“What will you do with your privilege” may seem a thoroughly modern question. But for Charlene Schulenburg ’83 and Richard Bissen ’83 it was the question.
As kids who grew up on the island of Maui, the concept of privilege goes hand in hand with the idea of responsibility—kuleana in native Hawaiian combines the two ideas.
For the pair who attended the same Catholic high school and went to the mainland for college when that was a rare thing, the concept of kuleana runs deep.
“Because of our shared background, there’s an alignment we have,” says Schulenburg. They owe it to the world to do what they can to improve it. That alignment came in handy as Bissen successfully ran to become mayor of Maui with Schulenburg as the campaign’s chairperson.
Backed by their Jesuit educations, they believed they were pushing the right direction, together.
“Santa Clara taught me to be a citizen of the world and to be of service to my community,” says Bissen. “My family and I, including my daughter Sayble ’10, have truly been blessed.” Those blessings are ones Schulenburg and Maui’s new mayor hope to pay forward.
“There’s an important thing that Richard would often say on the campaign trail,” Schulenberg recounts: “‘I want to plant the seeds of the trees whose shade I will never experience.’”