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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (Apr. 2015)

Evolution of the University

This article explains new organizations, systems and other mechanisms of evolution at Waseda University.
The fourth installment focuses on the Alumni Affairs Section at the Office of the President. The section oversees maintenance and development of networks among the university, students and alumni.

Alumni Affairs Section, Office of the President

Strengthening networks between the university and alumni active throughout Japan

Takao Tomogane
Director, Global Education Center
Director, Alumni Affairs Section at the Office of the President, Waseda University
Direcotor, Waseda University Alumni Association

Support for 600 thousand alumni

The Alumni Affairs Section provides services for all students, faculty and staff who were affiliated with Waseda University. The section handles a wide range of duties including management of the alumni list, holding of Homecoming Day, and operation/management of Waseda Card. Our section also fulfills the role of Secretariat for the Waseda University Alumni Association (class reunion association) which is an external organization. In addition to editing and publication of the alumni newsletter Waseda Gakuho (published six times per year), our section participates in branch meetings and informal gatherings of district trustees which are held by alumni associations throughout Japan. At these meetings, we convey current conditions and projects at Waseda to alumni.

In all of our duties, our ultimate goal is to further strengthen networks between Waseda University and alumni. Forming partnerships with the approximately 600 thousand alumni active throughout Japan will lead to further evolution of our university. Our section shares the ideal raised by Waseda Vision 150: to strengthen lifelong partnerships with alumni throughout Japan.

Relationship with alumni throughout Japan is the underlying strength of Waseda

In the first place, Waseda University alumni activities are conducted from a volunteer spirit based on pure love for their alma mater. With more than 1,300 Tomonkai Alumni Association based on prefecture, city, district, graduation year and corporations, the Tomonkai Alumni Association fulfills a core role in deepening friendships among alumni. The association has also maintained and nurtured close relationships between alumni and our university. This relationship has continued unbroken since 1885, the following year after the first graduation of Waseda University. Our university has one of the broadest network and greatest number of alumni in Japan. This is a valuable asset. As a university, we hope to maintain and expand relationships with alumni who are active in each region of Japan based on their deep love for alma mater. In order to do so, we have implemented a number of projects. One such project is the Regional Coordinator System. All management staff (section chief and higher) is assigned as regional coordinators for prefectures in Japan. At least two coordinators are assigned to each prefecture. Once in a year, coordinators participate in branch meetings which are held at prefectural alumni association branches. In addition to conveying information on conditions and projects at Waseda University, coordinators strive to deepen friendships and solicit the opinions of alumni. Such projects to connect with regions throughout Japan are an underlying strength of Waseda.

Our section also forms partnerships with the Regional Students Association, a club consisting of students from outside the Tokyo metropolitan area. We actively work to incorporate unique regional characteristics into our activities.

An attractive university loved by alumni

Just as proposition of numerical target in Waseda Vision 150, our goal for the future is to increase the number of person who pays membership fees to the alumni association. It is a little-known fact that about half of alumni membership fees are donated to the university in order to support students and our university itself. Some examples of programs supported by membership fees are the “Go For It! Miyako-no-Seihoku Scholarship”, which allows high school graduates from outside the Tokyo metropolitan area to reserve post-enrollment scholarship funds prior to taking entrance examinations, and the Waseda International Student House WISH, which features cohabitation among Japanese students from rural areas and non-Japanese students from overseas. Other examples include the aforementioned Waseda Card. A portion of card usage fees is returned to the university and is used in scholarship funds to support younger students. There are currently about 60,000 card members, and approximately 80 million yen is returned to the university each year. All of the returned fees have been used to support future students in the form of scholarship funding.

In addition to producing graduates who will support society as global leaders, Waseda Vision 150 calls for strengthening lifelong partnerships with alumni and regions in Japan. With a focus on alumni, the Alumni Affairs Section seeks to obtain more new supporters of Waseda, as well as to construct a system for supporting students and alumni. While cooperating with various organizations within our university, we shall work to create an attractive university which receives enduring love from alumni as an alma mater.

Takao Tomogane
Director, Alumni Affairs Section at the Office of the President, Waseda University
Direcotor, Waseda University Alumni Association

Takao Tomogane entered employment at Waseda University in 1990. He has held positions at the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Administrative Office of the School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda Research Institute for Science and Engineering, and Administrative Office, Toyama Campus. Currently he holds the position of Director at the Alumni Affairs Section, Office of the President.

Waseda Card—support for younger students and their alma mater

Credit cards are issued to alumni, students, and parents through cooperation among the Alumni Affairs Section, Alumni Association, and credit card companies. The card was first issued in 1989 as part of support for younger students and Waseda University. 0.5% of the credit card purchase amount is returned to our university and is used as scholarships to support younger students. Currently, the card is used by about 60,000 alumni.

The card is also known as a “second student ID” and provides the user with a variety of benefits*. From autumn 2014, parents of regular alumni members have been able to apply for a “Parents Card” as family members of the Alumni Association.

Waseda Card is realized through partnerships with numerous credit card companies

《Waseda Card Benefits》
  • Free subscription to the Waseda Gakuho newsletter (issued six times per year).
  • Use of university facilities (browsing at university libraries, use of the Alumni Salon on the top floor of Okuma Memorial Tower.)
  • Discount on lecture fees (discount on membership fees for Extension Center)
  • Invitation to Waseda sporting events by drawing lots
  • Special offers at associate stores nationwide, etc.
Homecoming Day & Tomon Festival

On Homecoming Day, Waseda University invites alumni celebrating the 15th, 25th, 35th, 45th or 50th anniversary of their graduation to visit the campus for an enjoyable and nostalgic day at their alma mater. The Tomon Festival is enjoyed by alumni, family members, friends, and many other fans of Waseda. Both of these events are held by the Alumni Association. In particular, the Tomon Festival is the premier event of the Waseda University Alumni Association. The festival allows alumni to experience the evolution of their alma mater, as well as to enjoy reminiscing on the past.

Interaction with the community

In order to facilitate mutual communication between alumni throughout Japan and to directly solicit opinions regarding Waseda University and the Alumni Association, regional coordinators assigned to each prefecture participate in branch meetings and informal gatherings of trustees which are held at prefectural alumni association branches. These activities deepen interaction with each region.

Furthermore, the Waseda University Regional Exchange Forum is also held in conjunction with informal gatherings of regional trustees. In addition to lectures by Waseda faculty and presentations on student life by students from the same area, the forum also features consultation for high school students planning on taking entrance examinations, as well as information sessions and consultation on education and employment searches for parents of current students.

Official Waseda University Project: Hello! WASEDA

This project was started in 2009 through the volunteer activities of young staff members. The project seeks to convey the appeal of Waseda throughout Japan and to increase the strength of our university from a long-term perspective. Through partnerships with branches of the Waseda University Alumni Association, affiliated schools, and associated schools, the project works to invigorate regions of Japan and branches of the Alumni Association. Example activities include searching for young alumni residing in rural areas, disseminating the latest information on Waseda University, and supporting the activities of branches of the Alumni Association.