'Stew Day' tradition continues at UH Law School just before final exams

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Apr 28, 2016

Students at UH Law School are served a meal by faculty and staff for ‘Stew Day’ just before finals.
Students at UH Law School are served a meal by faculty and staff for ‘Stew Day’ just before finals.

For 13 years, the faculty and staff at the William S. Richardson School of Law have pulled out all the stops just before final exams and served up sumptuous meals to students in both the day and evening classes.

“Stew Day” and now “Noodle Night," which began five years ago for the new evening program, took place on Tuesday, April 26, in the Law School courtyard as scores of students briefly put aside their studying to enjoy camaraderie over an elaborate hot meal.

“Stew Day is a reaffirmation of what Richardson represents,” says third-year student Stephanie Batzer '16. “We are not your typical law school.  Instead of cutthroat competition, the school is based on aloha.”

Begun by Professor Calvin G.C. Pang '85 to model service as well as to honor students, the tradition includes “hero stories," vignettes written by students about good deeds done by their fellow students.

That tradition of kindness is also deeply embedded in the Law School's value of camaraderie among its students, faculty and staff.

Adds Batzer, “Students are encouraged to share our stories of good deeds throughout the year.  We nominate ‘heroes’ and tell the stories of kindness. All in all, I think that the day fosters a continued sense of 'ohana.”

For the meals – with the first being served at lunchtime for full-time day JD students, and the second at dinnertime for evening part-time program students – faculty members don white chef hats and frilly aprons, all a part of the tradition.

Pang launched the idea partly by remembering his own days at the Richardson Law School, when finding the funds for a decent meal was sometimes a challenge for many students.  But Pang also remembered the sustenance provided by excellent pupu spreads at a few legendary nearby college drinking spots. Yet, at the heart of Pang's idea, was a way for faculty members to express their high regard for their students.

“We like, enjoy and appreciate our students, and Stew Day is a small way to show this,” said Pang.

While Stew Day was first begun by Law School faculty, soon administrators and staff were also chipping in to help pay for large trays of stew, noodles and other local goodies, and also bringing luscious homemade desserts.

Pang said the idea of "hero stories" first came out of casual conversations among faculty members who relayed stories they had heard from students about acts of kindness by other students.

“It struck us how many supportive things students do for each other all the time,” said Pang. “It furthered our appreciation for our students. A few of us started collecting those stories in a more formal way. Now these stories fill several repurposed photo albums."

“From these stories, we choose the recipient of the Dean's Red Socks Award,” added Pang. “Like his faculty, Dean Avi Soifer, an inveterate Boston Red Sox fan, is also an admiring fan of students who act selflessly to improve the lives of those around them.”  

For more information, visit: https://www.law.hawaii.edu/