The vast, verdant Hokkaido University campus is popular among locals and tourists for its pleasantness. But is it also comfortable for students, who spend every day on campus? The frank opinions of students were heard in the discussion.
*This round-table discussion was held in June 2017
A 3rd year student in the School of Engineering. Born in Mie Prefecture. A member of the Student Council for Sustainable Development (SCSD). His hobby is bouldering.
A 2nd year student in the School of Fisheries Sciences. Born in Osaka Prefecture. A member of an a cappella group. Her hobby is visiting cafés.
A 2nd year student of the School of Law. Born in Ebetsu, Hokkaido. A member of the karate club (first dan level). His hobby is cycling.
Where are the places for students?
Where and how do you spend breaks between classes and after class hours?
Takahashi： Since most of my lectures are in the same room, I stay there during breaks to finish my assignments. I’m at the library when I study or when my club members meet after school.
Nishikawa：I stay in the classroom during breaks. When I don’t have a class in the next hour, I go home or I look around the shops near Sapporo Station. After classes, I work part-time or go out for dinner with friends.
Horita：I study or do my assignments at the library during my breaks. After classes, I have club activities on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and I work part-time on other days. I also study often at the library after my club activities.
Please discuss what kinds of places you want there to be for students.
Horita：Since Hokkaido University has a beautiful campus, it’d be nice to have some benches.
Takahashi：Outside? Maybe on the Central Lawn?
Horita：It’d be nice to have benches on the Central Lawn.
Nishikawa：Aren’t there benches there?
Horita：Not many. There are only three. I’d like to see more.
Takahashi：The library of the School of Engineering doesn’t have enough seats. There are only few dozen seats.
Horita：Despite the vastness of the Hokkaido University campus, there aren’t many places to hang out.
Nishikawa：I think it’d be good to be able to study while snacking in the library. I also want more shops, even if only small ones. There are no shops near some buildings, near the Graduate School of Environmental Science, for example.
Nishikawa：There isn’t anywhere to eat, either.
Takahashi: When we get together with students of different schools, we use the library most of the time. But the libraries are only at the north and south ends of the campus. Wouldn’t it be good to have space to talk at the center of campus?
Takahashi：To be honest, are you happy about staying in your classroom?
Horita：We need permission to use another classroom. I think it’s inconvenient.
Takahashi：We don’t even know which classrooms are vacant.
Horita：It’d be very helpful if there were notices of vacant rooms.
Takahashi：It’d be good if we could use vacant rooms for studying.
Nishikawa：That’d be a good system. We might be able to use them for circle activities, too.
Takahashi：As it is, even when there are vacant classrooms, we don’t know whether we can use them.
Nishikawa：We feel a little guilty about using them.
Where would you like there to be spaces for you to talk with friends and eat snacks? And what kind of facilities would you want?
Nishikawa：It’d be good to have several such spaces.
Takahashi：I’d want at least one at the center of campus.
Nishikawa：I’d want more spaces similar to the “refresh spaces” [the media court, lounges and lobbies] that are currently in the libraries.
Horita：Even just having some tables and chairs would make a big difference.
Takahashi：If possible, computers and Wi-Fi would be nice, too.
Are there vacant classrooms around you of which availability you’re not sure about?
Takahashi：There are lots of classrooms in the School of Engineering. If at least two rooms could be secured as study rooms, I think some students would use them.
Horita：The Faculty of Letters building also has lots of classrooms. If we get permission, we can borrow a room for a study session for a seminar, for example. But we don’t know whether we can use a room to study. It’d be very convenient if classrooms that are available during certain hours were indicated on the bulletin board.
How would you spend 100 million yen?
I know it’s a sudden suggestion, but if there were a budget of 100 million yen, what would you use it for on campus?
Takahashi：Underground passages. I don’t know if 100 million yen is enough. Transportation is absolutely necessary, because the campus is too big.
Nishikawa：How about increasing on-campus bus service?
Horita：It’d be good if bus service were increased and became available for students, at least in the snowy season.
Takahashi：I’d want more cafeterias.
Nishikawa：I’d want more variety on the menu.
Takahashi：All the cafeterias are crowded at lunch time. Maybe we could invite a restaurant chain to open a branch on campus.
Horita：A new restaurant wouldn’t have to be operated by the Co-op.
Takahashi：If there were a family restaurant, that’d be a good place to talk with friends.
Nishikawa：A McDonald’s or Starbucks would be nice, too.
If you could have 100 million yen each to spend instead of 100 million yen among the three of you, what would you use it for?
Takahashi：I’d like for the entire campus to be cleaned, as there are places that haven’t been cleaned sufficiently. Something else I’d want is connecting passages between each floor of the buildings of the School of Engineering, because it’s sometimes difficult to move smoothly between buildings.
Nishikawa：I’d want another hall for circle activities. Since our a cappella group is unofficial, there’s no place to practice or to store speakers and microphones. I’d also want a comfortable café near Kita 18-jo, like “Elm no Mori” near the Main gate.
Horita：I’d want old library books and classroom textbooks to be updated to the latest edition. I’d want lockers, too. Students of the School of Law need to carry heavy books, including the book of six major laws. It’d be good if we could leave them on campus. I’d be happy if I could have a locker that was big enough for a suit and what I need to study.
Takahashi：Aren’t there lockers?
Horita：There are, but they’re very small.
Nishikawa：I don’t have a locker.
Takahashi：There are no lockers in the School of Engineering, either. I know some schools have lockers. It’d be good if there were a locker for each student. Then I could leave my lab coats in it.
What score would you give the overall comfort level of Hokkaido University?
What score out of a hundred would you give the overall comfort level of Hokkaido University?
Horita：Since I’m in the Humanities course, I’m usually in the Faculty of Letters building, at the main library or around the Central Lawn. I’d give those places 80 points, as they’re very comfortable. If the north side of the campus, which seems to be in poor condition, is included, I’d give 60 points.
Nishikawa：I’d give 70 points. The Central Lawn is pleasant and there are cafés and museums, but I might give a lower score to the north area partly because it’s hard to get around.
Takahashi：I’d give about 75 points now, but my rating was lower before. That’s because, in my first and second years, I didn’t know about the facilities at the university and which of them I could use. If someone had given me information on available facilities, my original rating would’ve been higher.
Some problems might be solved by communicating information properly even without expanding facilities. Thank you for your useful opinions, everyone.