Okayama University hosts a "Snow School" in Aba District, Tsuyama City
February 17, 2020
In collaboration with Aba District in Tsuyama City, Tsuyama City Josai Community Center, and Tsuyama Higashi High School, student volunteers from Okayama University hosted the Aba "Snow School" event on February 15,2020. They invitated elementary school students from urban Tsuyama City area to participate, with the goal of providing students with an opportunity to learn about the area while interacting with nature and local community.
6 student volunteers, including international students from the Global Discovery Program, and Vice Executive Director AOO Ken participated in the event. In total, approximately 40 people attended, including 25 elementary students from the Josai District of Tsuyama, students and teachers from Tsuyama Higashi High School, and Aba locals.
Vice Executive Director Aoo opened the event with OGURA Michinori, Chairman of the Aba Village Management Council and Aba Village Farm Stay Promotion Organization. Volunteers organized a variety of activities, including a mochi-making experience, a Finnish game called "Molkky", and playing in the snow.
Elementary school students seemed to thoroughly enjoy the event, saying that "The mochi that I helped make was delicious!", "I enjoyed playing in the snow and learning to play Molkky", and "I want to come to Aba again soon".
The event was conceived as part of the Okayama Prefecture supported project "University Students in local area and exchange-and-research Initiative". As a part of this project, which runs from June 2019 to February 2020, Okayama University has been collaborating with Aba District to allow university students to conduct research while becoming more familiar with the rural surrounding areas and interacting and working together with local communities. To this end, students came up with the idea of "service learning"; that is, learning about an area by interacting with the local community through acts of service. The aim is to promote interaction between local communities and the next generation by inviting young people and children to experience nature in an aging and depopulation area.
The melody of children's laughter was a welcome change from the village's typical quietness and the event was a great opportunity for all those involved to deepen their knowledge about the area while learning from one another.
Okayama University hopes to further strengthen bonds with the community while addressing local issues and promoting activities that encourage deeper learning.