Chaminade’s School of Business and Communication held a special awards ceremony and dinner recently to honor students and student groups who are embracing a “business for good” philosophy.
The first annual Spring Festival of Honors on April 13 included a formal celebration dinner and recognition for students who are demonstrating exemplary scholarship and service to the community.
“I am incredibly proud of what all our undergraduate and graduate students have been able to accomplish over the past year,” said Dr. Bill Rhey, dean of the School of Business and Communication. “They are not only excelling in the classroom, but they are also going above and beyond in their efforts to showcase how business—and business leaders—can be a powerful force for good in Hawaii.”
The honors ceremony included video clips of students explaining the stellar work they were doing.
Among those honored was Cara Gutierrez, who is majoring in Communication with a minor in Environmental Studies and has become a passionate student leader for sustainability. In addition to creating a Campus Sustainability Council Club, Gutierrez is vice president of Chaminade’s Surfrider Club and serves as a resource recovery specialist at nonprofit Windward Zero Waste School Hui.
Oliver Carson, who is studying business and a senior in the Hogan Entrepreneurial Program, was also recognized. Carson owns Better Place Brands, which offers a line of private-label coffee brands that help fund animal rescue organizations in Hawaii and around the country. In 2021, his companies were able to donate $10,000 in cash and in-kind merchandise to the nonprofit organizations he’s teamed up with.
And several student groups were also honored for their work, including the winners of the school’s business plan competition in the Fall. Amber Kuitunen, Kelsie Inoue, Michael Cruz, Christopher Diego and Joshua Byrd launched Washed Ashore 808 with $250 in start-up money. And their product—jewelry made from microplastics reclaimed from Hawaii beaches—was an instant hit on campus.
The company was so popular that they decided to keep it going.
Inoue said the team’s business plan was born out of a drive to help tackle a real problem: Plastics washing up on the beach. “We thought about how these microplastics could be repurposed in a way that would bring awareness to keeping our beaches clean and the impact we make,” she said.
For their customers, she said, the necklaces are a “reminder of the difference we can make.”
Rhey added that all the student teams in the business plan competition deserve a hearty congratulations for their strong showing. Other groups launched impressive “micro-businesses” that sold sweet snacks, beach clean-up bags and t-shirts with a positive message.
“When students work together to maximize their positive impact, their peers, our university and the community benefits,” Rhey said. “I want to thank all our students for the work they put in this year, and I cannot wait to see what is ahead for them—and for our School—in the upcoming academic year.”
Spring Festival of Honors Awardees
- Ayu Suzuki: Outstanding International Student
- Cara Gutierrez: Commitment to sustainability by composting, recycling, and starting a sustainability club on campus
- Cara Gutierrez: Work in the Sugilanon video series
- Jacqueline Martinez: Work in the Sugilanon video series
- Albert Respicio: Work in the Sugilanon video series
- Caitlyn-Marie Elisaga: Commitment to Hawaiian values and participation in Merrie Monarch
- Oliver Carson: Entrepreneurial spirit and innovation in creating “Better Place Brands” private coffee label
- Amber Kuitunen: Service-learning as a School of Business and Communication Ambassador
- Kelsie Inoue: Work as a School of Business and Communication Ambassador
- Mackenzie Meiners: Volunteer work on the upcoming Sugilanon video series
- Angela Faye Navor, Jade Unabia, and Tommianne Brockert: Developing a business plan and executing it as part of the fall Business Competition
- Ashley Yoshikawa, Peyton Oshiro, Michael Rose and Tyrone Rixey: IACBE Student Competition
- Washed Ashore 808 (Amber Kuitunen, Kelsie Inoue, Michael Cruz, Christopher Diego and Joshua Byrd): Developing a business plan and executing it as part of the fall Business Competition
- Alyana Nicole D. Alfaro and Kelsie Inoue: Working as a team to develop a 53-page strategic case analysis of Netflix in preparation for the Peregrine exam
- Hubert Anton, Eri Leong and Emma Sherrell: Developing and pitching a Marketing Plan for the Hawaii Red Cross
- Aubree Campbell, Dominique Marshall, and Mariana Wheeler: Developing and pitching a Marketing Plan for the Hawaii Red Cross
- Brooklyn Pea, Kelsey Joy Sablan, and Kylie Pagud: Developing and pitching a Marketing Plan for the Hawaii Red Cross
- Shandy Cullen and Laakea Gonzalves: Developing and pitching a Marketing Plan for the Hawaii Red Cross