thought I would be able to thrive here. And it’s been a very great journey.”

When she is not in the classroom or studying, McClenton takes an active role in campus life. Prior to being elected as SGA Vice President, she first served as the Legislative Coordinator for the Senate and then the College of Liberal Arts (formerly known as Humanities and Social Sciences) Senator. She is an active member of the Christian Student Organization and finds joy participating in praise and worship. Additionally, she works part time in Meader Library and has been a writing tutor in the Center for Academic Success (CAS).

McClenton wants to see the sense of community strengthened and believes student involvement on campus is key. She notes campus activities, such as the Paina at the Pier concert held this past weekend, which are fun and create school spirit. McClenton also points to the less obvious way of participating and encourages her fellow students to take advantage of the student support services offered by the university. She cites the Career Services Center, providing HPU Connect, a job search website, and resume review services, and CAS tutors being available for free 30-minute tutoring sessions.

When asked what she likes most about HPU, McClenton says the dynamics of student diversity.

“Very few people are going to be just like you. It’s a strength and can be a weakness if we don’t continue to reach out to one another,” she said. “The students (of HPU) have really proven…that they can overcome barriers with one another. I think that’s a great thing in itself.”

SGA Vice President Anya McClenton cutting
 cake at the SGA hosted 50th birthday event
Beyond HPU, McClenton takes an interest in communities surrounding the university. She goes to Palama Settlement once a week with a church group, spending time with kids who live at Mayor Wright Housing. On Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon, she works with Central Middle School students, tutoring and teaching them hip-hop.

“Even if we don’t recognize it as students sometimes — as we get a one track mind about school and classwork — HPU has a presence in the community,” said McClenton. “I think it’s important to reach out to the community that is so aware of us, and as students, we need to step up and take some responsibility.”

With a sense of appreciation for her surroundings and the people within it, McClenton continues on her journey at HPU and in Hawai‘i. 


  1. Anya, you are an amazing leader; a leader that involves others and influences those around you. Your positive attitude and involvement with the community inspires others to not only follow but to become leaders themselves.

  2. Anya,
    You are such an incredible leader with a big heart! I am happy to hear and see all the wonderful things you are doing at Hawaii Pacific University. Keep it up we all enjoy hearing about your sucesses.