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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

WAVOC Open Course: “Sustainable Lifestyle Theory”
An earnest challenge towards environmental issues and one's self

Ms. Sayumi Nagahama
March 2010 Graduate from the School of Political Science and Economics

There is a Japanese saying that “opening the lid leads to surprises.” The proverb fits this course perfectly.

For two weeks in August and September, students traveled to an ecovillage in Australia in order to participate in onsite training. The purpose of the training was to consider major environmental issues such as global warming by linking the issues to one's own lifestyle. We considered questions such as “What is sustainability?” and “What are we capable of doing to help the environment?” While the ecovillage trip is undoubtedly the main event of the course, it would be a complete mistake to view the course as simply an opportunity to visit Australia for 2 weeks. Before the onsite training, we used English textbooks to conduct preparatory study. After returning to Japan, we held a briefing session which included follow-up studies and we also created reports. The time and effort required to perform these activities greatly exceeded what I had expected. As I said, “opening the lid leads to surprises.”

However, compared to the amount of effort put into our challenges, the rewards obtained by students are also extremely great. Firstly, there are the wonderful encounters with Professor Momoe Waguri and other individuals who support the course. Professor Waguri always deals with students directly, which sometimes makes her seem like a strict instructor. However, a deep affection for students is hidden behind this strict fa巽ade. Professor Waguri is such an influential person that the encounter with her is enough to bring about a turning point in life. Furthermore, encounters with many different individuals at the onsite training provided us with an opportunity to reflect upon our personal way of thinking and living. Overall, this course offers a number of unique encounters.

Another major reward obtained from this course is personal growth as a human being. In my opinion, this course does not simply deal with environmental issues. Rather, it is a “self-growth program” based on the subjects of environmental issues and sustainability. Ultimately, the study conducted within this course provides an opportunity for self-discovery and self-growth. “How have I lived until now?” “What is my perspective when considering matters?” “What changes should I make in the future?”-All of these questions are addressed with the course. Students have a precious experience which cannot be obtained from the lectures of ordinary classrooms.

This is the ultimate course for earnestly confronting both environmental issues and self-issues.

*Ecovillage: A community created by individuals who seek to form a cooperative society and to pursue a lifestyle that places little load on the environment.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)