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The University of Hawaiʻi Ala Wai Watershed Student Design Challenge is now accepting applications from students of all ages. The brightest student minds at UH and beyond are invited to Make the Ala Wai Awesome!

The student teams are challenged to imagine a comprehensive, systems-thinking approach toward watershed management from mauka to makai (from the mountains to the sea). The Ala Wai Watershed encompasses key UH assets and facilities, thousands of homes and businesses and the Waikīkī district that drives much of the state’s economy.

Team proposals should include: ecosystem restoration, flood mitigation, community education and engagement, cultural connections, community access, mobility and recreation and economic health and resiliency.

Full details on the challenge are available for download (PDF).


Student teams must first complete the online registration form by January 31, 2017. A 4-digit anonymous identification number will be provided to all eligible and registered teams after the registration period has closed.

Once teams are registered, submissions should be made via the UH FileDrop system with in the “Recipient” field. Submissions will be accepted until March 17, 2017.

The international challenge, sponsored by the University of Hawaiʻi, includes $10,000 in total prize money. First place winners will be awarded across four categories:

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

The student design challenge seeks ideas on stream and ecosystem restoration, green stormwater infrastructure, water capture and reuse, sediment control, flood mitigation, contemporary urban ahupuaʻa, Ala Wai as a destination, education and engagement with community/youth, local participation and more.

The competition takes place in support of the Ala Wai Watershed Partnership, a multi-sector partnership that coordinates across the public, private, academic, non-governmental, community and philanthropic sectors.

The Ala Wai Canal in Waikīkī is part of the 19-square-mile Ala Wai watershed.
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