Press Conference Held on New Student Dormitories: Momi House and Maple House
Update: March 10, 2017
Following the completion of the new student dormitories scheduled to open in April 2017 - the Momi House and the Maple House, a press conference was held on their openings on Friday, March 3.
ICU President Junko Hibiya explained the significance of dorms at the university while Dean of Students Tatsuo Nunoshiba talked about the features of the Momi House and the Maple House. A workshop was also held on a disaster prevention and reduction project to be put in motion under the leadership of dorm residents. The workshop provided an example of the use of the seminar room on the common first floor, a feature of the two dorms, which is open not only for dorm residents but also for commuting students and the faculty. The workshop instructor was Ms. Yu Sasaki, a 2002 ICU graduate who went into the disaster area after the Great East Japan Earthquake as a staff member of an international NGO and participated in an emergency reconstruction project. Together with dorm residents, she discussed what they would all be able to do for the surrounding community when a disaster stroke.
In discussing the significance of the student dorms, President Hibiya stressed the need for an environment on campus in which people can meet in daily life regardless of nationalities or positions in order to achieve the purpose of a liberal arts education that is the hallmark of the university, "the overall development of humanity and mature individuality." She said, "Student dormitories are educational facilities that are essential to this university."
Dean Nunoshiba then explained three features of the new dorms - "a culture of dialogue," "dorm management by students" and "open dorms." He noted that the residents of the existing dorms and ICU graduates with dorm life experiences took part in the creation of the Momi House and the Maple House and that the construction of the two new dorms reflected the results of their various dialogues. He also explained, as one example of student management of the dorms, that rules and regulations for visitors had been decided, not arbitrarily by university authorities but through consultations between the residents and university authorities, on the basis of full discussions among the dorm students. At the end, the dean noted that the seminar room and the living and dining area on the common first floor of the two dorms are accessible not only to residents but also to commuting students and faculty members. He expressed his hope that a variety of new projects will be initiated around the dorms, joined at times by ICU alumni.
In the disaster prevention and reduction workshop, Ms. Sasaki talked mainly about issues surrounding the management of evacuation shelters based on her experience in the emergency reconstruction project after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Later, 17 students who are scheduled to live in the Momi House and the Maple House split into three groups and discussed what they should do, what they can do, and what they want to do in order to help one another if a disaster strikes, and announced the results of their discussions. In their presentations, participants expressed their opinions, such as "It is important to raise awareness on disaster prevention and reduction in daily life" and "It is important to know the surrounding community (Osawa in Mitaka City) well and it would otherwise be difficult to find what we should or could do."
In the future, in the common floor area of the Momi House and the Maple House, it is expected that efforts on disaster prevention and reduction will be continued, and that the common space will be used as the venues for seminars, such as those to be organized with the cooperation of ICU alumni, as well as those on healthy living in the living and dining areas.