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Campus Now

Midsummer Issue (Jul.)

SPECIAL REPORT

WASEDA ECO FUTURE
THINK ECOLOGY AT WASEDA

While concern about environmental issues has been growing worldwide, Waseda University has long conducted environmental education and research since 1979.
As an education and research university, how can we contribute to solving environmental problems?
Here we will introduce some of the environmental education and research activities being undertaken at the university.

Part.1

Top Management Talking of Waseda Eco

Producing "Earth Citizens" to Carry the Future Environment While Dealing With Eco in Front of Our Eyes

Vice-President Tauchi, who puts together Waseda's environmental policies, talked to us about current activities and the outlook for the future.

Waseda Eco Always at the Forefront of the Generation

-Please tell us about Waseda University's environmental activities.

Looking back at Waseda's environmental activities, a major turning point came with the establishment of the Environmental Safety Center in 1979. This was the first environment-related organization at a Japanese university. With the Environmental Safety Center's aim of "preventing education and research activity pollution and reducing the impact on the environment in order to preserve the lifestyle area for students, staff and local residents," campus experimental waste is now strictly non-pollutant. In a world were governments are criticized for their lack of action toward industrial pollution, I think our consideration to the local area is extremely advanced.

I have spoken about the establishment of the organization, but our university has actually tackled environmental issues from before that. A notable example of this is the 1890 Ashio mineral poisoning incident. People from Waseda played vital roles in solving this problem. Also, in 1960 when the Fohn phenomenon caused large scale fires in the Sanriku region, the late School of Commerce professor Taiichi Oda took his students to Tanohata in Iwate Prefecture to help with forest restoration. Ever since, the student circle "Forest Lovers Society" has undertaken forest planting and nurturing activities every year. Our university has long been interested in working with the community and has been a leader in dealing with environmental issues. That tradition continues today.

The 1996 establishment of Financial Reform Promotion Department is one of the main projects undertaken since the introduction of the Environmental Safety Center. Cost-cutting led to lower energy consumption and less garbage, but it also left a great impact on environmental activities. Later, in 1998, the Eco Campus Promotion Department was formed and the Environment Management System (EMS) was introduced. And then in 2000 the Nishi-Waseda Campus (then Waseda Campus) received ISO14001 certification, further accelerating activities to tackle environmental issues. Even now, only four universities have earned ISO certification. It can be said that Waseda University stands at the forefront of each era dealing with environmental issues.

With environmental activities hitting full stride, various environmental issue related systems and affiliated organizations have appeared. Especially the Environment Safety Management Department, founded in 2003, joined with various systems and organizations and has posts undertaking environmental activities, taking on the role of unifying the management of environmental and safety related information and guaranteeing integrated policies.

Pursuing a Mission Fitting of a University, Creating an Optimum Management System

-Of the environmental activities taking place at the moment, where are priorities being placed?

With the ISO14001 certification we have managed to maintain certain effectiveness such as reducing the environmental impact and procuring EMS management know how. But in further improving performance and pursuing "something that only a university can do," since 2006 we have been using our originally devised WEMS?Waseda University Environmental Management System.?While WEMS has continued to be rated by outsiders and ensure the same objectivity as ISO14001, it was envisaged to be the best system to proceed to the next level by building a cooperative system between academic activities and students, putting into practice coexistence and co prosperity activities with the local community. With the introduction of WEMS it has become possible to have systematic, methodical environmental management over the whole university, and is currently being run enthusiastically. This is, of course, to solve on-campus environmental issues, but Waseda University must also consider the community and take the lead in environmental activities.

-What actually takes place at WEMS?

Firstly, in regards to energy saving and CO2 emission reductions, we are cutting down on lighting in elevators and reducing the energy consumption of vending machines. While not being forceful, it is important that everyone makes small efforts while maintaining and improving the quality of education and research as well as guaranteeing a safe university campus. Even I am being careful with my office lighting and computer power. There are over 60,000 students and staff at Waseda. With this number of people, if every individual does something within their limits, the result will be huge. You don't have to stretch your limits, it is important just to start with what you can do.

On the educational front, students can choose environment themed study as an open subject available in all faculties, as well as learn about the environment as a voluntary subject. Also, for science and engineering students who conduct experiments, safe e-learning has been developed in order to learn points of caution, giving students many opportunities to come in contact with environmental issues. The most important role a university can play in environmental activities is producing human resources. I want us to strengthen our future efforts in raising environmental awareness in students who will carry the burden of the next generation. The other day I saw a TV news report on an exchange student at Waseda who had returned to Mongolia and was involved in introducing solar energy to nomads. This made me realize the size impact on society Waseda has with students gathering from over 100 countries and regions.

We want to be a university that walks alongside the community

-Are there any future topics or new activities that need to be tackled?

We want to further strengthen ties with everyone in the community. By conducting environmentally friendly activities you can receive "Atom Currency," notes called "horsepower," which is legal tender in the shopping street from Takadanobaba to Waseda, and from this year, starting with Hokkaido, the system has spread to nine prefectures. The environmental activities we started with the locals has spread on a national scale. I think this is an excellent thing. It has been 128 years since the foundation of Waseda University and it is a university that has developed with the community. Because the campus is surrounded by an area with many elderly people, we would like to step further ahead with, of course environmental policy, and also large scale cooperation systems in the event of a large scale disaster.

Hideaki Tauchi
Vice-President of Waseda University

[Career Summary]
Graduated from School of Social Sciences, Waseda University. After being employed by Waseda University, served as Administrative Director of the System Science Institute, Administrative Director of the Educational Research Aid Section, Academic Affairs Division, Administrative Director of the Personnel Section, Personnel Division, Administrative Director of the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Administrative Director of the Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies (additional post), Administrative Director of the Student Affairs Division, and Director of the General Affairs Division, and assumed his post as the Vice-President since 2006.