[Summer 2023] Energy Saving Poster Student Initiative
- Sophia School Corporation
- Club & Circles
An interview was held with +Re: (Purari) student group about their efforts in supporting energy saving initiative on campus.
This year, the student group +Re: has once again created and displayed posters featuring Sophian-kun in each classroom at Yotsuya Campus to remind students to save electricity! We interviewed the representative of the group, Ms. Hiha Tsuda, about the energy saving situation on campus and +Re:’s activities.
—–Q1 What are the main objectives of this year’s poster?
This year’s energy-saving posters are accommodated with pop-ups of Sophia University’s mascot, Sophian-kun which is popular among students. Have you heard about Nudge theory a concept in behavioral economics? It is a combination between psychology and economics and is often used in marketing. For example, instead of leaving a disinfectant on the table, having an arrow pointing at it will naturally prompt people to use it. To apply this concept to +Re:’s activities, we held a learning session about this theory together with our members. As we studied about behavioral economics and nudges, rather than just saying “let’s save electricity”, we began to think of ways we could nudge people into a behavior unconsciously. It is +Re:’s focal point to consider “how to involve people who are not interested in environmental issues. Therefore, this year with this philosophy as the basis, we carried out our activities.”
—–Q2 The electricity consumption at Yotsuya Campus in May this year was reduced by -2.4% compared to the previous year. What effect do you expect from the energy-saving poster display this summer?
Recently, I feel that the lights in empty classrooms are being turned off more attentively than before. I am glad to see that, but I still feel that the wasteful use of electricity in large classrooms has not improved much. Therefore, this time I want to focus on tackling this problem and aim for a 4% reduction of electricity consumption this year.
Through talking with my friends, I feel that awareness of the electricity-saving posters has increased considerably. However, I see awareness as one thing, while getting people to actually take action as another. Hence, I will continue doing my best to bring about a change in behavior.
—-Q3 What do you think about Sophia University’s energy-related initiatives, including carbon neutrality? What issues do you think Sophia University should focus on more in the future?
I honestly think that they are doing a very good job. I live my life with the intent to not put too much burden on the environment, so I feel comfortable at Sophia because the university has launched various efforts tackling energy consumption. In fact, in of the efforts include adopting renewable energy with the goal of becoming carbon neutral. While many countries and companies are aiming to become carbon neutral by 2050, Sophia – although a smaller ecosystem have made substantial contribution to carbon neutrality on-campus, which I feel is an advanced initiative. I hope that this movement will perpetuate throughout society.
*Note: As of March 2023, all electricity used on Yotsuya campus was 100% renewable energy.
—-Q4 I think it is very difficult to have a sense of environmental crisis on an individual level. Could you tell us how you became interested in environmental issues?
Prior to entering college, the extent to which I knew about environmental issues was only that “the ice in the Arctic is melting,” and that it was just someone else’s problem.
However, in my first year at Sophia, I took a Christian anthropology class, which had an environmental theme and that learning experience was the starting point for my awareness of environmental issues.
Since then, through various classes where I learned about the seriousness of environmental problems from a global scale, I began to feel a sense of crisis about my future, and about society when I have my own children and grandchildren in 10- or 50-years’ time. With this, I felt a strong urge to do something about it, and started taking action by establishing a contact lens case collection system on campus for recycling purposes.
–Q5 What kind of campus/future society do you want to achieve in the future?
I would like to create a society where both environmentally conscious and non-environmentally conscious people can lead sustainable lives naturally. I tried to lead a plastic-free life in the past, but environmentally friendly products are expensive, and the current social structure makes it nearly impossible to do so. I feel that a systematic change is needed.
Similarly on campus, I strongly believe that the consumption behavior that Sophia students engage in on campus, such as Sophia hoodie merch and cafeterias, should have more environmentally friendly options to begin with. Currently, the cafeteria menu is meat-based and almost no fish is offered, and while vegan and halal menus are available, they are expensive and the choices are still limited. Sophia hoodie are also worn by a good percentage of Sophia students, but the material used are by no means environmentally friendly. This is exactly what +Re: is trying to address now. We would like to collected used clothing on campus for textile recycling and eventually create a recycling-oriented society within Sophia. Although it is economically difficult to do so at this time, we believe that we must begin with making more sustainable consumption choices on-campus, such as making Sophia hoodie out of the clothes we collect at Sophia.
(Sustainability Student Staff : Maki Ashizawa and Poonyaporn Suthamporn)