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KSTN students' 2022 Winter Operation

Student members of the Kyoso Sankaku Tankent Network held a hybrid "Winter Session" meeting on December 11th and 12th, 2021, at Tokyo Gakugei University. They named it "Winter Operation" (fuyu no jin) to show the continuation of their discussions from the "Summer Operation" (natsu no jin) held in the summer of 2021. The term "jin" in Japanese refers to a battle position, encampment, or strategic positioning during a military campaign. The students adopted this term to reflect their active engagement in developing future strategies, which goes beyond the notions of a conference or a meeting. Ten members, including junior high school students and university students, participated in the 2-day meeting: Mahiro Umehara, Haruna Takeuchi, Miki Nanashima, Miku Honda, Risa Minamihounoki, Shiori Yamamoto, Kazuma Yuruzume, Nathan Wang, Momoka Kojima, and Sakura Tada. Senior members, including KSTN Research Director Keiji Matsuda, Research Promotion Fellows Shigeo Kodama, Keiichi Nishimura, and Naohiro Matsuo, also joined the discussion.

The Winter Operation covered various topics, including transforming the 2021 March workshop, "Since Then. From Now On," which marked the launch of KSTN, into an archived format. They also discussed the application process for funding from the Deloitte Thomatsu Well-being Foundation, creating a KSTN logo, student-led projects, and leveraging social media to establish connections with Empowerment Partners and communicate KSTN activities.

The meeting began with an ice breaker, where members were asked to guess the names of their fellow KSTN members based on their profiles. For most members, it was their first face-to-face meeting, which was refreshing and exciting, especially considering KSTN was established during the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are some comments shared by the students about the Winter Operation:

"I enjoyed the face-to-face interaction and felt a level of excitement about the future that is only possible in person. I learned a lot about creating emotional connections between online and offline participants so that they feel connected." (Miki Nanashima)

"The hybrid format, especially during the ice breaker, made a strong impression on me. I look forward to continuing our meetings in both face-to-face and hybrid formats." (Momoka Kojima)

"It was my first time meeting everyone, and working together in person, writing on paper, and seeing our outputs as tangible objects... I hope we can gather again when we start our projects." (Haruna Takeuchi)

"Although we were already close while working together online, meeting face-to-face made our bond even stronger! It improved our collaboration online. During the Covid-19 school closures, I contemplated the significance of attending school in person. I had a hypothesis that 'ideas are born out of casual conversation,' and now I know it to be true. Even seemingly meaningless conversations hold importance!" (Risa Minamihounoki)

"Face-to-face meetings allowed us to communicate using body language, leading to a stronger psychological connection. However, we need to address the issue of online participants feeling isolated during hybrid meetings. It was great to see ourselves working together on camera." (Shiori Yamamoto)

"It was wonderful to meet everyone. I had only seen them on screens for a long time! Seeing their faces and gestures was refreshing. It was fun and motivated me to plan activities for after our meetings. I wondered why meetings seem to go by faster when we meet face-to-face." (Miku Honda)

"My experience was more memorable because I engaged my senses by eating sweets, writing by hand, and exchanging local souvenirs. However, I regret not involving adult members in the event's preparation. I wish we could have done more together, such as planning the venue and ensuring successful online and in-person hybrid meetings. It would have made it a collective effort rather than students working alone, and we could have received more input from adults." (Kazuma Yuruzume)

"Online participants were unable to share our snacks. It would be beneficial to have a system where snacks can be delivered to everyone participating online. Perhaps in the future, we could explore the possibility of a sponsor company providing sweets for all of us." (Mahiro Umehara)

These comments highlight the students' joy in meeting face-to-face and their acknowledgment of its significance compared to online meetings. They also emphasized the importance of considering online participants and how this experience could inform the planning of future hybrid meetings. Additionally, they recognized the value of building meaningful relationships during the preparation stage and wondered how student and adult members could collaborate more effectively. The Secretariat was also prompted to reassess their approach, realizing that involving KSTN members in the venue setup could have been a more meaningful endeavor.


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