The Kukui Cup Project

kc-logo-greenThe Kukui Cup Project explores novel ways to utilize concepts from information technology, community-based social marketing, serious games, and educational pedagogy to support sustained change in sustainability-related behaviors.  We originally focused on residence hall energy challenges.  We now plan to expand the approach to other contexts (such as primary and secondary schools, offices, and residential neighborhoods), and to other sustainability issues (water, waste, food, recycling, etc.)

Combining the real and online worlds

kukuicup-party Kukui Cup challenges blend real world and online activities, all tied together through game mechanics.   In the real world, players participate in workshops, excursions, and creative events.  They compete to win prizes, and in the process, learn about their current behaviors and their impact on resources such as energy and water.  The online game environment allows players to earn points, achieve badges, increase their sustainability “literacy” through readings and videos, and use social networking mechanisms to engage with friends and family. The Kukui Cup is designed to make the real and online world activities complementary and synergistic.


Kukui Cup challenges are typically designed with the following goals for its participants:

  • Increase knowledge about sustainability issues;
  • Gain insight about the impact of one’s current behaviors and how to change them for increased sustainability;
  • Build community, through awareness of local and national sustainability organizations and initiatives;
  • Create commitment, from minor (turn off the lights when not in use) to major (pursue a profession related to sustainability).

Technology innovations

kukuicup-home-windowThe project has produced innovative open source technology developed by the Collaborative Software Development Laboratory at the University of Hawaii.   The technology enables designers to define new challenges and easily customize each instance of the Kukui Cup with content best suited to their needs.