Support from the SOPHIA Fund for the Future
The SOPHIA Fund for the Future provides the financial base for our educational and research activities, student support, global human resource development, and campus improvement plans.
We would like to introduce how the “Support for the Creation of a Global Campus and the Promotion of Sustainability” is utilized in the lives of students at SOPHIA.
Supporting the activities of the Sustainability Promotion Division
A Year in the Life of the Sustainability Promotion Division
“Student staffs” take on the challenge of creating a better campus from the students’ perspective. Through planning, communication, and improvement, they strive for the development of the university, while growing as individuals.
Campus Environmental Improvement Team
−Accessible to everyone: that’s a sustainable campus
The Campus Environment Improvement Team worked on the renewal of campus signage. The previous signs had been added as buildings were constructed, and therefore lack a sense of uniformity. Problems such as “light reflects off the signs making them hard to read” and “the signs are surrounded by plants, making them inaccessible for wheelchairs” were common. To solve these problems comprehensively, we used universal design to develop a plan for creating signs for each level of the building, including an overall map, area map, guidance signs, and floor map. The new general and area information boards were installed before the spring semester of the 2022 academic year.
-The water fountain is famous and serves many students; proposal to add more and eliminate lines:
A parallel project to the campus signage was the addition of water fountain stations. Originally, there were only three water, virtually unknown water fountain stations on campus. Therefore, we created posters to encourage their use and succeeded in greatly increasing the number of users. The purchase of plastic bottles, previously a routine purchase for students, has decreased. However, as a result of increased awareness, the fountains are being used 3,000 to 4,000 times a day, and lines have formed in front of them. To improve the situation, we have proposed new fountains at more appropriate locations; now 10 fountains have been installed at five locations, eliminating lines.
-Creating a campus with more options and opportunities:
Among the various tasks as a student employee, the desire and voice for a campus where people have many sustainable options is growing. Even through just one water fountain, a student carrying their own water bottle may trigger their interest in SDG’s and recycling. We would like to increase the options available to students to benefit the environment and other people, making the campus a place where mundane activities spark inspiration.
- Student Employee / 2nd-year student in the Department of International Relations and Law, Faculty of Law
Joined an educational support circle out of interest in SDGs and became a student employee in her search to take action.
Information Dissemination Team
-Covering SDG-related activities at the University, introducing the organizations and students on the website
One of the roles of the Information Dissemination Team is to cover clubs and circles engaged in SDG-related activities and publicize their efforts. For example, Gender Equality for Sophia (GES), which addresses gender issues within the university and has made efforts to provide free sanitary products; Wakatake Circle, plays with children with physical disabilities. I became interested in the SDGs after witnessing food loss as a part-time worker at a café; I am inspired and feel my horizons are broadened as I learn about various fields and initiatives.
-Publish “SDG Report” on University initiatives, linked to the UN Goals
In addition to disseminating information on the activities of our organizations, the University also publishes an “SDGs & Sustainability Report” (“SDG Report”). This report introduces Sophia University’s initiatives, faculty research, and the activities of each organization in relation to the UN Goals. The second issue, the first half of 2021 and 2022, is now in production. Editing the SDGs Report has renewed my awareness of the University’s meaningful efforts, and the more I learn about the University, the more I like Sophia University.
-A campus where people of all races, genders, ages, and positions can feel comfortable.
I was born and raised in Japan, but while working part-time, I have been asked, “Where are you from?” Even if they don’t mean to offend, the limited time I have with the customer ensures that I cannot explain my full background. While their words are not meant to be malicious, they still hurt my feelings. However, I’ve never experienced this feeling on the Sophia campus due to the high level of respect students have for each other. Our campus is very considerate and provides a comfortable environment for each student, regardless of race, gender, age, position, etc.
- Student Employee / 4th year student in the Department of Newspaper, Faculty of Letters
Witnessed frequent food loss while working part-time and applied to become a student employee out of a desire to solve the problem.
Planning and Implementation Team
-Small Steps Nurture the Future, School cafeteria transformed from the anniversary program
As a member of the planning and implementation team, I am involved in the planning and realization of the anniversary program and idea contest. The anniversary program has been held every year, but in the past, staff members were responsible for the preparation and operation of the program. Last year, student employees joined the program and held an event to learn about the SDGs with Yoshio Kojima. I was also in charge of creating the catchphrase and script, as well as hosting the event on the day of the event.
About 50 faculty members and 100 students participated in the anniversary program, learning the basics of the SDGs together. During a discussion on food loss issues, the idea was raised that the university cafeteria should have a service that allows students to order small portions of food; this idea was later implemented.
-Group work also promotes the exchange of students from Sophia Gakuin junior high and high schools
We are currently planning an idea contest on SDGs and sustainability, inviting junior high and high school students from the four schools established by Sophia School Corporation. The idea for the contest began with the desire to realize an integrated approach among junior high school, high school, and university students. With the University’s support, we have decided to hold the contest as an opportunity for junior high and high school students to challenge themselves and grow through idea formation and collaborative realization work.
−Using what I’ve learned to build a career unique to me
Thanks to my involvement in various projects as a student employee, my desire to make Sophia University a better community has become stronger. My first step is to update the values and norms on campus in line with the time; there is much more that the student affairs staff, the link between the university and the students, can do to achieve this goal.
In addition, as interactions within and outside the University are similar to business situations, I was able to develop my ability to think logically and communicate with others. I am sure that this valuable experience will come in handy when I go job hunting or enter the workforce and I feel as though I am gaining skills that I can use to build a career unique to me.
- Student Employee / 3rd year student in the Department of Social Welfare, Faculty of Integrated Human Sciences
Sophia University’s potential is realized through working closely with the University – becoming a student employee to expand mine and the University’s potential.
Support for creating a global campus and promoting sustainability
- Funds raised through this campaign will be used to support the implementation of educational activities and projects in the areas of ecology, disability, LGBTs, gender and human rights, health (physical and mental), and disaster prevention, as well as the redevelopment and universalization of campus facilities, with a focus on sustainability and SDGs-related initiatives.
※ A portion of the cost of creating the campus signage is from this fund. We also plan to funds to support the necessary costs for hosting the Idea Contest.