New Teapresso Bar concession on UH Hilo campus supports food pantry for students in need

The new concession will provide more drink options for students on campus and also help fund the new Hale Pa’i ‘Ai food pantry program established for students with food insecurities. The business plan for the concession supporting the food pantry was done by business major Jordan Kamimura.

By Alyssa Mathews. Photos by Raiatea Arcuri.
Click photos to enlarge.

Marcia Sakai, Jordan Jordan Kamimura, and Kalei Rapoza stand in front of the tea concession.
Left to right, Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai, business student Jordan Kamimura, and Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs Kalei Rapoza at the rollout event of the Teapresso Bar concession March 13, UH Hilo. The concession will support a new food pantry program on campus; Kamimura created the business plan for the pop-up and food pantry.

The Teapresso Bar concession officially opened today at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. The new concession, located on the Library Lanai on Wednesdays and Fridays, will not only provide more drink options for students on campus, but will also help fund the new Hale Pa’i ‘Ai food pantry program established for students with food insecurities.

The introduction of the Teapresso Bar concession on campus was celebrated before spring break, when students, faculty, and staff gathered on the Library Lanai on March 13 to try free samples of Teapresso boba tea and lemonade drinks at the Pop Up for Hunger tasting event.

Pop-up concession on the library lanai, students.
Teapresso Bar tasting event March 13, Library Lanai, UH Hilo. Click to enlarge.

At the event, Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai and Interim Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs Kalei Rapoza helped serve 1,000 beverage samples of some of the different flavors that will be available from the concession including taro milk tea, milk tea, and organic lemonade. Information about the new food pantry program was also released at the event. Posters with details about the program and its connection to the new Teapresso concession were set up around the event for students to learn more.

“Bringing Teapresso to campus is an exciting new thing for students,” says Rapoza. “We feel it will be another beverage option on campus in response to what students like. But it’s also supporting the Pop up for Hunger program, which is part of an overall vision to create as much of a positive environment for students that the university possibly can. That includes academic support, administrative support, and student support services. The Pop up for Hunger program is a piece of an overall strategy that is still in development to address food insecurities for students.”

Program designed by business student

The Pop Up for Hunger program, the Teapresso concession support, and the tasting event rollout was conceptualized by UH Hilo business major Jordan Kamimura as part of an assignment for one of his business classes.

“The concept and food pantry support programs were developed by a student in the College of Business and Economics, Jordan Kamimura,” explains Rapoza. “It was part of his Business 400 Internship class to think of ideas to develop an innovative program that has an immediate benefit to students but also has a way to address food insecurity.”

Kamimura worked with the Division of Administrative Affairs to make the program a reality.

“In Admin affairs, we typically take care of backbone support structures on campus,” Rapoza says. “Having an opportunity to work with a student to build something new is pretty exciting for us, and gives us a more direct opportunity to interact and give back to students. We want to do things that are focused on students, if we can have applied learning experiences that integrate what some of the functions that are current with the division of administrative affairs, then I look forward to those opportunities to work with students, especially students who are doing it as a part of class work.”

Student with beverage.
Student enjoying a Teapresso beverage at the pop-up tasting event March 13, Library Lanai, UH Hilo.

Additionally, the new concession will help to create a more diverse campus experience that’s readily available to students.

“If you’re in the library and you really want Teapresso and happen to be there on a Wednesday or Friday, then you’re just right there, it doesn’t detract from any study time,” Rapoza explains. “You’re able to enjoy a drink, socialize, get some fresh air before you get back to hitting the books. So there’s that aspect, but also there’s the other piece of how a portion of the proceeds will feed into the Hale Pa’i ‘Ai program to help the operational costs. The food pantry will then provide an option for students with food insecurity.”

Students at the March 13 tasting event agreed, seeing the concession as way to help fellow students while having a treat in between classes.

“We’re making a difference by buying things we’d usually buy,” says student Michelle Biete.

Students also commented on the convenience of having the concession right outside of classes.

“It’s nice because it’s on-campus, and it’s a way to help the community,” says student Polina Kozinskiy.

With the Teapresso concession providing different options for students on campus as well as helping to fund the food pantry program, the goal is to have more concessions participate in the future to create more diverse choices and continue to support students with food insecurities.

“The hope is that the current Teapresso Pop Up for Hunger events are successful and increase a demand for additional pop ups to come to campus,” Rapoza says. “Ultimately we want students to have a variety of choices to make while being on campus. The more successful one is, the more energy there is about it, and it has a snowball effect. Having diversity and fun options on campus is good for the overall environment of campus.”

Teapresso Bar “Pop Up for Hunger” Concession

The Teapresso “Pop Up for Hunger” Concession will be open for business on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Library Lanai (former Island Naturals location), where the UH Hilo campus community can get their boba tea or organic lemonade fix. Teapresso’s rotating beverage menu includes Teapresso’s Signature Milk Tea, Honeydew Milk Tea, Taro Milk Tea, Tropic Osmanthus, Fruity Lychee, Rose Green Tea, Strawberry Lilikoi Lemonade, Blue Hawaiian Lemonade, and Maunakea Sunset Lemonade. Add-ons include large boba, lychee jelly or strawberry bursting boba.

A portion of UH Hilo’s Pop Up for Hunger program revenue will fund the purchase of food items for Hale Pa’i ‘Ai, UH Hilo’s new food pantry to combat student food insecurities at UH Hilo. Watch this space for more information about the Hale Pa‘i ‘Ai soft opening.


Story by Alyssa Mathews, a freshman at UH Hilo. She graduated from Waiakea High School and is a UH Hilo Chancellor’s Scholar.

Photos by Raiatea Arcuri, a professional photographer majoring in business at UH Hilo. Visit his website at  

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