by Vanessa Distajo
Sunday, December 5th, 2021, was the first ever “Confabulous Summit” for Mānoa Stakeholder organizations. Originally planned as an in-person event, it pivoted to virtual due to pandemic concerns. Mālama Mānoa partnered with community members Peter Adler, Dylan Armstrong, Enoch Brownell, Ann Kobayashi, Mamie Lawrence Gallagher, Jacky Mee-Lee, and Dr. Dan Milz, UH Mānoa Department of Urban and Regional Planning Professor, to facilitate the virtual conference via Zoom. Participants included 43 representatives from nearly two dozen different nonprofit Mānoa Stakeholder organizations.
Twenty-one graduate students from Dr. Milz’s PACE/Plan 668 course, entitled Facilitation: Facilitating Community and Organizational Change, worked on a semester-long project with leaders from Mālama Mānoa (Helen Nakano, Vanessa Distajo, Veneeta Acson and Mark Tom). Dr. Milz facilitated coordination with Dr. Suwan Shen, whose DURP undergraduate students also completed a service learning project by analyzing the data from the Mānoa Community Needs Survey.
Dr. Milz and his brilliant UH DURP students devised and facilitated an excellent agenda with innovative ideas for the virtual summit to help stakeholders in Mānoa become better acquainted with one another. The two-hour virtual conference included round robin discussions, scavenger hunts, social network mapping, and stream boards of problems and proposed solutions. Mānoa Stakeholder organizations shared individual mission statements, needs and wants, and outlined the types of community service projects on which they would like to collaborate. It was basically like a fun version of “Organizational Speed Dating.”
Helen Nakano, Mālama Mānoa founder and Confabulous Chairperson, beamed with pride at the synergy the event sparked, remarking, “It’s better to work together than by ourselves.”