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Student competition welcomes sustainability ideas for campus


Image courtesy of UHWO Staff

The University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu Sustainability Committee welcomes student applications proposing sustainability ideas to implement at UH West O‘ahu as part of the “UH West O‘ahu Sustainability Pitch and Present Student Competition.”

The deadline for the first stage of the competition — a 250-word summary of the project — is due by Oct. 19.

“The winning idea will be tied into our objective of incorporating sustainability practices into campus life for working towards having a more sustainable campus in terms of, for example, energy use and reducing waste,” said Sustainability Committee Chair Dr. Christy Mello, associate professor of Applied Cultural Anthropology.

The Sustainability Committee was established in fall 2019 under the chairship of Dr. Albie Miles, assistant professor of Sustainable Community Food Systems, as a Faculty Senate standing committee for aligning the UH system-wide sustainability policy with UH West O‘ahu’s mission and strategic plan.

Mello, who has served as the committee’s chair since fall 2021, said that to meet this goal, the committee was designed with key objectives, including curriculum development in which activities have consisted of establishing a Sustainability Issues Certificate and a Sustainability Focused (SF) designation for courses. Current SF courses are housed in divisions from across campus.

“Another curricular activity involves the incorporation of sustainability practices and learning into student life and co-curricular activities,” Mello said. “For this reason, we are hosting the Student Sustainability Pitch and Present Competition.”

Mello added, “Our work is critical given our current and worsening climate crisis. We believe that our university should be preparing students, across disciplines, to incorporate knowledge on sustainability into their future careers.”

A Zoom screenshot with seven participants.
A screenshot of a recent Zoom meeting of the UH West O‘ahu Sustainability Committee. The committee consists of nine faculty members (from top row, left to right): Alphie Garcia, Christy Mello (chair), Monique Mironesco, Ricardo Custodio, Keith Sakuda, Lelemia Irvine, and Kim Compoc. Members Matt Cavert and Joy Mahiko are not pictured. The committee has also reached out to ASUHWO for recruiting a student representative to join.

Competitors may enter either as an individual, in a group, or as part of a course. The following are more details about the competition from the UH West O‘ahu Sustainability Committee:


Sustainability is defined as conserving resources for promoting socio-economic, cultural, environmental, and physical wellbeing so that both humans and the planet prosper now and into the future.

Pitch proposals may range from renewable energy projects to waste reduction ideas such as using environmentally friendly products or composting methods that could be integrated into campus operations. These are only a few examples of many possibilities. The UH West O‘ahu Sustainability Committee will prioritize the winning pitch as a sustainability initiative.

Students are encouraged to be creative and submit original ideas. However, the committee has prioritized potential initiatives in which it welcomes specific pitch and present ideas. Projects of interest to the committee consist of promoting the sustainability certificate to increase enrollment, increasing the number and types of reusable products on campus, reducing waste on campus (i.e. compost bins), increasing energy conservation, increasing healthy food access for students and types of native plant species planted on campus, and organizing campus wide events focused on sustainability.


  • An abstract (a 250-word summary) of the project is due no later than 11:59 p.m. Oct. 19.
  • The committee will review abstracts and notify students by Oct. 24 whether they progress onto the next stage of the competition.
  • The narrative portion of the application with a video pitch will be due by 11:59 p.m. Nov. 4.
  • The top three pitch ideas will be notified and will present their ideas at the Student Research and Creative Works Symposium on Nov. 16. The winner and runner ups will be announced after presentations. Prizes will be awarded.

Instructions for submission

Submit applications to Dr. Christy Mello at The application will consist of the following three requirements:

  • Written proposal. For the no more than 2-3 page (single spaced, 1-inch margins, size 11 font or bigger, either Times New Roman or Arial) written portion and in the following order:
    1. Summarize the idea and include a justification for it in regards to an unmet need on campus;
    2. Provide an implementation plan detailing resources required and various considerations for putting the proposed idea into action;
    3. Identify benefits/how the proposed idea will positively impact students and beyond; and
    4. Explain expenses as they align with an attached budget. The pitch proposal should consist of enough detail so that it serves as a clear roadmap for the future implementation of the sustainability idea.
  • Budget. The proposed budget is in addition to the narrative. Proposed budgets for a project should not exceed $5,000 though proposals with budgets that exceed this amount will be accepted if proposers identify potential and specific sources for funding.
  • Video of the pitch. For the video portion, be creative! Submit a pre-recording of a formal PowerPoint presentation or present the pitch in another format/style, as long as the end product is a video addressing all parts of the narrative in a 5-minute video.

For questions about the UH West O‘ahu Sustainability Pitch and Present Student Competition, email


Image courtesy of UHWO Staff