12 KIP members participated in US Study Project 2018 for 20 days from February 23rd, and returned to Japan on March 14th! In this study project, we visited the West Coast, the East Coast, and Hawaii in America, and conducted discussions in at 5 universities as well as interviews at 13 companies. Our theme for this trip was "Convenience vs.. Unintended Side Effects," and had discussions on two sub topics, "side effects for the environment by disposable products" and "side effects for communication skills due to the development of IT."
Itinerary was as follows. 2/23～2/26: Princeton Discussion at Princeton University 2/27～3/2: Philadelphia Discussion at Swarthmore Collet & University of Pennsylvania Company Visits (Subaru of America, Inc., Tokio Marine North America, Inc.) 3/3～3/7: San Francisco Discussion at Stanford University Company Visits (Salesforce.com, Inc., Toyota Research Institute, Inc., Facebook, Silicon Valley Japan Platform, Japan Society of Northern California) 3/7～3/12: Honolulu Discussion at Hawaii University at Manoa Company Visits (Mayor of Honolulu,The Kahala Hotel & Resort, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaii Coffee Company, Pacific Fleet)
We talked about the relationship between IT and communication at Princeton, U Penn, Stanford, and Hawaii University, and about the environmental issues at Swarthmore College and Hawaii University. Through discussions on IT, we found out how important face-to-face communication is and how unaware we were of its importance in the shade of technological development. Other than that, we gained a point of view like dialogue with AI, importance of humor and networking that we hadn't recognized in Japan. Through discussions on the environmental issues, we discussed "Coexistence of Convenience and Green Actions" with students who have high awareness for the environment and actually carry out somewhat actions in their daily lives. Through this experience we noticed how we only acted little and how necessary and feasible it is to take actual actions on protecting environment.
We visited companies in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Honolulu. Visiting various types of companies regardless of Japanese or local ones, we were really inspired to hear their stories at their offices, and it was a good chance to think about our career paths and what it's like to work in America. In relation to our research, we also heard about communication skills necessary at workplaces. In addition, it was inspiring to know that some companies have installed reusable energy positively or placed a department for sustainability.
This project was an opportunity to rethink about what sustainability is. In particular, visiting Swarthmore College and Hawaii University, we witnessed students in America proactively carrying out activities for the environment, and it came to our mind our how important it is to actually put things into practice and make movements. As a Japanese student, doing what we can do leads to improving systems and plans for sustainability.
This project was a precious opportunity to look back on our university lives, and make use for the future. What we learned under the theme of "Convenience vs. Unintended Side Effects" gave us a feeling that we gained the wisdom to live in this world that is getting more and more convenient.
Beginning with Ms. Packard, we express our appreciation to all who shared time and cooperated for us.