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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May. 2014)

Front Runner
―Young People Making a Difference―

This corner introduces students and young alumni who are accomplishing great things by utilizing the perspectives and abilities which they acquired while studying at Waseda University. In this first edition, we speak with Arata Ohashi, a 4th-year student at School of Culture, Media and Society, and with Mariko Arakawa, an employee at the Human Resources Development Division of Kao Corporation.

Becoming a person who is depended on by others

Arata Ohashi
4th-Year Student at School of Culture, Media and Society (majoring in Social Construction, History and Culture)

"Student dormitories are the best place to experience the opportunities offered by Waseda," says an enthusiastic Ohashi. "There is always something going on, from cohabitation between foreign students and Japanese students, monthly dormitory events, and interaction with friends from other undergraduate schools. I also learn a lot by living with fresh and energetic 1st and 2nd year students. I am also grateful for the opportunity to help others."

Ohashi was attracted by the large scale and diverse student body at Waseda. He decided to enter the university without hesitation. Ohashi was worried about living alone and promptly chose to enter a dormitory. Life at the dormitory was very fulfilling and he made many friends through events and interaction in shared spaces. Ohashi’s desire to give back after his great experiences led him to apply as a RA (Resident Assistant) during the second term of his sophomore year.

RAs serve as a student leader and support students living in the dormitory. Even while in their own rooms, RAs constantly think of other dormitory students and are ready to give advice at a moment's notice.

"Even when returning to the dormitory tired from seminar research or part-time work, I am refreshed and energized by the thanks I get when helping younger students," says Ohashi. "Serving as an RA has taught me how to care for people, how to give priority to others, and how to cooperate."

Actually, Ohashi had little experience as a leader when in high school. His easygoing personality causes him to worry about his role as an RA.

"There are times when an RA must reprimand younger students, even if it makes those students dislike me," he explains. "At first, I was uncomfortable with such confrontations and tried to avoid them. However, one day, I witnessed the difficulty of a RA who always accepted the role of disciplining others. I realized that all RAs struggle with reprimanding younger students, and I was finally able to fully accept my own responsibility. I am still working on this aspect of being an RA, including follow-up care after any incident."

The sports tournament is a popular annual event at dormitories

While interacting with many people as an RA, Ohashi realized that leadership comes in many different forms. Personally, instead of taking a role at the forefront, he is best at blending in and encouraging others around him. Furthermore, Ohashi has directly interacted with foreign students who actively speak Japanese while living in a dormitory outside of their native country. This experience has caused him to think globally. He enrolled in a seminar focusing on international development and citizen lifestyles in developing nations. He is now conducting literary surveys, practical surveys and Southeast Asia fieldwork from the perspectives of urban planning, employment and community creation. His future dream is to contribute to the development of his hometown Toyohashi.

"The dormitory and my research have allowed me to meet many different people and experience various cultures. Global awareness has made me start to consider local appeal. Someday, I hope to return to my hometown and participate in community-building which will highlight local appeal. For that purpose, I am now accumulating skills and experience in Tokyo."

Ohashi continues his quest to contribute to local development and to become a dependable global leader.

*RA (Resident Assistant)
A student leader who supports daily life so that students living far from home in dormitories can enjoy a safe and comfortable university life. RAs are carefully selected by the university. After completing training, they live in dormitories and support dormitory students.

Arata Ohashi
4th-Year Student at School of Culture, Media and Society (majoring in Social Construction, History and Culture)

Arata Ohashi was born in Aichi Prefecture. He began living at the Tanashi Student Dormitory when he entered university in April 2011. He has supported dormitory students as a Junior RA from September 2012 and as an RA from March 2013. From April 2014, He has lived the busy life of an RA at the International Student Dormitory WISH which newly opened in Nakano. His duties include handling the entry of new dormitory students and supporting daily life in the dormitory. His hobbies include photography, and he enjoys taking pictures of younger students having fun at dormitory events.