What about Hokkaido University should be improved that isn’t noticed by instructors? To explore this question, three students discussed “issues that should be addressed by Hokkaido University.” *The discussion was held in June 2017
A 4th year student in the School of Medicine. Born in Iwamizawa, Hokkaido. His hobbies are futsal, piano and reading.
A 4th year student in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Born in Osaka Prefecture. A member of the Japan Association of Veterinary Students. Her hobbies are making sweets and watching musicals.
A 3rd year student in the School of Engineering. Born in Kanagawa Prefecture. A member of the Hokkaido University Co-op Student Committee. His hobbies are bowling and graphic design.
What should be changed?
What do you think should be changed at Hokkaido University?
Nishimura： First, it’s hard to move around on campus. It’s good to have a large campus, but it takes about 20 minutes to walk from one end of the main street to the other. There are buses for faculty, but students can’t use them. The second is the lack of communication with other schools. My only contacts with students from other schools have been those I met in first-year classes or club activities. The third is about information. For example, Hokkaido University has the Health Care Center*1, which can be used free of charge by students, but I didn’t find out about it until my fourth year. More information should be provided on what facilities are available.
Yamashita：What troubles me in everyday life on campus is that there are too many puddles on the sidewalks. It’s so bad in front of the School of Engineering that it’s sometimes impossible to walk through. Next, grass grows neatly on the Central Lawn and in front of the School of Agriculture on the south side of the campus, but the area around the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is like a thick forest. I’d love to see the lawn extended to the north side. Another thing is that I feel that Nitobe College*2 is not publicized well. Not many students are taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the College to talk face to face with alumni. Some students think the program is for preparation to study abroad. It’d be good if more students could use these opportunities to improve themselves. One more thing. I’ve heard that the budget for labor cost has been reduced because of national fund reduction. It’d be bad if this affects our education.
Fukuyama：Talking about personnel expenses, I felt sorry for some friends when I heard them saying that there were no longer professors in their lab or that courses they’d planned to take wouldn’t be offered this year. I also felt unhappy that playing sports on Central Lawn was suddenly banned to avoid damage to the grass. I eventually understood it was because of the high maintenance costs, but it was hard for students to accept such a sudden ban without explanation. Another thing is about bicycles on campus. People on bicycle should show better etiquette, because they pose a danger by riding at high speeds and because abandoned bicycles are an eyesore. Something should be done to make the campus more pleasant for everyone.
Let’s think of solutions to these issues.
How can we make it easier to get around?
Yamashita：Students are saying that it’d be nice to have an underground passage. Then we’d be able to ride bicycles even when it is rainy or snowy.
Nishimura：Even an arcade road would be enough.
Fukuyama：The risk of accidents might also decrease if the underground road were made exclusively for bicycles, while cars stayed on the surface.
The problem of getting around on campus could be solved if there were a budget. Now how can we increase communication with other schools?
Fukuyama：Although there are students from different schools in the first-year basic class, I only talked to certain students in the class. I have friends from the School of Engineering and the School of Agriculture, but I don’t know anyone from the School of Dental Medicine.
Nishimura：Neither do I. This is my first time to speak to a student from the School of Veterinary Medicine.
Yamashita：It’s easier to make friends at my own school, although there are opportunities to interact with students from different schools in Nitobe College, as it’s a university-wide program.
For example, if a free space for students were established in a new building, would you be able to interact with a wider range of students?
Yamashita：Even if there were a space that could be used freely, I may not talk to strangers.
Fukuyama：Instructors may have contact with other schools through cross-disciplinary exchanges, but it may be difficult for students.
Let’s leave the problem on the reduction of labor cost budget, as it can’t be solved by students. How about the communication and information? How do you get information about the university?
Yamashita：Through the bulletin board in the school building and Twitter. But, if the Twitter account were official, I might not follow it. Information should be given by something like word of mouth, from instructors to their students.
Nishimura：I was asked by an acquaintance to take part in today’s discussion. If the person had been an instructor I didn’t know, it might’ve been a bit difficult for me to participate.
How can you contribute to Hokkaido University?
How can you contribute to making Hokkaido University more attractive?
Yamashita：I’m a student of the second class to enroll in Nitobe College who needs to pave the way for students in successive graduating classes. When I go into society, I’ll have to do my best so that people around me will say “students of Nitobe College are good.”
Fukuyama：As a member of the Hokudai Co-op*3, I hope to play a role in spreading information to students. Sometimes students listen to certain information only because it’s provided by fellow students. For example, if new rules on bicycles are established, we can provide that information, including the circumstances and background of their establishment.
Nishimura：It is impossible for students to build the arcade I mentioned before. So we have to do what we can in our research and other activities. We’ve got to work hard every day to make people think that students of Hokkaido University are reliable.
What if the three of you from the School of Engineering, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Medicine were to conduct R&D together?
Yamashita：We might be able to make something that could be used for both animals and humans.
Nishimura：Do you study chemistry in the School of Engineering, Mr. Fukuyama?
Fukuyama：Yes, I do. I also study pharmacology and cell engineering.
Nishimura：Then we could research zoonotic diseases.
Yamashita：The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Medicine cover fields such as public health and food hygiene. When the School of Engineering were to join, it might be possible to bring chemical apparatus in tests that currently involve only the human eye, to create indexes to present the test results as numerical values.
Nishimura：It might be possible to research the health of both humans and animals.
I’m looking forward to your success. Thank you very much for today.