I have to admit– being a Political Science major, I don’t know much about rivers. Coming into the workshop, I wasn’t sure if I could contribute to the discussion at all. When we were first given the challenge, I (along other students) was completely lost and let the other group members who were more knowledgeable of and experienced in the field take the lead. As the discussion went on, however, one idea followed the next and, before we knew it, we were able to draw out a detailed plan.
Using the limited knowledge we have on rivers, from class and the walk through Zenpukuji river, we composed a plan for collecting and turning rainwater into usable water. We combined our ideas of using green roof technology, water tanks, drain pipe systems and sloped roofs to produce our plan. What we thought we couldn’t do became something we could do.
It definitely helped that everyone was supportive of each other’s ideas; we felt more confident to pitch in our ideas, even in a group with professors from prestigious universities. Overall, the workshop was challenging, yet strangely fulfilling. In a way, I felt as if I was an expert on rivers, working with experts in the field and having contributed to a future project in my own little way. It was also inspirational to see a group of people of different ages and from different backgrounds, some of whom are professionals and some enthusiasts, gather and work towards an issue they feel passionate about. Not a lot of people recognize the amount of planning and work that goes into rivers like the Zenpukuji river; not many would learn of the names of the individuals who played a significant role in their development, and yet these people continuously devote their time and effort to a cause they believe in, making working with them truly an honorable experience.