HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – Senate Education Committee chair, Senator Michele Kidani, along with Senators Breene Harimoto, Will Espero and Clarence Nishihara joined members of the House Committee on Education for an informational briefing today by the State Department of Education on the GEAR UP Hawai‘i program. GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.

The briefing, held on the campus of UH West O‘ahu, coincided with National GEAR UP Week and brought public school students, DOE administrators and GEAR UP project directors together to provide an update on the statewide effort to build college aspirations for economically disadvantaged students. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education whose mission is to significantly increase the number of low-income middle and high school students who are prepared to enter and succeed in secondary education.

There are three GEAR UP Programs in Hawai‘i: the Statewide GEAR UP Hawai‘i; Holomua GEAR UP, a partnership between UH West O‘ahu and Nanakuli-Wai‘anae Intermediate and High Schools; and GEAR UP Waipahu, a partnership between UH Mānoa and Waipahu Intermediate and High School.

Photo courtesy of Hawai’i P-20 Partnerships for Education

WHO: University of Arkansas Community Design Center and the University of Hawai’i Architecture HIDESIGN Studio

WHAT: Presentation on the role and impact of Community Design Centers

WHEN: Friday, September 16, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.

WHERE: Hawai‘i State Capitol, Auditorium

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i– Stephen Luoni, Director of the University of Arkansas Community Design Center and Cathi Ho Schar, inaugural Director of HIDESIGN Studio, University of Hawai‘i School of Architecture community outreach program, will be hosting a special presentation on Friday, September 16th at 9:00 a.m. in the Hawai‘i State Capitol Auditorium. The theme “Placemaking, Planning, Visioning, and Design,” focuses on the role of Community Design Centers (CDCs) and how they can help us create a better Hawai‘i.

“Community Design Centers collaborate with government, non-government and private sector partners and encourage out-of-the-box ideas,” said State Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz (Dist. 22 – Mililani Mauka, Waipi‘o Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, portion of Poamoho) who is coordinating the presentation. “We have a vital asset at the School of Architecture to open new doors in statewide projects through creative, sustainable and responsible design.”

Schools of Architecture across the country have established CDCs to provide architectural and engineering services that encourage community development efforts. Combining interdisciplinary academic initiatives, CDCs engage project stakeholders, including the impacted community, and collaboratively create a product that will be used towards the architectural design of a project.

“Focused on public-interest design, UACDC has developed eight place-making models to address core challenges in our built environment,” said Stephen Luoni, Director of the University of Arkansas Community Design Center. “These models in community development include, among others, transit-oriented development, low impact development, context-sensitive street design, agricultural urbanism, and smart growth urbanism. UACDC has helped to reshape development and planning policy at the state, regional, and municipal levels.”

Architecture majors are also engaged during this process so students can take part in the design of a project. The professional experience to which students are exposed helps build their resourcefulness and gives them work in a real world setting. These connections with working professionals in and out of their field will also be useful to them post-graduation, especially to retain local talent here in Hawai‘i.

“HIDESIGN STUDIO is a University of Hawai’i at Manoa School of Architecture community design center and outreach initiative that builds on four decades of community service to Hawai’i and the Asia Pacific Region,” said Cathi Ho Schar, Director of HIDESIGN Studio. “As a hybrid program of education and practice, HIDESIGN provides a new platform for cross disciplinary research and design inquiry focused on serving communities throughout our state and region.”

CDCs advance creative development through design, research, and education solutions. Planners, architects, designers, community organizers, government officials, non-profit organizations, and members of the private sector interested in the presentation are encouraged to attend and learn more about the concept of a community design center and what they are actively doing to better their communities.


HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – In what is likely the last session of the Twenty-Eighth Legislature, members of the Senate recognized and expressed their appreciation for Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland’s 26 years in the Legislature, the last 20 with the Senate.

Before recessing the Third Special Session, Sen. Chun Oakland was presented with a Senate certificate that recognized and commended the senator from Liliha for her tireless work advocating for those in housing, health care and education. The numbers are astounding: Since being elected in 1990, Sen. Chun Oakland has presided over 22 committees, task forces, boards and other legislative entities, including the Elder Abuse and Neglect Task Force, Child Protection Roundtable, Deaf and Blind Task Force, Mental Health Task Force, and Keiki Caucus; she has served as a member of 62 others, plus another 84 community organizations; over 26 years, she has earned 119 awards from many organizations. Sen. Chun Oakland is the longest-serving chair of the Senate Human Services Committee (18 years).

In presenting her the certificate, Sen. Les Ihara called Chun Oakland the “Mother Theresa of the Senate.”

“Her heart is so big, she doesn’t flinch in making what some feel are huge, significant request for support, because she feels the real needs of others,” said Sen. Ihara. “I don’t think the Legislature has changed Susie’s caring nature; instead, she has made us all more aware and more caring legislators.”

Sen. Chun Oakland announced her retirement from legislative office in May. Her term ends on Nov. 8, 2016.


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