Make The Ala Wai Awesome Student Design Challenge Finalists Selected

photo of Ala Wai

The finalists for the Make the Ala Wai Awesome Student Design Challenge have been selected. The international challenge is to rehabilitate a critical Oʻahu watershed that contains one of the nation’s most polluted bodies of water. Make the Ala Wai Awesome is sponsored by the University of Hawaiʻi and includes $10,000 in total prize money.

“We are excited about the innovative ideas that the challenge has sparked,” said UH President David Lassner. “The entries demonstrated that students are more than willing and able to collaboratively address the challenges before us all with creative, holistic and thoughtful system designs that integrate modern concepts with traditional knowledge to show the way to a brighter future.”

UH faculty representing all ten campuses gathered to commence the final round of judging, and to kick off an interdisciplinary conference focused on Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibility and solving the Grand Challenges of Water.

“Special thanks also to all the of the jurors who participated in the first round of judging, representing key stakeholders throughout the Ala Wai Watershed,” said Matthew K. Lynch, UH System sustainability coordinator. “The Ala Wai Challenge highlights the importance of integrated solutions that will help Hawaiʻi achieve the 2030 statewide Aloha + Challenge sustainability goals.”

“The challenge provided the great opportunity to engage youth and students in problems that government, community and professionals have struggled to address,” said Matthew Gonser, UH Sea Grant College Program extension faculty. “As a research, education and extension unit of the university, this platform really accelerated our ability to extend information to a broader audience and in an area we’ve been engaged in for several years—the interest and participation in the challenge is encouraging for a critical watershed, which also has lessons to share with other watersheds across Hawaiʻi.”

More about the Make the Ala Wai Awesome challenge

First place winners will be awarded across four categories and announced in June at the World Youth Congress and Mālama Honua Summit to celebrate the return of Hōkūleʻa:

  • Primary (K–5): $1,000
  • Middle/Intermediate (6–8): $2,000
  • High School (9–12): $3,000
  • College/University: $4,000

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