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BYU–Hawaii & PCC: The Learning Connection

Perhaps unique in all the world, BYU–Hawaii shares an unusual educational/business symbiotic relationship with the adjoining Polynesian Cultural Center — Hawaii's most successful paid-admission visitor attraction. The following figures and facts demonstrate the most outstanding aspects of this relationship:

  • Every year over 700 BYU–Hawaii students supplement their educational expenses by working at the PCC.
  • Two-thirds or more than 500 of them participate in the unique BYUH/PCC International Work Opportunity Return-ability Kuleana (i-WORK) program for selected students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to gain a tertiary education.
  • Since the Center opened in October 1963, nearly 17,000 BYU–Hawaii students have worked there.
  • The Center gives students a wide variety of work assignments that strengthen their educational objectives and hone their English language skills by interacting with thousands of visitors each working day.
  • Their genuine aloha spirit, talent, youthful appeal, and vitality has attracted more than 35 million visitors to the small community of Laie, Hawaii.
  • Over the years the Center has provided nearly $178 million in total financial support to BYU–Hawaii and its students.

Both the Polynesian Cultural Center and Brigham Young University–Hawaii were founded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In its earliest years of operation before success was obvious, the PCC was sometimes described as an "aloha experiment." Since then, the experiment has proved itself millions of times over, prompting former BYU–Hawaii President Eric B. Shumway to say of the two institutions: "We are not joined at the hip; we are joined at the heart."