Plans for a ‘college bubble’ at a Waikiki hotel are scrapped over community concerns

Updated: Aug. 11, 2020 at 7:16 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The so-called “college bubble” in Waikiki is being scrapped — for now.

Although U Experience got national attention, the idea of inviting college students to Hawaii during a pandemic raised many concerns locally.

Co-Founder and CEO of U Experience, Lane Russell said applicants were overwhelmingly in favor of Hawaii where they were promised a virtual education experience in paradise.

Park Shore Hotel in Waikiki was one of the hotels that would operate as a college "bubble" after U Experience bought out the entire hotel.

Russell said they tried to measure local opinion, but feel they only got feedback from the tourism community.

“We’re trying to disrupt education and we’re trying to help students; we’re not trying to disrupt local culture and we’re not trying to hurt residents,” said Lane. “We’re trying to make sure that everyone involved is happy and we can bring tourism and you know help to a lot of these struggling hotels, but we don’t want to do that if the net result is going to be negative.”

Russell said they saw the opportunity as a safer alternative to bring people who can follow rules and different protocols, but at the same time contribute funds to the local economy.

While they’ve scrapped plans for now, Lane said they will consider setting up in Hawaii later down the road.

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