HPU takes on energy challenge with Kukui Cup

September 18, 2012

HPU Kukui Cup

HPU residents rush to complete a survey for points in the HPU Kukui Cup and earn a T-shirt. Residents will compete in the energy challenge over the next three weeks.

KANE‘OHE, Hawai‘i  — Residents at Hawai‘i Pacific University’s Hawai‘i Loa Campus kicked off the inaugural HPU Kukui Cup challenge Sept. 17. The energy and sustainability competition was developed in collaboration with the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.

This three-week challenge will reward students with points for learning about energy and sustainability-related issues, attending sustainability workshops and events, and reducing energy use in residence halls. These points are then used to win various prizes during the competition. Halls can win a pizza party. An individual can win the grand prize, a tablet computer.

“Getting our students prepared for the future goes beyond the classroom,” said interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Andrew Brittain. “Our residents at the Hawai‘i Loa campus will learn about important energy and sustainability-related issues and how everyday actions and behaviors can affect Hawai‘i and the planet.”

“The big thing we’re hoping for is behavior change in eco-literacy — why it’s important to conserve energy and why clean and renewable energy resources are so important,” said HPU sustainability coordinator Josh Prigge.

Prigge has spent the better part of this year working with UH to adapt the program for HPU. The Kukui Cup was successful at UH-Manoa residence halls last year, said Philip Johnson, professor and director of the UH Collaborative Software Development Laboratory. “Our research found that there was a significant increase in energy literacy resulting from participation in the challenge.”

“One goal of the Kukui Cup project is to create information technology and resources that can be adopted successfully by other organizations. We are excited to work with Hawai‘i Pacific University to see how the Kukui Cup can be adapted to their circumstances,” Johnson said.

“I think our students are really excited about it,” said HPU Residence Life Coordinator Katie Scott. A host of fun activities are planned, including an energy scavenger hunt on campus Sept. 20.

“We’re going to make teams of students from all the different buildings and they will have meters to test the energy usage of different items,” Scott said.

The goal is to have students become aware of the energy and resources commonly used each day, Scott said. “This is not just a skill for while they’re in school. It’s a skill for the rest of their lives.”

HPU student Naomi Hughes quickly earned points by filling out a survey during the kickoff, scoring a shirt that boldly declares: “Lights off, game on.”

Hughes, of Nova Scotia, Canada, said at home, sustainable habits — such sorting waste, recycling and composting — are common practice.

“I hope people [here] become more aware of their carbon footprint,” Hughes said. “I think this Kukui Cup Challenge will make them more aware of recycling and sustainability.”

The competition is just the latest example of HPU’s continuing commitment to sustainability, which includes the recently launched HPU GreenRide ride sharing program, for those who live off campus.

“Sustainability is an important issue at HPU. We are pleased to work with the University of Hawai‘i in implementing the HPU Kukui Cup and a vision of a sustainable future,” Brittain said.


HPU Kukui Cup

HPU student Naomi Hughes, left, fills out a survey to score points in the HPU Kukui Cup and earn a T-shirt.
She and other HPU residents will compete in the energy challenge over the next three weeks.