Chuo Online

  • Top
  • Opinion
  • Research
  • Education
  • People
  • RSS

Top>HAKUMON Chuo [2014 summer Issue]>First anniversary of the Volunteer Center

Hakumon CHUOIndex

News&Chuo University News

First anniversary of the Volunteer Center

Commemorative symposium: “Students can contribute to the local community”

The Chuo University Volunteer Center, an institution which supports the volunteer activities of university students, celebrated the first anniversary of its founding. On June 14th, a commemorative symposium was held on the Tama Campus.

The Volunteer Center started operations on April 1st of last year. Since then, the center has continually supported reconstruction activities in Miyako City (Iwate Prefecture), Kesennuma City (Miyagi Prefecture), and other regions which were devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

As we approach 4 years since the massive earthquake struck Japan, public interest in the disaster is gradually waning. However, at Chuo University, even 1st-year students participate actively in volunteer activities. 22 students participated in a study tour of the disaster area held at the end of May.

Students conducted volunteer activities in a total of 8 municipalities: Miyako City and Otsuchi Town (Iwate Prefecture); Kesennuma City, MinamiSanriku Town, Onagawa Town, Ishinomaki City and Sendai City (Miyagi Prefecture); and Soma City (Fukushima Prefecture). During the past year, a total of 225 students have participated in 31 volunteer projects.

By witnessing the lagging recovery and unrelieved sadness of disaster areas, students realize the importance of getting a first-hand view of conditions and thinking independently. Such students join locals in the quest to repair neighborhoods and make repeated visits to the disaster area to advance their mission.

The Volunteer Center held trash pick-up activities entitled “Mission Clean.” A total of 59 students participated in 9 clean-ups, helping to restore beauty to the neighborhoods. Other events such as exhibitions and presentations were held 15 times, with a total of 187 students participating in the operation.

The symposium was held with the slogan “Students can contribute to the local community.” Held in cooperation with the Meisei University Volunteer Center, the theme of the symposium was increasing neighborhood disaster-preparedness and empowering student volunteers to aid in situations ranging from disasters to daily life. The symposium was made possible by support from Hachioji and Hino Council of Social Welfare.

The symposium started with an address given by President Tadahiko Fukuhara. Next, Professor Shigeki Yamanaka of the Institute for the Research of Disaster Area Reconstruction at Kwansei Gakuen University gave a keynote speech entitled “Considering past disasters to realize urban planning which promotes advance recovery.” Afterwards, Professor Hiedo Nakazawa (Chuo University Faculty of Law) coordinated a discussion regarding the power of student volunteers.

Drinking water and hardtack for emergency were prepared for all seats in the venue. The symposium focused on the attitude of considering disasters and taking necessary preparations.