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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May)

SPECIAL REPORT

Interview

Healthy lifestyle starting from Waseda University

As a university which is responsible for the health of our students, Waseda University is working to promote student health from the integrated perspective of exercise, diet, medicine and emotional care.

This article introduces activities for realizing a Waseda Healthy Campus which will provide information and motivate students to maintain and manage their own health from their time as university students and throughout their life after graduating.

For the fulfilling life of Waseda students-

A university which takes responsibility for student health

We discussed the ideal form of the Healthy Campus project, as well as issues related to the health of university students.

Healthy Campus is one form of support for students

Professor Kazuyuki Sasakura, Dean of Student Affairs Division
(Faculty of Political Science and Economics)

―Would you please discuss the objective of Healthy Campus?

The Healthy Campus project started in as part of Waseda Next 125, the mid-and-long term plan which was created to define the vision of Waseda University. This plan was formulated in 2007, which was the 125th anniversary of our university's founding. Waseda University has a tradition of encouraging self-study and there aren't many past instances of our university taking such an active stance towards student health. However, due to factors such as an increased number of students who are passive about health, we decided to become a university which takes responsibility for student health from the perspective of supporting students.

There might be an inherent contradiction in conducting health education for young and healthy students. However, in order to live a long, healthy life and to become a productive member of society, it is necessary for students to increase their awareness and obtain information regarding management of their own health. Therefore, we are providing necessary information not only to students but also to alumni.

There is a tendency to focus strictly on physical condition when discussing health. However, true health consists of stable emotions in addition to a strong body. We have enhanced the Health Support Center's system for responding to emotional issues and are focusing on existing as a comprehensive healthy campus for students.

Providing information and create a healthy environment

―Could you discuss some specific actions being taken to create a Healthy Campus?

The various institutions within our university are taking a comprehensive approach which includes exercise, diet, medicine and emotional care. Undergraduate schools provide overall coordination and promotion of activities.

We are giving top priority to providing information for increasing awareness regarding the importance of health. The Open Education Center has established courses (Health Creation Theory; Overview of Mental Health Management) which enable students to study correct health-related knowledge from experts. Also, beginning from this academic year, we have established a Health and Medicine course which is a common academic minor throughout the entire university. Additionally, we provide current students and alumni with information on health festivals, etc. by using Waseda-net Portal, a unique internet site of Waseda University which can be used by all students, staff, faculty and alumni. Furthermore, campaigns are conducted throughout the year by the Waseda University Cooperative Association and the Student Health Promotion Mutual Aid Association, which is a student organization within the Waseda University Student Health Promotion Mutual Aid Association. For example, the Health Festivals held in spring and autumn are extremely festive events which anyone can participate in freely. These festivals are filled with events for experiencing the importance of health. Students groups, faculty members, staff and corporations cooperate to hold lectures and consultations on improving dietary habits, take body measurements, and offer light exercise classes taught by professional instructors.

Our campus contains a Refresh Studio and training centers which can be used in between classes. This environment makes it possible to exercise on a daily basis. Moreover, a Sports Festival and President's Cup Sports Tournament is held every autumn with participation from about 3,000 people. The Tokyo Hike is a walking event held over a 35-kilometer course which starts from Keio University in Mita and proceeds through Hosei University in Ichigaya, Meji University in Surugadai and Toyo University in Hakusan before finishing at Waseda University's Okuma Auditorium. The hike attracts about 400 to 500 participants, of which about 10% are students from other universities or members of the general public. In addition to providing our students with an opportunity to exercise, these events exceed the boundaries of a single university. As a result, we expect such events to become even more popular in the future.

Members of society who are physically and emotionally healthy

―What activities are currently being prioritized?

We insist on proper manners regarding alcohol and cigarette smoking. We have created and distributed a leaflet to prevent alcohol harassment such as forcing others to drink. We also conduct thorough instruction during guidance for new students. In terms of smoking, faculty and staff members from undergraduate schools and the Student Affairs Division form teams and patrol the campus to insure that smoking is performed within designated smoking areas.

―What activities would you like to strengthen in the future?

Four years have passed since we started the project. Students who were in their 1st year of university at the start of the project have now graduated. In my personal opinion, the turning point which determines whether or not people will lead a healthy physical and emotional life comes several years after graduation. This is the ultimate goal on which our project will be judged. In the future, I would like to engage more actively in the health of alumni and to produce more working professionals who are physically and emotionally healthy.

Professor Kazuyuki Sasakura, Dean of Student Affairs Division
(Faculty of Political Science and Economics)

Born in 1959. Completed the Doctoral Program in the Waseda University Graduate School of Economics. After working at Nippon Steel (currently JFE Steel Corporation), became Assistant Professor at the Fukuoka University School of Economics and then Professor at the Waseda University Faculty of Political Science and Economics in 1999. Holds a PhD in economics.