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Campus Now

Early Spring Issue (Mar.)

SPECIAL REPORT

Waseda, building with fellow alumni

Waseda alumni perform in various areas and business fields.
It is our university's mission to develop professionals who will contribute to the society as well as to support the fulfilled lives of the alumni.
The relationships with the alumni and the university are continuous. In this special report, we discussed what is required of us to be the school that the alumni will be proud of.

Part.1

Dialogue by the Executive Director for Alumni Networking vs. Executive Chairman of Waseda Alumni Association

Producing self-respecting alumni, hand in hand

Our school's mid- to long-term plan, “Waseda Next 125,” includes “strengthening the relationships between university and alumni.” In Part.1, the Executive Director for Alumni Networking and Executive Chairman of Waseda Alumni Association exchanged their opinions on how the university and Alumni Association can contribute through collaboration for the development of each organization.

Waseda University, Executive Director
Seiji Honda
(Left)
After graduating from School of Lettres, Arts and Sciences II (Evening Division), Waseda University, Mr. Honda began working at the university. He worked as the Administrative Director (IT promotion), Academic Affairs Division, Administrative Director of Academic Affairs Division, Dean of Personnel Division, and Director of the Office of President. Currently, he is Waseda University's Trustee as well as the Executive Director. Vice Chairman of Alumni Association.

Waseda University Alumni Association
Executive Chairman
Akihide Fukuda
(Right)
After graduating from School of Commerce, Waseda University, Mr. Fukuda began working at the Tobishima Co. Inc. Later, he worked as Executive Director at Fukuda Press Kogyo Inc, and then became President and COO of F.tech Inc. Currently, he is the chairman and CEO of F.tech Inc., Special board member of the Saitama Keizai Doyukai, Executive Chairman of Alumni Association, as well as the Executive Director of Waseda University.

Making a university to which alumni want to be connected

—What do you think is the “Alumni Association” to the Waseda University?

Honda I believe it is the most important power source for this university. Since its establishment, this university has produced approximately 620,000 alumni. Approximately 550,000 of them are still alive. This is a great asset, when I think about it. It is unknown how much power and network these alumni possess. They perform in so many fields such as politics, economics, culture, and sports, domestically and internationally. Their performance make other people think “I want to go to Waseda University” and “I want to support Waseda University.” The current university exists based on that history.

Fukuda I agree. There is no other university that can produce so many people who are successful in so many fields. When someone graduates from this university, I hope he/she will be “proud” that “they have graduated from Waseda University.” The other day, the alumni of Yale University, with whom our university has relations, visited Japan, and I had an opportunity to talk with them. From fragments of their conversation, I sensed their pride for their university, and I felt that we should be like that. If the alumni are proud of their alma mater, they will be connected with us. In other words, they will participate in the activities of the Alumni Association and provide support for their alma mater. I believe it is the role of the Alumni Association to foster such feelings.

Honda From university side, we should make a university where students can feel pride and satisfaction while they are still studying here. It will depend on how much they feel “I am glad that I studied at Waseda” and “I made lifelong friends at Waseda,” while they are here. The university should make their starting line and in collaboration with the Alumni Association, make a “valuable university” where the alumni want to be engaged for the rest of their lives. In order to achieve that, the university and the Alumni Association should strengthen their network and work hand in hand.

Facilitate interaction between alumni/parents through “Community interaction forum”

—The University's mid- and long-term plan, “Waseda Next 125” includes “strengthening the relationships between university and alumni.” Please tell us the purpose and specific activities.

Honda Since Waseda's 100th anniversary, we had been implementing activities based on the concept, “to develop professionals who can operate in the world,” which is also one of the ideal of the founder. So many graduates from Waseda, including foreign students, are now flying high in the world, and we have been receiving certain recognition. In 2007, Waseda university had its 125th anniversary, and the “Promotion of globalization” was set as the most prioritized issue in the mid- and long-term plan, “Waseda Next 125.” In other words, the university is planning to “produce people who will contribute to the world more than ever by moving from the past Waseda of Japan to the future WASEDA of the world.”

In order to achieve the “Waseda Next 125,” three specific programs were set to 1) fulfill “Waseda Education,” 2) improve “Waseda Research,” and 3) establish “Waseda Social Contribution and Cultural Promotion.” And in order to transform the university management to implement these programs, the positions of the alumni and parents were clearly defined in the mid- and long-term plan of the university. This is a big change for this university. It is to express its willingness that “professors, students, alumni and parents will work together to produce professionals who can contribute to the world.”

In order to achieve it, the university and the Alumni Association are carrying out the “Community Interaction Forum.” (Refer below) In the past, we had been convening lectures by professors in conjunction with the Alumni Association Branch General Assembly meetings in various parts of Japan in order to give our university's intellectual properties back to the alumni, to open educational opportunities, and to realize transformation of all departments to offer continuing education. In addition to these activities, from 2009, in order for the university to take initiative to promote networking even more than before, the university decided to convene a Community Interaction Forum in collaboration with the branch offices of the Alumni Association in all prefectures in Japan except for 4. At the same venue with the Branch General Assembly meetings, we are now offering lectures, individual consultations with parents about academic matters/job hunting, meetings with parents, and consultations for prospective students. There are many students and their parents who are concerned about the future academic pathway. The interaction between them and the alumni in the neighborhood will expand the Waseda community and will lead to producing future alumni.

Fukuda The communication with the students' parents will provide opportunities to the universities to directly ask what they want (e.g. information about the university) from the university. At the same time, the communication will also provide opportunities to the Alumni Association to explore future alumni and let the parents know about the existence of the Association. This way, the information will be passed to the students and will lead to securing more alumni who will actively participate in the Association.

Honda For people in Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Yamanashi, it is relatively easy to have communication with the university, since they can participate in the “parents day” for the parents and the “open campus” for the student who are preparing for the examination. However, for the people in other areas, there had been hardly any opportunity like that. These types of communication forum are an important opportunity also for the university to hear the voices of the alumni and the parents. However, it is difficult to create such an occasion across the nation solely by the university. The “Community Interaction Forum” cannot materialize without collaboration from the local alumni. We would like to strengthen our networking and facilitate the forum together with the Alumni Association.

Fukuda We will do our best to support the university. At the “Community Interaction Forum,” I am inspired by the delightful sight of the alumni, parents, community people, and high school students. I have also once received appreciative words by the parents for the “Mezase Miyakono Seihoku scholarship,” which allows the students to secure scholarship even before the entrance examination. This made me realize that the donation from the Alumni Association is really contributing to the university students. I would like to continue cherishing these opportunities.

University's activities based on “Waseda Next 125”
“Community Interaction Forum”

In November 2009, a lecture was given by Dr. Masahiro Shinoda, University Professor, at the Community Interaction Forum in Nagoya.

Since 2009, the “Waseda University Community Interaction Forums” for the alumni, the current students' parents, and the general public have been convened in 43 prefectures other than Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa. We had been given lectures throughout Japan and developed them into these forums. During the Forums, recent educational topics were introduced, and a lecture, “touching the intellect of Waseda,” was given by our professor. There was also a consultation space for the parents of the current students to answer questions and consult about their children's study and future careers.

Furthermore, in order to promote interactions, we organized the “School consultation meetings” for high school students who want to study at Waseda, their parents, and teachers, and the “Parents consultation meetings.” Through these events, we hope to improve the services for the alumni, parents of the current students, and the prospective students, while facilitating the understanding of the local community people about Waseda university. From 2010, we are planning to promote interaction between the alumni in the neighborhood and the parents of the current students.

Moving towards the world together and towards the future together

—The Alumni Association will reach its 125th anniversary in 2010. What activities are planned?

Fukuda As one of the various activities to commemorate the 125th anniversary, we developed the catchphrase, “Moving towards the world together and towards the future together.” “Moving towards the world together” means “we will achieve globalization of the Alumni Association with the University which is also promoting globalization.” “Moving towards the future together” expresses our willingness “to become an Association that can contribute to the future society with the University.” The word, “together,” also means that “we will achieve it by all alumni.” Our University's alumni tend to have the spirit of “ippiki okami (=lone wolf)” with the awareness of “getting together and departing,” as is in our school song. It is a great tradition; however, as for the Association's activities, I would like them to get together, hand in hand, to move forward to the future.

The Alumni Association has approximately 1,300 groups called Tomonkai which are organized by alumni in neighborhoods, overseas, and business fields. From now, we will be focusing on our activities for anniversaries. Traditionally, the University has been inviting the alumni to the Home Coming Day to commemorate 25 years after their graduation, and the Association has been convening the Annual Tomonkai parties inviting alumni 10 years after their graduation. These events have been triggering reunions by the network of students who graduated in the same year. From 2010, the University will also invite alumni to the Home Coming Day for the 15th year since gradation. In line with this change, the Alumni Association will also convene the Annual Tomonkai party for the 5th year since graduation. We will facilitate the recipients of the Association's scholarship in taking initiative to form local networks among the alumni, while carrying out activities that can strengthen the vertical network among the students.

Honda The University also initiated a project called “Hello!WASEDA” last year, mainly by our young staff. One of the project activities is targeting young alumni. By facilitating them to participate in the lectures and study groups together with the current students, we want them to feel the advantages of being the alumni. This will hopefully result in their active participation in the Alumni Association in the future.

Furthermore, we began the “WASEDA Supporters' Club” last year. This program is to ask the alumni to donate a certain amount every year to financially support various activities. This program is also getting very strong support mainly from the alumni

Fukuda As the Association, we would like to assist the “WASEDA Supporters' Club.” We try to spend approximately half of the annual budget on the activities to support the alma mater and the students of Waseda, mainly through the scholarship programs. In addition to the “Mezase! Miyakono Seihoku Scholarship,” which I introduced earlier, we donate funds to the University in the form of “Alumni Association Overseas Study Scholarship” to enable students to study overseas, “Waseda University Library donation” to be used for the management of the library, and support for various special lectures. These are benefiting the entire students' body. In addition to financial support, we will expand our tangible and intangible activities such as support system using varied networks and contribute to the development of the University. Supporting the University is a very important mission of the Association.

The symbolic mark of the Alumni Association (lower column on page 10) is composed of images of the ripe rice ear, firm handshake in front of the golden Okuma Auditorium, and “W” in the Waseda color. The design expresses the strong bond of people in the Alumni Association. Furthermore, we are planning to build a monument for our 125th anniversary. I wish it will become the symbol of the alumni and current students that will make them proud of being alumni and future alumni.

About Waseda University Alumni Association

Logo to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Alumni Association

Waseda University Alumni Association was established in 1885, one year after the first group of students gradated, to promote interactions among the members, to maintain and develop close relationships between the members and the University and to support the University's businesses. Since its establishment, the Association has expanded its organizations to various parts of Japan, and currently approximately 550,000 members belong to the Association. At the time of graduation, everyone becomes the member of the Association, and there is no concept of withdrawal from the membership (the undergraduate students are considered as associate members.). In line with the regulation, the Association is trying hard to expand its services, particularly to those who had paid the membership fee. The Alumni Association is managed by the participation of the alumni, and the alumni can participate in the management of the University through the Association.

In 2010, for its 125th anniversary, the Alumni Association is planning to carry out various commemoration events. The details will be announced sequentially on the special web-site (http://www.waseda.jp/alumni/125/).

The alumni network is the “asset” of Waseda

—How shall the University and Alumni Association work together to develop the University?

Honda I would like us to collaborate to enhance the utilization of the Association's network by the alumni. On the 100th anniversary of the Alumni Association, the number of Tomonkai was approximately 550. As a result of our efforts, on our 125th anniversary, the number of Tomonkai has increased to approximately 1,300. This is an incredible growth. The current students might think that the Alumni Association is just an “occasion where alumni talk about the past.” However, after graduation, they will realize the Association's significance. Once they move to new locations for their new jobs, they will find it difficult to develop a network there. However, whereever they go, including overseas, they will find a Tomonkai nearby. I would like them to take advantage it and exchange a wide-range of information with various generations of the alumni.

Fukuda These days, people can easily contact each other through e-mails. I believe we need to encourage students to use the alumni network. When they visit alumni while job hunting, or when they study overseas, they will appreciate the Association's network and the advantage of being the student of Waseda. The alumni network is a very valuable “asset' which is invisible on the University's balance sheet. We should make this asset more visible.

Honda It is also necessary to provide more information about the University to the alumni and current students. For example, we can disseminate information through the newsletter, “Seihoku no kaze,” which is published to all the students every autumn, and a communication magazine, “Waseda gakuho,” published by the Alumni Association. Conveying the value of the alumni network will lead to the establishment of the networks of the next generation. In other words, the alumni themselves, as if they were the ambassadors, should convey the goodness of this University to the fellow alumni. We need to make an effort to make this come true.

The primary businesses of a university are education and research. However, our University, as a private university, cannot achieve true development just by being engaged with these businesses. There are many educational and social contribution activities that can be carried out by Waseda University in collaboration with the Alumni Association. I would like to change the University's awareness. I feel that the overseas universities recognize the alumni as their equal partners and have a system to “continuously produce professionals for the future of the country.” Just like them, we should grow the awareness within Waseda that “the students, alumni, and parents should work together to develop Waseda.”

Fukuda I am not only the Executive Chairman of Alumni Association but also the Executive Director of Waseda University. Since I took up the position, I saw how hard the board members are working to grow the University and I was very impressed. I think the Alumni Association should share the same spirit. Mr. Okuma not only founded this University but also worked hard on the activities of the Alumni Association. The relationships between the University and the Association are stronger relationships than other schools.

Many alumni of Waseda University have a strong school spirit, and I am one of them. I am truly proud of being a graduate of Waseda. Let's make the relationships between the University and the Alumni Association tighter to produce alumni who will be proud of their alma mater and increase our supporters.

Three pillars of the Alumni Association

The Alumni Association is striving to deepen the interaction among the alumni, provide strong support to Waseda University and the current students, and enrich services to support lives of the members. Our project is composed of three pillars.

Waseda Gakuho.” This magazine provides an opportunity to the reader to acknowledge the rich human resources that Waseda University has produced.

  • (1) “Support the lives of the alumni”
    As an example, we publish a communication magazine, “Waseda Gakuho,” which will give power to the alumni. This is issued bi-monthly and is full of stories that will inspire the spirit of Waseda.
  • (2) “Provide strong support to Waseda University and current students”
    While focusing on the locality, we provide scholarships to the students who need financial support. We also support the University through various special lectures, career support, and donation such as the “Waseda University Library Donation.”
  • (3) “Establish networks and deepen interaction”
    The main project is to provide support for the reunion activities. We provide support such as sending university information and assisting promotional activities of the registered Tomonkai. Furthermore, every year on a Sunday near the anniversary of the foundation of the University (October 21), we organize the “Tomon Festival” together with Home Coming Day.