Nine HPU students and the University's Director of Student Activities Robyn Serge attended the Ho’opili Leadership Conference in February 2024.
Camp Pālehua sits on 1,600 acres of protected conservation and agricultural land. It offers breathtaking panoramic vistas of the Waiʻanae mountains stretching across to the southwest coastline of Oʻahu. It serves as a hub for educational initiatives and activities aimed at nurturing the future stewards and leaders of the land.
In February 2024, Camp Pālehua hosted the Ho’opili Ho Leadership Conference, extending invitations to nine HPU students, HPU Director of Student Engagement Robyn Serge, and HPU Assistant Director of Student Engagement Tian Robinson. The event brought together students from various areas across Hawaiʻi. During the three-day conference, students participated and engaged in team-building activities, workshops, and discussions aimed at fostering leadership skills and personal development.
The retreat was described as a meaningful getaway to connect with student leaders and learn, malama the 'aina, love, and build a strong community.
“Throughout the program, I observed students developing a heightened sense of self-awareness, improved communication and collaboration skills, and a deeper understanding of their roles as leaders,” Serge said. “The Ho’opili Ho retreat provided a platform for students to reflect on their strengths, address challenges, and establish a supportive network with their peers on campus and across the islands.”
Serge observed that the conference instilled a sense of empowerment and motivation, leaving HPU students with a renewed enthusiasm for making positive contributions within their academic and extracurricular communities.
“Our students made a significant impact immediately by being the ‘group’ that motivated all other groups to come out of their shells and participate. The conference provided students with invaluable insights and skills that will contribute to their growth as leaders within their academic and co-curricular community at HPU,” Serge said.
The HPU students who attended the conference were Princess Pascua, Aleiah Leilua-Toloai, Samantha Talbot, Justin Alday, Leigha Dick, Kanon Morimoto, Rebecca Raynoschek, An Vo, and Marisol Castillo.
Students expressed gratitude for the transformative experience they had at the retreat. The sense of connection and community formed during the event was a source of healing and personal growth. Meeting student leaders from different schools allowed them to relate to others and expand their support network, fostering a sense of unity among diverse individuals.
The workshops imparted valuable lessons on the importance of understanding people's “true colors” or personalities, emphasizing the significance of group communication and embracing diversity of ideas. The power of storytelling was highlighted to uncover the depths of people's perspectives. The shared sentiment among participants was that collaboration leads to greater achievements, echoing the message that “if you do things with others, you can go farther.”
The attendees found joy in working together, gaining confidence in their abilities, and opening up to newfound friends. The emphasis on the concept of “pono is what pono does” resonated with students, emphasizing the importance of responsibility demonstrated through actions. The conference rekindled the value of student engagement, community building, and personal growth.
The retreat was described as a meaningful getaway to connect with student leaders and learn, mālama the ʻaina (care for the land), love, and build a strong community. The experience left a lasting impact, with attendees expressing gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate with passionate students from around the world, fostering long-lasting connections.
To learn more about HPU clubs, campus recreation, and the various student activities at HPU, click here.
All photos courtesy of Robyn Serge.
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