New state-of-the-art UH Manoa RISE center inspired by Utah’s Lossonde Studios

The state-of-the-art innovation and entrepreneurship center/student housing facility scheduled to open in August at the University of Hawaii on the Manoa campus is expected to be a catalyst for student-led entrepreneurial activity. The $70 million Residence Halls for Innovative Student Entrepreneurs (RAISE) is modeled after Lassonde Studios, a University of Utah student housing and innovation facility.

brown building
Exterior of Lassonde studios

“It’s going to change your campus,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. “It will change people’s lives. It will be a transformative experience for people who go through that program and take advantage of the resources there.”

The five-story Lassonde Studios features a 20,000-square-foot innovation space on the ground floor to connect, test ideas, build prototypes, launch companies, and learn by doing. The top four floors house 400 resident students. RAISE is a six-story live-learn-work facility, with a 10,000-square-foot innovation space on the bottom floor equipped with multi-purpose co-working, meeting, and maker spaces. The top five floors will house 374 resident students.

Asian Pacific Center for Entrepreneurship (PASSED) in it ooh Manoa’s Shidler College of Business will operate the entrepreneurship program in RAISE. PASSED the members have made multiple trips to Lassonde Studios. D’Ambrosio has been working closely with PASSED and has visited the Manoa campus.

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Interior of Lassonde studios

“Lassonde Studios, that’s the pioneer in live-learn-work communities and he (D’Ambrosio) shared his playbook and we ran with him,” he said. PASSED Executive Director Sandra Fujiyama. “We were able to leverage all that he’s done so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and take his lessons learned and implement them into RAISE so that we can provide this opportunity to our students.”

That includes the various programs that will be offered in RAISE and the layout of the facility itself, including the makerspaces, recording studio, incubation, and other collaborative spaces along with furnishings and equipment. PASSED he also wants to replicate Lassonde’s success in making students feel like the facility is “their space.”

“They’re taking the attitude that we take here, which is: ‘What do you want to do as a student as an entrepreneur? What do you want to do on campus? What things will make it easier and better for you to get involved and find other students to be entrepreneurs with?’” D’Ambrosio said.

Current and future students in any of the 10 ooh campuses are welcome to apply. For more information and to apply beginning Fall 2023, visit the RAISE website.

Hawaii student at lassonde

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RISE Representation (Courtesy: Hunt Development Group)

One of the goals of RAISE is to offer local students an experience in ooh that before RAISEit could only be found on the mainland.

Javis Ágreda, a 2021 Kaua’i A high school graduate, he chose the University of Utah because of Lassonde Studios and the resources and programs that support his majors in strategic communications and information systems.

Agreda lives on the Lassonde tech and gaming floor and said the whole community is very welcoming and supportive. Agreda said yes RAISE opened when he graduated from high school, he would have considered attending ooh Manoah.

“Having an institution and a program like that to support me, I think I would incredibly consider it even more knowing that an institution wants to support me in whatever endeavor I want to undertake,” Agreda said.

RAISE is being built under a public-private partnership between ooh, ooh Hunt Foundation and Development Group. RAISE it is entirely financed with private non-contributory money. For more see this ooh News history.

-By marc arakaki