Update: June 7, 2017
Between May 8 and May 19, various events were held for the ICU E-Weeks (ICU Environment Awareness Weeks) to think about our environment. E-Weeks is an occasion to consider what we can do to maintain a sustainable environment while having fun at the same time, an event that has been held every year since 2013. This year, we considered what we can do in our everyday life under the theme "Everyday Life + One."
ICU's Wadaiko Club performed on the first day, kicking off the event. Participants listened to the sound and rhythm produced together by Wadaiko, Japanese drums made of natural materials, and by the power of humans, feeling the harmony between nature and humans for some time.
On the first day and on Wednesday, May 17, the annual nature observation program, "Let's Turn Our Eyes to the Environment around Us" took place, providing participants with opportunities to observe trees, plants and animals in the abundant nature on campus. About 15 people, including students and members of the local community, took part in the tours guided by ICU Instructor Takehiko Kamito (Majors: Biology, Environmental Studies) on both days.
On Wednesday, May 17, "TFT (Table for Two) Kitchen―Healthy cooking using below-standard vegetables, local production for local consumption" was held in the common living & dining area on the first floor of the Momi House and Maple House, new student dormitories that opened in April this year. The program was designed to help people to enjoy cooking using vegetables produced in Mitaka City where the university is located and also to learn about food loss problems.
Various other events took place in addition to the above programs above. They included a workshop for making greeting cards by hand while discussing Fair Trade issues and a "reading circle to think about food and the environment." Wrapping up E-Weeks, a "Candle Night Concert―music under candle light" was held in the university Dining Hall on the final day. People listened to the music while gazing at the flickering light of the candles hand-made by members of SUSTENA, the ICU sustainable campus committee group.
Comments from groups and students that organized E-Weeks
Comments by a student who organized "TFT Kitchen―Healthy cooking using below-standard vegetables, local production for local consumption"
"I think that "food" brings people closer together. This is especially true when you make things together, get very hungry yet excited and feel a sense of accomplishment. It's greater still when you eat something fresh you have just made, side by side, saying, "Let's charge!" Because of this reason, the living & dining area built in the new dorms creates an environment and an atmosphere that help total strangers to get to know each other better. I feel that not only the dorm residents, irrespective of their year, but also the organizers and participants were able to take part in this event and enjoy it.
The ICU dorms are run by students themselves, which is what makes them unique. And I think we can see the autonomy and free atmosphere of the dorms pretty clearly in the kitchen as well. The kitchen is a dorm facility, of course, but its use in the future will change depending on who uses it. It doesn't matter how it will be used, really. I hope that this living & dining area will help connect ICU students together and I think TFT will come up with new programs for this purpose again.
Comments by a student who organized "Read and understand conflict―Reading circle on food and the environment"
This time around, we planned "the regular program+1," organizing an exhibition of books on the environment and related topics in the Library during E-Weeks. The reading circle picked one book from among them. We made sure not to choose books on environmental protection alone for the exhibition and the reading circle, considering the present situation where people tend to shy away from social activities involving the environment. There were some areas in which we may not have made adequate preparations such as in making the book list and hosting the reading circle, but we will go over what happened this time and, learning lessons from it, will continue with the reading circle while trying to organize the kind of activity that will get people to become more familiar with SUSTENA.
Comments from ELABEL, the group that put together the event, "Express our sense of appreciation through Fair Trade"
ELABEL is a student organization promoting the use of Fair Trade cotton products for alumni goods in order to spread the awareness of Fair Trade on campus. Our senior people graduated this spring and, taking over from them, we hosted our event for the first time on Cotton Day, May 10, during E-Weeks.
As Mother's Day was fast approaching, we held a workshop for making greeting cards by hand, hoping that this would help express our appreciation to our mothers in the form of hand-made cards and promote Fair Trade awareness. While leisurely discussing Fair Trade issues with the participants, we were able to spend some very enjoyable time helping them to show their sense of gratitude. So, thank you to you all for coming.
We are hoping that, through a variety of events, we will be able to gradually expand the number of friends who share the awareness of Fair Trade in the future. We are already going ahead with some other plans at present. If you are interested, please follow our activities by visiting ELABEL's Twitter and Instagram pages.
Comments from SUSTENA, the group that organized the entire E-Weeks
In preparing for E-Weeks, we thought things out so the idea of each member would take form. Especially careful work went into the process of planning. We tried not to let each person handle his or her plan alone but to allow all of us to discuss it fully and put it into final shape. By getting objective opinions of other people, I think we were able to turn those plans that would have been difficult to complete alone into better ones.
We faced many difficulties before hosting E-Weeks, but we succeeded because of the system of cooperation with friends as well as support from faculty and staff, and many other people. We are most grateful for all your support toward SUSTENA and in the future, we hope to continue our activities to turn ICU into a more environmentally sustainable campus.