Volunteer Staff Contribute to Raising Disaster Awareness Among Students Through the "Disaster Prevention Grassroots" Project


Jul 1, 2024

Ritsumeikan Trust has established the "R2030 Grassroots Practice Support Program" a system that encourages and supports grassroots efforts by faculty and staff and to support concrete implementation. In the "Disaster Prevention Grassroots" project, adopted for the 2023 academic year, a group of volunteer staff from APU integrated items that help students take actions to protect themselves during disasters. They also conducted disaster preparedness education for students.

This project was initiated from the staff's concern, "Can international students who come to Japan for the first time take actions to protect themselves during disasters?" APU currently hosts international students from 109 countries and regions, many of whom have never experienced earthquakes or other disasters in their home countries. The project aimed to enhance daily disaster awareness so that these students can take appropriate actions in case of an emergency.

During the planning process, the geographical environment and surrounding areas were considered, and disaster possibilities unique to APU and relevant disaster prevention actions were taken into account. As a result, the project included understanding existing local disaster prevention activities and considering disaster prevention actions that include the surrounding active volcanoes, which were reflected in the disaster prevention goods and educational content.

Regarding the disaster prevention goods, the project focused on ensuring that students check their surroundings from a disaster prevention perspective in advance and have an image of disaster prevention activities when necessary. The theme "Cute Disaster Prevention" was adopted, focusing on developing goods with easy-to-understand illustrations that are easy to carry. The completed "Disaster Prevention Leaflet" concisely describes disaster prevention actions and a checklist of items to have on hand during each type of disaster, accompanied by illustrations. It was designed in a small size to fit in a wallet for daily carrying. The "Disaster Prevention Bandana," with a cute design that can be carried daily, can be used for first aid treatment of injuries and can also be used as a board game for children when they are restless, serving multiple purposes.

At the end of the project, guidance on disaster prevention actions was provided during the "New Student Orientation," and about 1,200 copies of the "Disaster Prevention Bandana" and "Disaster Prevention Leaflet" were distributed.

Future challenges identified by the project include reviewing and resetting criteria for determining evacuation routes on campus, strengthening disaster-related signage on campus, considering fun events that familiarize students with disaster prevention, and encouraging students to participate as active leaders in disaster prevention activities.

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