Sustainability through Student Empowerment

Our GA Representative Devon Ronald Dublin created a sustainability project during the WSEN 2014 in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and implemented it at his home university in Japan.

Goal:
To generate an interest in students to be adequately involved and be proactive in the achievement and management of a sustainable campus.

Stages:

  1. Consultation with the Office of International Affairs.
  2. Consultation with the Faculty of Education.
  3. Planning and organization by students.
  4. Advertisement.
  5. Student Symposium of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
  6. Annual commitment.

Support:
Finances were obtained from the Office of Sustainability Weeks. Tangible support came from the Office of International Affairs, Faculty of Education, Center for Sustainability Science, and the Committee for Sustainability Weeks.
Other collaborations were obtained from:
China - Beijing Normal University;
Japan - Hokkaido Noboribetsu Akebi Secondary School, Rakuno Gakuen University College of Agriculture, Sapporo Odori High School, and United Nations University;
Korea - Korea University, and Seoul National University;
Thailand - Chulalongkorn University.

Opportunities:
The symposium provided meaningful interaction between students of Hokkaido University and other institutions within Japan. In addition, by way of online streaming students in China, Korea and Thailand were involved. Networking was facilitated as a result as well.
Material developed from the symposium were documented and made available to all stakeholders of the university with a view of having some of the points raised to be actually translated into real action on campus.

Challenges:
Because of the short time afforded for to have my project implemented before my graduation in March 2015, it was necessary to utilize an already established and budgeted for activity and infuse my ideas into it. The 5th Hokkaido University Forum for ESD provided that opportunity. The intention however, is for the new year that student led initiatives be budgeted for separately and independently, it is therefore prudent for current and future students to build on this initiative.

Student led Symposium

Outputs:

  • Student led Symposium.
  • International networking group established.
  • Institutional commitment to further support and encourage student-led activities and initiatives.

Lessons learned:

  • Most of the students involved in this project, happened to be their first opportunity to organize and execute one and thus served as a great learning experience for them.
  • Japanese students operate better in student led international activities since they feel less intimidated to function using English and protocols when among their own peers.
 
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