ELP Welcomes the New School Year with “Tea Time”

The Environmental Law Program hosted its second “Tea Time” gathering on September 17. The event, which is a spin-off of the annual in-person “Cookies, Coffee, & Tea with ELP,” provides students with an opportunity to meet the professors and research associates as well as learn about the program and its course offerings.

Over thirty first-, second-, and third-year students attended the event, which included: an program overview by the ELP research associates; a preview of the annual ENVIROmentors night on November 5; and an environmental “tea” spilling session by ELP faculty in breakout rooms, which covered topics such as tourism, happenings on Molokaʻi, and the regulation of utilities in Hawai’i.

Following the one-hour event, roughly a dozen students, such as Emily Sarasa, stayed to speak informally with the professors about the program and their tea topics. 

“I really appreciated the opportunity to connect with ELP students and faculty,” said the first-year student. “I also loved hearing the professors ‘spill the tea’ about local environmental issues. It led to interesting conversations about potential policy solutions for the tourism crisis and research topics about the Hawai’i energy sector’s history.”

Similarly, Kealapono Richardson, a second-year student, broke a personal ELP record as he learned valuable information for his Lānaʻi-focused second-year seminar topic.

“It was the longest I’ve stayed after an ELP event to continue talking story yet!” he said. “In our breakout room we spoke with Professor Akutagawa about the use of Ho’oponopono as a legal tool of de-escalation and community healing – how Ho’oponopono has identified and resolved issues between local communities and state agencies, and how it can be implemented in resource and island management conflicts across out pae ʻāina.”

Of course, Tea Time was also enjoyable for ELP professors, who saw the event as a great way to interact with new and returning students. 

“It was so much fun to discuss current issues of the day where law students have a lot to say,” said Professor Denise Antolini. “It was also an excellent beginning to re-energize the ELP network for the year.”

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