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Students of Sustainability members build waste bins for the UH Hilo Campus Center Dining Room.

The Students of Sustainability (SOS) club at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo takes its mission to stimulate new ideas for “green” initiatives on campus seriously.

SOS is currently working on a campus compost initiative by securing bins for the Campus Center Dining Room. The collected food waste will be composted near one of the campus’s sustainability gardens. Members of the SOS club are providing the labor for this project and will help ensure the composting process is completed correctly and safely.

Alexis Stubbs takes measurements of collected waste material.

Sustainability projects on campus also allow students to apply the learned theoretical material they are receiving in class to real world problems.

“The SOS group offers to do zero waste for community events,” says Brooke Hansen of the UH Hilo anthropology department and the SOS advisor. “The club also includes coordination with Recycle Hawaiʻi for programming and events through Vicki Haili who was a sustainability intern last year and part of the club—now she has graduated and works [as an administrative assistant] with RH. She comes to SOS meetings where we discuss how the club can work with the county on solving our enormous land fill and recycling issues.”

Award-winning leadership

As part of a delegation of 12 from UH Hilo attending the 5th Annual Hawaiʻi Sustainability in Higher Education Summit, Alexis Stubbs, former president of SOS and a sophomore specializing in tropical horticulture, won a $10k Green Student Leadership Award for the composting initiative. The prize money will go into expanding the composting program into other parts of the campus such as the dormitories.

“We are an island,” said Hansen. “We have to think like an island. The reality is we need to do something—this is about human and cultural survival.”

For more on this story, go to UH Hilo Stories.

—A UH Hilo Stories article written by Anne Rivera, a public information intern in the Office of the Chancellor

This article is part of a series on curriculum and projects at UH Hilo focusing on sustainability. Read the previous stories:

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