AmeriCorps VISTAs at Hawaiʻi Green Growth

This year, three new AmeriCorps VISTAs joined the Hawaiʻi Green Growth team through the Aloha+ Challenge VISTA Program to expand capacity and address poverty by increasing economic, social, and environmental resiliency in Hawaiʻi. The AmeriCorps VISTA members are supporting projects on the Aloha+ Challenge, Hawai‘i’s local plan to measure and implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Each role is specialized to support specific projects and functions, ranging from communications, the Aloha+ Challenge Dashboard, the Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration, and the Sustainability Business Forum.

Alex Nakao-Eligado

Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration and Sustainability Business Forum AmeriCorps VISTA

Alex joined the Hawaiʻi Green Growth team to support stakeholder coordination on the Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration and Sustainability Business Forum. Born and raised in Hawaiʻi, Alex applies her BA in Economics and Political Science from UH Hilo, Master in Sustainability Management from Columbia University, and experience interning for the global disclosure system CDP, to engage HGG network partners on key issues related to resilience, sustainable tourism, carbon offsets and green business.

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“AmeriCorps has allowed me to be a part of a network that is greater than the sum of its parts. I am really keen on the Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration and Sustainable Tourism, in particular, because both subjects focus on place-based solutions that embody culture, environment, economy and social equity. Given that Hawaiʻi’s primary economic driver is tourism, it is important that stakeholders plan with sustainability in mind when considering future infrastructure and policy changes and the education of our youth.”

Divya Sampath

Sustainability Dashboard AmeriCorps VISTA

Divya moved from New York to Hawaiʻi to work on the Aloha+ Dashboard by finding ways to streamline the user experience and highlight how Hawaiʻi is implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals through the Aloha+ Challenge. Divya is passionate about getting the numbers-driven story from initiatives throughout Hawaiʻi, ranging from affordable housing to marine health, and keeping stakeholders accountable to a collective goal of a more equitable and resilient Hawaiʻi.

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“This month, I moved to Honolulu from New York, from my island of Manhattan to the island of O‘ahu. In the short time that I have been here, I have learned so much about my host communities and about how many challenges we share as cities–but also about how history, culture and geography shape the outcomes and responses to those challenges. We work on a lot of levels: at the community level, policymaker-level and global level. One day we’re responding to a data request from a student and the next we’re preparing documents for elected leadership and UN events. It’s quite the exciting place to work!”

Alison Rhatigan

Local-Global Communications VISTA

Alison joined Hawaiʻi Green Growth in a Local-Global Communications role to promote communications, partner engagement, and outreach on local and global sustainability goals. Building on past experience in agency marketing and communications for a renewable energy non-profit in London, Alison works on multi-media communications projects and is assembling a report on the past five years of Hawaiʻiʻs Aloha+ Challenge.

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“The AmeriCorps VISTA program has been an amazing opportunity to work on issues I am passionate about in Hawaiʻi, from sustainability and conservation to economic resilience and innovation. My Local-Global Communications role allows me to get involved in a variety of initiatives and events, building on my past work in communications to capture stories and data and highlight how Hawaiʻi has become a global leader on local implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.”