The New Chairman of the University Athletic Foundation’s General Affairs Committee Promotes Reforms that Bring the Entire Student Body Together
Third-year undergraduate student in the Senior Division of the College of Arts and Sciences
“The Athletic Foundation membership fee collection rate is around 90% now—I want to see if there’s some way or another I can raise that a figure a little higher.”
The General Affairs Committee in the Athletic Foundation of the University of Tokyo oversees the Foundation’s 46 sports clubs and is comprised of approximately 50 members appointed from the these clubs. The man folding his arms and striking a dignified pose on Komaba’s Athletic Field 1 is none other than the newly-elected chairman of this General Affairs Committee. His name is Seiji Irie, but his friends call him “Irrietty.” Seiji is a member of the Athletic Foundation’s Taido (a form of martial arts) Club. The sequence of events that led to Seiji playing such an active role on the General Affairs Committee sounds like a very typical one for a young man his age.
“During every summer break, members of the Athletic Foundation’s sports clubs—especially those on the General Affairs Committee—go out to help operate the University-run recreational accommodations (also called Sportia)*. A friend encouraged me to go to one of these, Sportia Shimokamo, by saying that there were “lots of girls in swimsuits on the nearby beach.” These words intrigued me, so I headed for Sportia Shimokamo and I had a really good time with everyone there. With the way things were going, everyone naturally decided that I would become a member of the General Affairs Committee.”
Among the five groups within the Committee, Seiji was appointed to the Public Relations Group. His work in the Group included the creation of posters advertising sports workshops for regular students who weren’t members of the Foundation. Time passed as he continued to demonstrate his reliable skills as a member of the Group, and the period during which the Committee was to decide upon its new leaders soon approached. After a discussion among his fellow members, Seiji was elected chairman. He recalls how his friend urged him to run for the position:
“One of my friends is a member of the Karate Club at Kyoto University. I got acquainted with him through participating in sports events like the Seven Universities Athletic Meet. He was elected secretary-general of the Kyoto University Sports Union. He said to me, ‘Now you’ve gotta do it, too!’ So I thought, well, why not?”
Seiji and his colleagues believe that the duty of the General Affairs Committee is to improve the University’s athletic environment not only for the Athletic Foundation’s sports clubs, but also for all students in general. Based on this belief, they are engaging in two new initiatives starting this academic year. One is the introduction of an Athletic Foundation Liaison Committee composed of representatives from each first-year undergraduate class. He hopes that these representatives can build bridges between the Athletic Foundation and non-member students and help make the Athletic Foundation an ideal organization for all students. The other initiative is bringing back the Komaba Field Day. The Komaba Field Day was a comprehensive sports competition held with great fanfare during the days when the Komaba Campus was home to the University’s Faculty of Agriculture.
“We held a 100m relay race with teams of four people back in May. Because the day of the event was postponed due to rain, only 11 teams were able to participate. Despite the low number of teams, students really gave it their all to cheer on their fellow students from the sidelines, and reactions to the event were very positive. We’re still miles away from the scale of the event in its heyday, though. I’m going to work hard to develop the Field Day into an annual event while gradually increasing the number of competitive events that take place in it.”
Just as pretty Arrietty from the film The Secret World of Arrietty lives covertly under the floor, steady Irrietty (Seiji Irie’s nickname) of the General Affairs Committee works quietly behind the scenes to support UTokyo’s athletic environment.
For more information on the Sportia accommodations, please read this issue’s edition of Campus Walk.
What were the prizes given out at this year’s Komaba Field Day?
“Dinner vouchers and Athletic Foundation-branded products.”
What kind of software did you use to make posters?
What makes you glad that you joined the General Affairs Committee?
“That I have many opportunities to meet amazing and influential people.”
What concerns you most about becoming the chairman?
“I’ve started worrying about having to make speeches in front of large audiences.”
What does being “tough” mean to you?
“It means that you have your own firm ideas and opinions about whatever you are doing.”
Seiji before UTokyo
A picture taken on a family trip during spring break before entering the University.