April 29, 2015

Students receive recognition for Daniel K. Inouye Center conceptual site plans

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The Daniel K. Inouye Center and campus urban and regional planning department awarded two teams of students for their conceptual site plans for the future DKI Center that will be built on campus.

The students were recognized during the DKI Student Project Award Contest on April 27 in front of an array of guests that included UH Mānoa faculty and the family of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye.

A Contest and an Opportunity

The Dean of the College of Social Sciences, Denise Konan, introduced the two winning teams of contest: Caterine Picardo Diaz and Stephanie Nagai, who took first place, and Clarice Schafer and Dayna Vierra, who took second.

Originally, the contest consisted of six teams of students enrolled in PLAN 678, an Urban and Regional Planning graduate course taught by Professor Priyam Das. According to Das, every summer and fall she works to find a community project that her students will be able to work on for the spring semester.

For this project, students spent a little over six weeks conducting research and developing a creative design that they presented to fellow students and faculty. The students then received comments and recommendations from experts and were able to change and improve their designs.

In February, all six site-planning projects were presented to Ken Inouye, the son of the late senator who also gave the students personal feedback on their projects.

In April, all the teams submitted their conceptual site plans to a panel of judges that consisted of Mark Hastert, of the Board of Directors of the Hawaiian Land Trust; Bruce Tschida, president of Townscape; Kimi Yuen, senior associate of PBR Hawai‘i and several professors from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP). The two winning teams won cash prizes from the DKI Institute and DURP.

At the ceremony, Inouye expressed his appreciation and admiration for the work via video chat from Washington, DC.

“You folks did a really amazing job. ... The thing that hit me when I was looking over the work that you all put together was how well thought out it was. Everything either anticipated a problem and came up with a way to remedy it or saw a problem and came up with a way to remedy it,” Inouye said.

The DKI Center for Democratic Leadership

According the College of Social Sciences website, the DKI Center, upon its completion, will honor and build upon the work and legacy of Daniel Inouye. The late senator was Hawai‘i’s longest serving public servant in the capitol. The goal of the center is to show his spirit of leadership and values of freedom, fairness, and integrity.

The teams took this into account when researching Sen. Inouye. Both winning teams endeavored to incorporate his spirit and values in their work. Diaz and Nagai, in their presentation of their project, showed how the setup of their site plan reflected the aloha that Sen. Inouye demonstrated in every aspect of his life.

“Our main concept was the concept of aloha. Partly because [Inouye] was from Hawai‘i and he brought aloha to Washington and to the world ... we thought that aloha was a great topic for our project and for the space that we wanted to create,” Diaz said.