Learning Beyond the Classroom
Students from Okayama University, Okayama Prefectural University, and Okayama University of Science recently took part in the “Forest, Timber, and Wooden Architecture” project held in Maniwa City, Okayama Prefecture from September 18 to 22, 2023.
The workshop, a joint effort between Okayama University’s Green Innovation Center and Maniwa City Hall, aimed to provide students with practical knowledge about the timber industry, from forestry to wood processing and commercialization.
A Comprehensive Learning Experience
During the workshop, 32 students (21 undergraduates and 11 graduates) actively engaged in hands-on activities, including forest surveying using drones, site visits to log markets, sawmills, CLT factories, and biomass power plants.
They also had the opportunity to explore large CLT buildings and participate in discussions with professionals across the lumber supply chain. This holistic experience offered them insights that go beyond what can be learned in a classroom setting.
Bridging Academia and Industry
Professor Noboru Nakamura (Specially Appointed) of the Green Innovation Center, Professor Daisuke Narumi of the Faculty of Environmental, Life and Natural Sciences, Associate Professor Koji Fukumoto (Specially Appointed), and Associate Professor Hamoud Al-Washari provided on-site guidance throughout the workshop, bridging the gap between academia and industry.
Insights and Ideation
The students received lectures on industry trends and the challenges faced by the forestry and timber industry in Maniwa City. They also engaged in an ideation, which culminated in a discussion session at Maniwa City Hall on the final day. The students shared their insights and ideas with city officials and wood industry stakeholders, sparking lively discussions about the future of the timber industry.
Fostering Future Wood Enthusiasts
Through this immersive experience, students gained a holistic understanding of the timber supply chain and the challenges faced by the industry. One participating student expressed their desire to take action:
“There are many problems in the wood industry that are difficult to solve, but I would like to try something that even students can do, such as club activities to help younger generations understand wood better.”
A Collaborative Learning Journey
This enriching workshop was made possible thanks to the collaborative efforts of individuals within the timber industry in Maniwa City. Moreover, it received essential support from the Maniwa City Off-Campus Training Support System.
The students’ hands-on learning experience has not only provided valuable insights into the timber industry but also holds the promise of exciting prospects for the future endeavors of Okayama University.