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Campus Now

Midsummer Issue (Jul.)

SPECIAL REPORT

International Student Dormitory: Cultivating global leaders

Recently, the educational function of student dormitories is being reevaluated. In conjunction with the completion of the Tanashi Student Dormitory in 2008, Waseda University has renewed the management of student dormitories. As part of student support services provided by our university, we have focused on programs which promote student growth and which encourage interaction between Japanese and foreign students. Moreover, a student dormitory which will house approximately 900 Japanese and foreign students is currently being constructed in Nakano Ward. This article explores the future of student dormitories.

Mission

Residence Center:
Supporting students through dormitory operation

Current condition of the planned construction site for the Waseda University Nakano International Community Plaza (photograph in June 2012))

The Waseda University Residence Center was established in 2010 for the purpose of operating student dormitories.
We spoke with Professor Yasunori Katsurayama, Director of the center, reflecting on the center's past activities, considering the social roles required of student dormitories, and discussing future aspirations.

Homepage of the Waseda University Residence Center
http://www.waseda.jp/rlc/

Interview
Through fully-equipped shared facilities and the SI Program, cultivating global professionals

Professor Yasunori Katsurayama
(Graduate School of Social Science)
Director, Waseda University Residence Center
Holds a PhD in engineering from Waseda University. Graduated from the Waseda University School of Science and Engineering in 1989. Became a Research Assistant in 1993 and a Full-Time Instructor/Assistant Professor at the School of Social Science in 1996. Assumed his current position in 2003. Areas of expertise include corporate financial theory and financial engineering.

Student dormitories have the image of strict hierarchical relationships, old facilities and lack of privacy. The student dormitories at Waseda University have facilities which completely dispel this image. Furthermore, our dormitories possess multiple mechanisms for forming a community of friends living together while respecting the privacy of each student, as well as for constructing a global network which will be a life-long asset.

The popularity of student dormitories is increasing among both male and female students. This trend reflects the increasing number of female students and social conditions in recent years. Our university has prepared several types of student dormitories including affiliated dormitories which supply meals operated by a special private vendor and directly-operated dormitories which offer unique services of our university.

The Residence Center was established in January 2010 as an institution for planning/proposing operational policies for Waseda student dormitories and for conducting student services. Our center fulfills an important role in student support. For example, we recruit and educate RAs who are a major part of student dormitory operation, and we maintain a close partnership with housemasters (dormitory leaders, dormitory mothers). Furthermore, we actively participate in events with the International Community Center (ICC), an institution for international exchange at our university. Additionally, in order to ensure the health and safety of student dormitories, our center cooperates with the Health Center in some cases.

Operation of student dormitories in Honjo and Kita-Kyushu is also part of our center's responsibility.

During a 4-year period beginning from the 2007 academic year, the Tanashi Student Dormitory was selected for the MEXT's "Student Support Program for New Social Needs." A variety of programs were established at the dormitory. Leading a communal lifestyle is not easy for students who were raised in completely different living environments and cultural backgrounds. Housemasters and RAs play a leading role in facilitating communal living. They encourage each student to recognize their status as a member of the community which is a student dormitory. Furthermore, our center conducts an SI Program which allows students to develop their own potential. The program cultivates communication skills, motivation control and other fundamental skills required in society. Through the program, we actively create opportunities for students to engage in discussions with their friends and fully utilize the features of student dormitories at Waseda University, a school full of talented students. We also offer programs which develop English discussion skills through instruction by a native speaker. The Waseda University Alumni Association provides our center with economic assistance for conducting such activities.

The student dormitory WISH will be opened as part of the Waseda University Nakano International Community Plaza. WISH is the largest student dormitory in Japan. All rooms are single rooms to ensure privacy. WISH is also scheduled to contain a full lineup of shared facilities the likes of which are unparalleled in Japan. Such facilities include living rooms, kitchens, shower booths, lounges, a fitness room, a music room, classrooms and a large student bath. Furthermore, at WISH, we plan to create a community through a new framework which is an enhancement of programs conducted at the Tanashi Student Dormitory.

I sincerely look forward to the day when former students from WISH utilize their networks to perform on a global scale. I also eagerly await when such former students will share their experiences with future Waseda students.

*Directly operated dormitories: Refers to the Tanashi Student Dormitory, Higashi-Fushimi Dormitory and Ichijima Memorial Sendagi Student Dormitory. After application for entering the dormitory, paperwork is screened and a decision is made for students entering the dormitories (until maximum capacity). Affiliated dormitories: Refers to Wakeijuku Student Dormitory, Waseda International Dormitory (WID), Waseda University Recommended Dormitory and Epoir Mejiro Student Dormitory.

Residence Center staff

"Waseda University: Student Dormitory Guide 2012" (Japanese version/English version) Published by the Residence Center

Guidance for apartment/condominium searches by affiliated companies

English pamphlets are created for foreign students.

Guidance for the International Student Dormitory WID

Staff voice
Student dormitories as an axis for deepening vertical and horizontal connections

Waseda University Residence Center
Ms. Saori Fukuyama

Currently, the Residence Center is focusing on how to establish closer connections between dormitory students. Previously, the majority of dormitory events were held separately by each dormitory. Therefore, from the 2011 academic year, we have promoted interaction across dormitories, regardless of whether the dormitories are directly-operated or affiliated dormitories. RAs have been of great support in such efforts. In December 2011, we held a sports tournament with participation from about 80 students from Tanashi Student Dormitory, Higashi-Fushimi Dormitory and WID. In May 2012, students from different dormitories gathered to watch a Tokyo Big 6 Baseball League game between Waseda and Keio. In the future, I hope that students living in Waseda University dormitories will make friends across different dormitories and will grow by encountering a variety of different unique individuals.

Furthermore, in order to deepen these connections even after dormitory students have graduated, we plan to establish a "Student Dormitory Tomon Association" (provisional name) for graduates who live in directly-operated or affiliated dormitories. We hope that this association will become an alumni association which allows students to maintain connect with dormitory friends even after graduating, providing an opportunity to learn about the current situation of students who graduated in the same year and to learn about the activities of other students after graduation. At the same time, we hope that the association will provide support for younger students.

It is not easy for students born and raised in different environments to live together. However, there are certain benefits which can only be obtained through such a struggle. Currently, preparation is steadily proceeding for the student dormitory WISH in the Waseda University Nakano International Community Plaza that will open in 2014. Through cooperation with house masters, RAs and affiliated companies, the Residence Center will continue to provide various types of support to students who have chosen to live in dormitories.