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four people on a virtual conference

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Travel Industry Management (TIM) students experienced “a lesson of flexibility, creativity and resilience.”

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the annual networking event for the Shidler College of Business’ TIM school—Nā Kukui Netlinks—which was originally scheduled for early April at the Sheraton Princess Kaʻiulani hotel, took place virtually on April 30.

Instead of bringing TIM school students together with travel industry professionals for an evening of sharing and learning, this year’s program was modified to include a welcome speech from Vance Roley, dean of the Shidler College of Business and a panel of industry experts. Panelists included Daniel Chun from Alaska Airlines, Stuart Kotake from Marriott International – Waikiki Complex Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts and Jennifer Chun from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority. TIM Professor Jerry Agrusa served as the moderator.

“Students were disappointed to cancel the event,” said Lee-Ann Choy, TIM lecturer. “Unlike other school events, the Nā Kukui Netlinks event is tied to the TIM 316, special events management class. Through this practicum course, students are in charge of planning and managing this event.”

With a quick lesson on virtual events from Choy, the class planned the Nā Kukui Netlinks virtual event in just two and a half weeks. The students built a website, developed a social media strategy, offered tips and resources and assembled a prestigious panel of industry leaders from the hospitality, transportation and tourism areas.

To encourage participation, students approached Lyft and Pizza Hut Hawaiʻi to offer discounts to TIM students on the day of the event.

About Nā Kukui Netlinks

Started in 1995, the School of Travel Industry Management Nā Kukui Netlinks event gives students an opportunity to network with industry professionals. The event creates a friendly environment in which students may network and receive advice from industry professionals who are willing to share their experiences.

Over the years, the event has evolved into a student-run event. The event is planned and organized by the school’s TIM 316, special events management course, with the support of the TIM International, Inc. alumni association.

By Dolly Omiya

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