A Kyuusuiki (Bottle-Refillable Water Server)On Instagram!? Environmental Activist Mayuko Sasaki Interview Part 1

Happy New Year!

We hope 2021 has treated you well so far.

Thanks to the many activists, last year, we were able to publish a total of 18 interview articles. Thank you to all activists and readers for your constant support!

The first activist we interviewed for the year 2021 is ID22 Mayuko Sasaki, who is a member of the Team Kyuusuiki (bottle-refillable water server).

She joined the project after doing a presentation in an environmental studies General Education course and is currently promoting the use of bottle-refillable water servers through Instagram.

Part 1 introduces her reasons for joining the team, and what her motivations are for being involved in activism!

Q1. What activities are you involved in?

I joined the Team Kyuusuiki 2 years ago in the summer, and have since been working to install water servers in the ICU University Hall (Honkan).

Since last April, ever since the bottle-refillable water servers were installed, we have been striving to spread awareness through social media, to those who are not interested in environmental issues.

Q2. Could you explain the Team Kyuusuiki in detail?

The team project was started by ID19 seniors who took an environmental major course called “Environment Education” and voluntary members who wanted a water server in the University Hall. 

The petition campaign began in 2018 during the winter semester and a total of 654 signatures were collected, both online and in-person. In the spring semester of 2019, I took a General Education course in environmental studies, and presented about “using reusable water bottles to decrease consumption of plastic bottles and electricity powering vending machines.” Professor Nunoshiba, the course instructor of the course, introduced me to the project and together with another student in my presentation team, I decided to join the team.

In September 2019, we officially started conducting surveys and creating documents, and in the winter semester of 2019, the members of Team Kyuusuiki presented our findings to the Chair of ICU and the Director of Financial Affairs Division. Finally, in April, 2020, two bottle-refillable water servers were installed in the east wing of the University Hall, one on the first floor, and one on the second.

↑The newly installed bottle-refillable water servers located in the first and second floors of the University Hall, near the East Wing toilet entrances

Q3. Did you have an interest in environmental issues prior to becoming involved in activism?

Ever since I was young, I had a strong interest in environmental issues, and one of the reasons I entered ICU was because they had an environmental studies major. Even though there are severe environmental issues, I find it odd that our lifestyle has not changed much since I was little. I feel like I was focusing too much on how I needed to create change myself, which at the time, I thought was the right thing to do. I also discovered through university courses and activism that there are people who believe, rather optimistically, that they don’t have to take action because their actions won’t make much of a difference. If all of us made small changes, it will trigger massive change – this idea is what motivated me to participate in this project.

Q4. How did you feel when you first joined Team Kyuusuiki?

I knew the project before joining the team, but I thought it had already progressed too much for me to be of much help. However, this was not the case: the signatures were collected, but there was no other progress, since the seniors were busy with their senior thesis and job hunting. During the summer break, I wasn’t able to do much and fall semester began. But one time at the university bookstore, I met another member of the team who expressed their concerns to me. Apparently the member was told by Professor Nunoshiba that “the project will die out if this situation continues, so it would be best if the younger members with time on their hands, restart the project.” I can still recall the pale look on their face. By sharing our concerns for the project, we were able to take action to move forward.

Q5. Did you have any struggles when trying to install the bottle-refillable water servers?

The most challenging aspect was to respect the originality of the seniors that were involved in the project prior to us, and how to interpret and reflect it onto the documents. Upon resuming the project in September, we did surveys through Google forms and conducted interviews at the cafeteria to collect data on the change in students’ environmental awareness before and after installing the bottle-refillable water servers. The core members met up almost everyday and we would sometimes invite the seniors to discuss what kind of water server is most suitable and how to write the proposal. Although it was hard work, we were able to exchange ideas smoothly and I’m grateful to have been able to work offline during that period, now that everything is based online.

Thank you for reading till the end!

The next article released will be Part 2, which will share her thoughts on being a speaker at the “Sustainable Lifestyle Declaration 2020” organized by WWF(World Wildlife Fund) and her message towards society.
Please look forward to it!

Team Kyuusuiki Instagram Account:@watashiwakyuusuikidesu
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