Sustainability Fellowship Launches this Summer

This summer kicks off the inaugural Sustainability Fellowship Program at Punahou, a 15-month initiative dedicated to immersing high school students in environmental stewardship.

The Fellows learned how solar power and plants can be harvested together.

The free program, which aims to offer a transformative educational experience in sustainability, leadership and innovation over two summers, is open to O‘ahu high school students, starting the summer before they enter 10th or 11th grade. This summer, the program includes 22 students from six public and private schools including Punahou.

The six-week summer portion of the program has an exciting lineup of field trips to various organizations dedicated to sustainability and guest speakers who are leaders in the field. With field trips across the Island and hands-on activities, students are taking a deep dive into the science, public policy and ethics surrounding sustainability.

Students took an informative tour of RRR Recycling.

Field trips have included visits to H-Power, a solar and agriculture farm in Mililani and Waianu taro farm. Local and international sustainability leaders, such as Celeste Connors ’94 with Hawaiʻi Green Growth, Colton Ching with HECO and others, have visited Punahou to speak to students. All of these experiences are designed to cultivate the skills and mindset needed to tackle climate challenges.

During the upcoming school year, students will meet monthly to continue their learning. Next summer, students will embark on a learning trip to Hawaiʻi Island, followed by hands-on internships or research positions with nonprofits, private sector organizations or government institutions. The fellowship will culminate with a public presentation of the Fellows’ research projects, with university credit available for participants.

The group picked kalo at Waianu farm.

This pioneering program offers students a unique opportunity to develop essential skills and knowledge, preparing them to become future leaders in sustainability and paving the way for college and future career paths.

As part of Punahou’s summer school offerings, a sustainability fellowship program geared to fifth graders is also taking place, with special projects including creating an informative podcast and harvesting food on campus to make into sustainable snacks.

A fifth grader working in an on-campus garden as part of the Junior School sustainability fellowship.

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