Chaminade’s newly hired director of Student Activities and Leadership has called lots of places home.
Texas, Malaysia, California, Greece, Massachusetts, Tennessee.
All that bouncing around is likely why after just a few months in the islands, Joseph Granado has already found himself settled in—and ready to take on a slew of new initiatives.
Granado started at Chaminade in July—when the rest of his office was on summer vacation—and hit the ground running, helping to oversee fall kick-off and new student orientation events.
He said the speedy initiation to life in Hawaii and at the University allowed him to quickly craft a list of priorities for the weeks and months ahead.
One major issue he wants to address: the lack of formal student organization training that instructs on key skills like how to plan and submit a budget and how to take meeting minutes.
“Students turn over every year into their officer positions and nothing is passed down,” he said. “We’re reinventing the wheel year after year.”
Meanwhile, Granado has also broadened the scope of programming that Student Activities will take on.
In addition to the recreation and health and wellness events that students are used to from the office, Granado plans to offer other activities across key “competency areas.”
The beach outings and movie nights will still be part of the mix, he said.
But so will events centered around topics like safety and security, leadership and professional development and financial wellness.
“We’ve broadened our scope to reach a wider audience and provide skills development to our students,” Granado said, “so that when they graduate they can say they learned something from student activities that they weren’t necessarily learning in the classroom.”
Granado comes to Chaminade from MIT—yes, that MIT—where he served as associate director of student activities and leadership.
He loved the job, he said, but didn’t like the location (or the climate).
So when one of his mentors emailed him about the student activities directorship opening at Chaminade, he jumped at the chance to learn more—and pretty soon got the job.
He was elated.
“I thought, ‘This is not real,’” Granado said. “The job that you really want in a place, in a setting that is really desirable.”
Granado grew up in Texas, and got his bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at San Antonio before going on to earn a master’s degree in Educational Administration at Texas A&M University.
In the years that followed Granado would travel extensively as he worked for a variety of universities and education-focused organizations. He even spent a year in Thessaloniki, Greece as the assistant site director for a cohort of study abroad students from Northeastern University.
He said that all those experiences better prepared him for his position at Chaminade. But, Granado added, Hawaii is also unique among all the places he visited.
The central reason: aloha is everywhere in the islands.
“Here, the word relationship means so much more,” he said. “For people at MIT, for example, relationship was, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ But relationship here is, ‘let’s go to a luau’ or ‘let’s talk story for three hours.’ I enjoy that a lot.”