UH Hilo’s first Community Partnership Fair connects students to internships and volunteer work

Participating community organizations provided resources and information, as well as internship, volunteer, and collaboration opportunities for students and faculty.

Amelie Sterling & Kehau Nelson-Kaula, of ʻImi Pono no ka ʻĀina, sit at table display.
From left, Amelie Sterling and Kehau Nelson-Kaula from ‘Imi Pono no ka ʻĀina sit at a table display on the library lanai during UH Hilo’s first Community Partner Fair. ʻImi Pono no ka ʻĀina, an education and outreach program of Three Mountain Alliance based at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, provides conservation themed programs for students, teachers, and community members to strengthen environmental and cultural awareness. (Courtesy photo)

By Susan Enright

Julie Mowrer
Julie Mowrer

The first ever Community Partner Fair at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, held earlier this semester, has made connections between students and local organizations much stronger.

The fair, sponsored by UH Hilo’s Center for Community Engagement and the Campus Center, was held on the lanai outside Mookini Library on Sept. 27.

“Our participating community organizations are eager to provide resources and information, as well as internship, volunteer, and possible collaboration opportunities,” says Julie Mowrer, acting director of the university’s community engagement center.

Mowrer says students are often looking for ways to really make a positive difference in the world. “Connecting with a local organization to work on an issue that is important to them can really help them to achieve these goals,” she says.

Woman sits at display table with large red, white and blue sign "American Cancer Society."
UH Hilo alumna Vanessa Carlson from the American Cancer Society sits at a display table at UH Hilo’s first Community Partner Fair in September. Several students who met Carlson at the fair joined the American Cancer Society’s “Pink Out Color Run” in October. (Courtesy photo)

Following the Community Partner Fair, several UH Hilo students joined the American Cancer Society’s “Pink Out Color Run” in October after meeting UH Hilo alumna Vanessa Carlson, the ACS representative at the fair.

“This was just one of many of the positive outcomes of the fair hosted in September to build connections between the campus and community,” says Mowrer.

In early November, representatives from Zero Waste Big Island, who tabled at the fair, served as guest speakers for a class, resulting in a possible partnership with a UH Hilo student on their capstone project to reduce waste.

“Our local organizations can contribute so much to our students’ understanding of place and offer opportunities to build relationships and connect their learning to a broader context,” explains Mowrer. “We are so fortunate to have such a vibrant community surrounding the campus, excited to connect with students, faculty and staff.”

By Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories.