FY2011 General Report - Other Matters
1. Contribution to Okinawa Promotion
OIST campus was opened to the general public in April 2011 and a program of guided tours was launched. Over 10,000 people visited the campus in FY2011. Of the 10,000, 1915 visitors were high school students. OIST faculty and staff continued to gives lectures at local schools, including schools on Ishigaki Island. OIST held its second Open Campus event on its Onna campus on Sunday, March 18, drawing a total of 3,012 visitors from Okinawa and beyond. OIST working in collaboration with the Onna village office organized the 2nd Summer School of Science. This was a very successful weeklong event that introduced to the children the excitement of science.
To assist the OPG in proceeding OIST surroundings development project, OIST participated in the project committee and working group meetings together with Onna-son and Uruma-shi and provided information as needed. During this term, there were two major ongoing projects: transportation development and map development. For transportation development, the OPG implemented the Airport Limousine Bus experiment from December 29, 2011 to March 27, 2012. OIST worked to raise the recognition of this service among the OIST community through announcements in various forms such as email, poster, and flyers. Also, in order to improve the accessibility of the service, OIST negotiated with the campus café vendor and was able to persuade them to handle ticketing. As a result, the use of this service consistently increased throughout the project period. The increase is expected to impact the possibility that the bus company will launch a service to connect Naha area and the OIST campus, later in FY2011. For map development, creation of regional Google Maps for OIST community proceeded well, as OIST closely and effectively communicated our demands and suggestions. These two projects are both expected to benefit not only OIST staff but also the larger Onna community, as they will improve the regional convenience.
OIST participated in meetings of Committee for Improvement of Living Conditions in Onna Village, discussing topics such as business opportunities related to OIST for local companies, and improvement of limousine bus service between Onna and Naha Airport.
OIST actively worked to organize participation of the university executives in meetings of local educators and business organizations and created opportunities to introduce OIST and its contribution to Okinawa.
About 25% of OIST staff are from Okinawa, and OIST has an annual program for hiring new Graduates from Okinawa. While several applicants for jobs at OIST are living in mainland Japan but are from Okinawa, they appreciate the career opportunities offered by OIST that were not available before on the island. As the result, three new graduates were hired after job fairs at two local schools and the on-site seminars.
2. Campus Development
The OIST Auditorium and the Parking Facility construction were completed in February 2012, while the construction of Lab 2 was on schedule for completion early in FY2012. Other construction works on the campus, including the Utility Trench to connect Lab 2 to Lab 1, road and infrastructure construction, and construction of stone facing at the entrance to the campus, were carried out successfully as planned.
A contract was completed with a private sector consortium in September 2011 for development of the Village Zone housing, and construction commenced in November. Work on the first phase buildings was on schedule for completion in Aug. 2012, to enable occupancy by incoming students from September 1, 2012.
All construction-related tenders are advertised online on the OIST website, and tender results are also published online.
3. Other Matters
(1) Education and Childcare for OIST Employees
OIST has worked in close collaboration with the OPG Education Board and the Onna village Education Board to set up an English speaking option within the Japanese education system for OIST children and other non-Japanese residents. The collaboration has been very fruitful and a special class will be opened in April 2012 in the Onna Elementary School and Junior High School. A vacancy notice for an educational coordinator to develop educational programs that integrate OIST families with local community schools was posted on the OIST web site on April 5.
As OIST worked to develop the relationship with AMICUS, communication with the school has been increased, and now OIST is always informed of news regarding AMICUS admissions. Now OIST administration is able to provide staff with the latest information of AMICUS and to effectively respond to their concerns and questions.
Basic design plans were prepared for the construction of a Child Development Centre on the OIST campus, and an application was submitted to CAO for budget in FY2012 to construct the facility, however this budget was not awarded. In the meantime, funds were made available for renovation works to enable the provision of suitable childcare to be commenced in a temporary facility. Work is ongoing to determine how best to deal with the situation.
(2) Disaster Prevention and Safety Measures
Research Safety Section took an initiative in setting a new set of safety rules (Policy Library Chapter 13) and creating web-based orientation and training programs for workplace and research safety.
A drill was carried out to test evacuation procedures from the campus buildings, and training was given to staff on the correct measures to take in case of earthquake. In addition, timely instructions were issued over the public address system to staff to return home as typhoons approached Okinawa during 2011. Development of a response manual for natural disasters is ongoing.
The OIST health emergency services are provided to all OIST community on 24/7 basis. It consists in an emergency center that can be called in English. This front line call center is relayed by a qualified nurse who can handle specific emergency situations.
Discussions with the local Fire Department took place to determine the necessary measures to be taken by OIST in the case of fire or natural disaster, and a manager has undergone training for qualification as Safety Officer. Stocks of emergency food, water and other materials have been prepared on campus. In the review process of the disaster prevention plan of Onna Village, OIST offered the campus to be designated as the evacuation site for local residents in times of a disaster.
(3) Environmentally Friendly Business Operations
OIST made an effort to purchase eco-friendly goods and services such as recycled products in accordance with "Basic Policy for the Promotion of Procurement of Eco-Friendly Goods and Services" based on the "Law concerning the promotion of procurement of eco-friendly goods and services."
In FY2011, through careful optimization of temperature, humidity and equipment settings, energy usage on the campus was reduced by 23% relative to the previous year on a megajoule/person basis, enabling the total greenhouse gas emission and energy usage for the year to be reduced by 3% despite an increase in the number of staff on campus of 26%, and the commencement of full-scale operation of the High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster.
All water used on campus was treated by the water treatment plant on site and recycled for use in bathrooms, cooling towers and irrigation. Rainwater was collected in several catchment ponds and reservoirs constructed on site to prevent flooding or excessive runoff into local streams.
Water from construction areas was collected in catchment ponds and treated by turbid water treatment installations at each construction site to ensure that water containing an excessive level of red soil is not released into local streams or the sea. To date, there have been no significant unauthorized red soil runoff incidents.
All landscaping and planting was done using only approved indigenous species of plants, grasses, etc. An environmental impact consultant was retained to monitor activities on site and ensure that indigenous species of plants and animals are being suitably protected, and that the university does not cause adverse impact to the natural environment.