POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 3, 2011
Donors who contributed to Team Hawaii to compete in the U.S. Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C., can request that their gifts be used for other University of Hawaii programs.
The university decided to withdraw from the decathlon because of financial difficulties and other challenges, according to a news release issued Wednesday.
Margot Schrire, spokeswoman for the University of Hawaii Foundation, said, "We are working with our donors on a one-and-one basis to determine how they want to re-designate their gifts."
Some donors requested that their gifts be used to support the 2013 Solar Decathlon, similar programs, or other UH programs, she said. In accordance with nonprofit best practices, however, a charity may return gifts made within the same tax year if it cannot satisfy the donor's gift requirements.
Team Hawaii, made up of students from various disciplines, was working on Hale Pilihonua, a cylindrical home covered with solar thermal collectors and photovoltaic panels, for the competition.
The team was one of 20 across the U.S. selected to design, build and showcase a net-zero home for the decathlon in September. Students have been soliciting funds and donations for Hale Pilihonua over the past few months.
Team Hawaii's executive committee, however, decided the financial challenges were too large to risk further investment without the guaranteed delivery of the house at this year's competition, Peter Crouch, dean of the UH College of Engineering, said in the release.