Okayama University holds an online conference call to discuss the establishment of a SDGs Ambassador support system
June 05, 2020
On the 29th of May, Okayama University President MAKINO Hirofumi, Okayama University faculty and staff members involved in SDGs initiatives, and 8 SDGs Ambassador students held an online conference call to discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on SDGs Ambassador activities as well as what kind of support SDGs Ambassadors will need in the near future to achieve their goals.
In addition to President Makino, Vice Executive Director KANO Mitsunobu (in charge of SDGs promotion), Associate Professor SOUMURA Hiroaki (who serves as a member of the SDGs Initiatives Planning Committee) of Graduate School of Environmental and Life Science, and Associate Professor YAMAMOTO Yumiko of Institute of Global Human Resource Development (Global Discovery Program) also joined the discussion. Additionally, Associate Professor YOSHIKAWA Miyuki of Institute for Education and Student Services and Associate Professor IWABUCHI Yasushi, who both attended the 2019 Okayama University Future Sessions with the theme "Okayama University × UN SDGs", also participated. Finally, a total of 8 students joined the discussion, including undergraduate students from the Faculty of Education, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Economics, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Engineering, and graduate students from the Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
President Makino opened the discussion by saying that, "in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, tertiary education has had to adjust rapidly. We have been consulting with university students to understand the shortcomings of current online teaching methods and how they can be addressed. As you know, Okayama University has been designated as a premier research institution in the field of sustainable development. Therefore, I would like to hear from faculty, staff, and students involved in SDGs initiatives to discuss how Okayama University can further promote the SDGs during this time". During the conference, speakers explained their expectations for the SDGs Ambassadors, described SDGs initiatives currently being pursued by Okayama University, and articulated the objectives of the SDGs Future Sessions(a round-table conference also called Miraikon that is collaboratively organized by Ambassador students and Okayama University faculty and staff). Notably, Associate Professor Soumura, Associate Professor Yamamoto, Associate Professor Yoshikawa, and Associate Professor Iwabuchi contributed to the discussion by explaining the SGDs initiatives that they are each involved in.
Participating students explained how the coronavirus pandemic has affected student activities, elaborated on future plans and strategies, and pointed out areas where they might need university cooperation and outside support to achieve their SDGs goals.
Faculty advised students not just to consider their own personal goals, but to also take into account the needs of the local region and to devise solutions for social issues. With the benefit of experience, staff and faculty members also noted that when pursuing long-term goals, it is easy to get lost in the busyness of activity and that students should take the time to reflect on their goals and objectives.
Throughout the conference, it was emphasized that Okayama University endeavors to actively promote the SDGs by encouraging faculty, staff, and students to collaborate on initiatives such as the Miraikon.