23 November 2008
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
1 July 2005. Never having seen a volcano or a volcanic island, I was stunned at the sight of the vegetated Hawai'ian mountains jutting out of the horizon. They are the green version of the crags in the western U.S., but because of their igneous properties, they form much more vertically and fill most of your vision. Volcanic soil is very fertile and there is an abundance of plant life that sprouts up. Perhaps because of the natural beauty of these islands, the University of Hawai'i's flagship campus in the Manoa valley is riddled with awful concrete buildings. Just as I was taken aback at the amazing feats of nature, I was mostly confused at how much of the school aims to be a sore thumb. Maybe the original architects figured there was no way to compete with the environment and just gave up. Or maybe concretin' was the cool thing for architects to do back then.
But they got it right with the athletic logo and all its associated identities. A deep green - Kelly? Hunter? - accented with silver and black. The men are the Rainbow Warriors and the women are the Rainbow Wahine, pronounced wah-hee-nay. The NCAA's battle against Native American mascots and imagery proves it is nothing more than arbitrary halfassery in glossing over Hawai'i. I am glad they did.