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Yvonne Yoro (middle) during her time as a program coordinator with Kupu.

Students can receive hands-on training in sustainability and conservation efforts to become stewards of culture and environment thanks to a partnership between the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and Kupu. A nonprofit organization, Kupu seeks to “empower youth to serve their communities through character building, service learning and environmental stewardship opportunities.”

Yvonne Yoro, a second-year graduate student in the Master of Public Administration program housed in the College of Social Sciences, had the opportunity to volunteer with Kupu for her practicum, which provided invaluable experience.

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“Participating in Kupu’s programs is more than learning about conservation, sustainability and protecting ʻāina; it’s about learning more about yourself and building a foundational step that will lift you into your career,” said Yoro.

Yoro did her practicum with Kupu’s external affairs team, where she was able use her knowledge of nonprofit management and the relationships between public sector entities and nonprofits. She quickly learned that managing relationships between an organization and its stakeholders requires practice refining that specific skill set.

“My practicum intertwined my existing knowledge of Kupu and its programs with what I had learned at that point from my master’s program,” added Yoro. “As a participant and practicum student of Kupu, I was given so many opportunities that I would have never imagined receiving in such a short time. Participating in these programs helped reveal my interests and helped me identify the gifts I have and skills I can improve.”

Yoro, who is currently employed at Kupu, originally heard about the UH Mānoa Master of Public Administration program through a co-worker.

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“Participating and working at Kupu revealed many interests including my love for public service work and working in areas where policies evolve to protect what we love,” said Yoro. “The organization and the staff have encouraged me to continue pursuing what I love and I am very thankful that I continue to work with supportive people who allow me to challenge myself in different ways—including returning to school to complete my master’s degree.”

Student opportunities with Kupu

Kupu ʻĀina Corps—Applications opening soon.
Positions are available at a variety of conservation, agriculture, technology and clean energy focused host sites throughout the islands of Hawaiʻi.

Conservation Leadership Development Program—Applications for 2023–24 are open.
This is a paid opportunity where participants are matched with a single conservation host site for the duration of the program, during which they learn and serve alongside conservation experts. Full-time positions are available in American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and Hawaiʻi.

Environmental Education Leaders—Applications for 2023–24 are open.
Environmental Education Leaders are placed at one or more schools where they provide hands-on, work based learning opportunities that leverage Kupu’s relationships with environmental conservation agency partners.

Hawaiʻi Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC) Summer—Continuing to accept applications.
HYCC summer program offers individuals an opportunity to gain restoration experience in a supportive team environment. Participants commit to a specific island and spend the summer months serving outdoors at various environmental organizations.

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