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Research Profile: The Kukui Cup Project

Philip Johnson, Professor and Director of the Collaborative Software Development Laboratory, discusses the Kukui Cup project.

What is the Kukui Cup Project?

The 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. The current focus of the Kukui Cup Project is residence hall energy challenges. In future, we plan to expand our scope to include other sustainability resources (water, waste, food, etc.) and other contexts (offices, residences, etc.)

A defining feature of Kukui Cup challenges is a blend of real world and online activities, all tied together through game mechanics. In the real world, players participate in workshops, scavenger hunts, artistic/musical events, win prizes, and most importantly, learn about their current lifestyle and its impact on sustainability behaviors. In the online Kukui Cup web application, players earn points, achieve badges, increase their sustainability “literacy” through readings and videos, and use social networking mechanisms to engage with friends and family about the issues raised. The challenge is designed to make real world and online activities complementary and synergistic.

Primary support for the Kukui Cup project came from a $400,000 grant by the National Science Foundation.   In addition, we have received support from UH Housing, the Center for Renewable Energy and Island Sustainability, the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, and other sources.

Here is a short 3 minute video the Kukui Cup team produced about the 2011 challenge.

For more information:

See the Kukui Cup website publications page.