Month: September 2017


First Year Student of the Month

School: University of Hawai`i at Manoa Region: PACURH
Nominee: Mākena Rivera-Concannon Nominator: Austin Choy

On-Campus Population: 3,450 Chapter Size: 34

Please explain the outstanding contributions of the nominee during the month of nomination

Benjamin Rivera-Concannon, better known to the community as Mākena, is a first-year student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa who lives on the 10th floor of Hale Aloha Lokelani. He is a natural extrovert who loves meeting new people, bringing people together, and pushing others outside of their comfort zone. The positive, upbeat energy he exudes is truly one of a kind. With his amiable, outgoing personality, he's not afraid to make his voice heard and speak up for others. As a contributing member of the Hale Aloha Lokelani Community Council, Residence Hall Association (RHA), and 10th floor, he has made a lasting difference in the lives of our residents.

From the very first week of school, he showed interest in being involved in the community. When I told him about our residence hall Community Council, he knew that it was something he wanted to be a part of. He came to our first Community Council meeting and hasn't missed a meeting since. When no one else would, he volunteered to present our community council budget to RHA and to create the design for our Community Council's t- shirt. He never shies away from an opportunity to share his talents with others. He even told me that if I ever need help making a bulletin board or decorating my floor, he would gladly assist.

He is also active in our community's RHA. At the beginning of the school year, our RHA had two vacant executive board positions that were accepting applications. Mākena, wanting to have a larger impact in the community, applied for the position of Vice President of Marketing and History. On September 20th, the day of voting, he ran against one other competitor for the position. In his speech, he talked about his passion for art and how his talents could make innovative changes in the organization's marketing. Ultimately, Mākena won the election by a majority vote. He humbly thanked everyone and promised to do his best.

Mākena does not only promote community engagement through Community Council and RHA, but he also promotes it on the 10th Floor of Hale Aloha Lokelani. Driven by his love for art, he bought window friendly markers and started an art mural on the three-paneled, ceiling-high picture window of the 10th floor balcony. The middle panel proudly states, "Welcome to the 10th Floor" in bright neon blue and green. Beneath it is the name of every resident living on that floor. The other two panels are filled with colorful doodles of trees, Disney characters, tribal patterns, and pizzas with smiley faces. I happened to come across them as they were starting this mural. About ten residents were listening to music and doodling on the window. The 10th floor Resident Assistant, who is usually very serious and stoic, couldn't help but smile at the sight of his residents working together. This project was all thanks to Mākena's idea. He used his passion for artistic expression to bring the residents of his floor together and beautify his community. His actions have inspired the 9th floor to beautify their community by decorating the mirror in their lounge.

Overall, Mākena has made a strong impact on the lives of others through his passion for community involvement and art. In the short time of September, he was able to create a t- shirt design for his Community Council, become an executive board member in RHA, and bring the residents of the 10th floor closer than ever. With his executive board position and continued involvement, he will continue to touch the lives of the residents in our community.

Word Count: 599

Date of entry into database: 2017-10-06 05:42:13

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