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Traveling? So make a difference

    By Joanna Georgiev. March 12, 2013 - 1:01 pm

travel2change3Photos courtesy of Travel2Change

New sights, smells, people and places. When you pack your bags and set off to a new place, often you come back with a greater sense of who you are and an appreciation for life through the experiences and people you have met.

The true essence of traveling begins when we let go of our assumptions, go to a foreign place with an open mind, and embrace the language, culture, and people. 

Traveling enriches the mind and enlightens the soul, opening your eyes to new perspectives.

Today a growing trend is that of VolunTourism, traveling to volunteer for an important cause.

Travel2change a nonprofit organizatiom founded in 2011 by Dr. Thomas Kohler of HPU, embodies this very idea.

The organization’s vision is to encourage individuals to pack their bags, travel and contribute their time and talent by collaborating with locals for meaningful change.

“At travel2change, we believe travel changes lives – both for travelers and for local communities,” Kohler said.


Traveling provides an opportunity where people interact and collaborate with each other.

“Travelers can benefit from fulfilling experiences when they link their passion to travel with a purpose and share their skills with local communities,” said Travis Torres, a graduate student in Kohler’s Marketing class  who also leads the project’s public relations efforts.

Past travel2change trips have taken place in Peru, Brazil, Kenya and Sri Lanka, from employing music and local art to raise awareness for protecting the rainforest in Brazil, to connecting a well in Sri Lanka for children to have access to running water for drinking and sanitation.

Travel2change has recently launched its travel2change Hawaii challenge, which has been developed by Kohler’s marketing students at HPU.

Six graduate student-led groups have been formed to address various areas of the nonprofit business including social media, sponsoring and fundraising, and user experience, to name a few.

Kohler’s three marketing classes have been working together since the beginning of the spring term to ensure that the Hawaii Challenge is a success.

You are encouraged to join the journey.


The travel2change Hawaii Challenge invites individuals to craft an idea of how they could create change in a community.

The winning trip ideas will be provided with funds to assist on their journey within the Hawaiian Islands.

Adjunct AD/PR teacher AnnMarie Manzulli believed in the mission of travel2change and created a project for her students to submit videos of their ideas of what they would do.

HPU sophomore Miriam Edler designed an idea around her passion to save the endangered Hawaiian monk seal.

The idea she submitted revolved around educating locals and tourists about the seals habitat and creating a plan that would focus on educational programs and beach clean ups to promote change.

“I was excited when AnnMarie presented us with the project with travel2change,” Edler said. “The idea of doing something good while getting experiences and having the time of your life all at the same time is great!”

Join other students like Edler and participate in the travel2change Hawaii Challenge.

Who knows? Your idea may be chosen and you may have the opportunity to do good here on the islands.

See past winners ideas on