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UH Manoa students get valuable learning experience at IUCN Conference

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It's the type of learning that stretches way beyond the classroom for six students at the University of Hawaii Manoa.

They're wrapping up a six-week summer intensive course by working side-by-side with the IUCN Global Communications team, and assisting in social media and communication strategy efforts.

"Because it's a conservation conference, there are a lot of opportunities to learn more about conservation issues from people who are widely respected in their fields," said UH Manoa Student, Spencer Oshita.
 
The students spent four weeks planning and developing their production and multimedia knowledge, which was put to the test during the 10-day conference.
 
Students had the opportunity to interact with global experts and develop communications skills in a real-life congress setting. 

"The fact that they know IUCN is going to be here and then it's going to be gone and you have to set up and take advantage of the opportunity that's there, really gets students excited," said Denise Konan, Dean of the College of Social Sciences at UH Manoa.
 
"For me it's an opportunity of a lifetime.  Since there is just six of us, but we want to share it with everyone else," said UH Manoa Student, Anh Nguyen.

Led by professors Patricia Buskirk and Dr. Misa Maruyama, the experiential course provided students the necessary skills to be showcased on a global stage.
 
"It's a great opportunity to be able to discuss these wicked complex issues.  Then be able to allow them to speak on this global stage is wonderful.  It's such an empowering experience for the students," said Maruyama. 

"What's unique is that the class is designed for multimedia, multi-platform storytelling.  We talk about messaging, how to communicate their messages more effectively and efficiently,"  said Buskirk.
 
For the students, it's been more than just a learning experience - It's a chance to share a message of sustainability and empowerment with a younger generation.

"For us moving forward as a millennial generation and even as other generations, its going to be extremely important to get caught up on these issues and to learn more about them so that we can build a better future," said Oshita.

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