NACURH Winner
Month: August 2018

NACURH, INC.

Residence Life Professional Staff of the Month

School: University of Hawai`i at Manoa Region: PACURH
Nominee: David Akana Nominator: Kenny Lopez

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

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

In the middle of August, less than one week following the arrival of nearly 4,000 students from across the world to the residence halls of the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, a category 5 hurricane named Lane had the entire State of Hawai`i in its crosshairs. The Student Housing Services Residential Life staff had recently completed extensive training that included crisis management and response to emergencies such as natural disasters. Nonetheless, the prospect of a Hurricane with winds over 156 miles per hour, and of a size that could easily cover the entire state, was a very unnerving experience for all of our residents, their families, and staff alike. David Akana, our Associate Director for Residential Life, demonstrated tremendous leadership in the face of adversity.

David represented Student Housing Services at numerous, daily briefings with City and County of Honolulu emergency response personnel, state officials, and the university’s emergency management team. With the information gathered, David spearheaded preparations for the potentially devastating impact of the storm. He facilitated numerous meetings of the Residential Life leadership team throughout the week, providing us with the most current information that was much needed to help residents and staff be fully prepared for possible flooding, power outages, and widespread destruction. David was also responsible for crafting the many email messages that went out to all residents on campus, working with the University’s communications personnel to ensure that the information was appropriate and thorough. This continuous effort to provide information helped to alleviate anxiety and confusion among many students and their families. David was also instrumental in quickly shoring up our supplies of emergency equipment (flashlights, lanterns, radios, buckets, sandbags, first aid kits…etc.) needed to adequately respond to the powerful storm that could have a potentially devastating impact on all individuals on the campus.

In addition, David and our Interim Director worked with the dining services personnel to collaborate on the continuation of food service to the residents. Most importantly, David provided much-needed direction on safety planning including head counts of residents, as well as ensuring that staff members could keep safe while taking care of our residents. Then, while all of the island of O`ahu was in “shelter in place” mode, David remained in communication with the entire staff team through group text messages at all hours, continuing to provide updates and direction.

As we all breathed a sigh of relief when the hurricane ultimately did not make landfall on the island of O`ahu, we were all thankful for the leadership and support David provided during this worrisome time. Most of our residents would never know who David Akana is or how he played a critical role in this historic moment on our campus. However, as the staff who have worked behind the scenes with David during this tumultuous time, we all know that Student Housing Services is extremely fortunate to have a compassionate, competent captain steering this ship and taking us through this adventure and the various challenges we might encounter in the days and months ahead.

Word Count: 504


Date of entry into database: 2018-09-11 03:23:16

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