• Maasa Furumori

FAFA Special: APU Questions!

Our theme this time: the APU fountain !

“What times of day does the APU fountain operate?”

“Why is it on at some times and off at others?”

“Is it true that the water is pumped up higher on Open Campus days and when there are important visitors around?”

Queries like these sometimes come up in conversations among APU students.

Let’s see if we can answer them!!

In the hope of unearthing the secrets of APU’s fountain, SPA interviewed the expert on the fountain, Sugimoto-san from the Administration Office.

But first: What’s the Administration Office anyway..?

The Administration Office is not just in charge of the fountain. It handles such things as the management and setup of the facilities on APU campus and renovation work in each building. Examples include repairing the automatic doors in the Cafeteria, maintenance work in AP House, blinds in classrooms, and the installation and renewal of outdoor benches and waste disposal bins.

Did you notice that automatic doors were installed between the F Building and F-II Building this spring?

The Administration Office made this improvement using a subsidy from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. There are some students in wheelchairs at APU, and the doors were installed to make it easier for them to move around.

But that’s not all that the Administration Office does!

Its other duties include managing statements of payment for student fees and other payments, and “general affairs,” which includes personnel management and salaries.

It may be difficult for students to feel a connection with the Administration Office’s work, but it’s actually closely related to our lives at APU, right?

Now then, let’s tackle our main topic: the fountain!!!

Sugimoto-san Interview (8)

Question 1: What times of day does the fountain operate?

There are probably many people who know the answer to this one: basically, the fountain operates in the break times between class periods. However, it does not go on between first and second periods, or between fifth and sixth periods, or later in the day (after sunset). According to Sugimoto-san, the reason that the fountain is turned on between classes is very simple:

For APU students.

“We run the fountain in the hope that it will be of some help to students in the short breaks between classes, inspiring them to do their best in their studies each day.” To save on running costs, however, the fountain is only turned on during break times, when students are moving around campus the most.

Question 2: How long has the fountain been around?

The fountain has been here since APU opened in the year 2000.

Question 3: Is the fountain cleaned?

The fountain is cleaned twice a year, once in summer and winter, before the Entrance Ceremony and the Graduation Ceremony. The Entrance Ceremony is a major event that welcomes new students to our campus, while the Graduation Ceremony celebrates the time students have spent at APU and launches them into the wider world.

Question 4: Who actually operates the fountain?

Have you ever been to the Central Security Office? It’s where you go if you’ve lost something on campus. And it’s also where the fountain is operated from! You may know that the Central Security Office also houses the equipment used in all sorts of events and handles transportation and installation.

Down the back of the Central Security Office there is an area where staff from Kajima Corporation and Asahi Environmental Management work on tasks including the maintenance of campus facilities. I went in to take a look around the office. It was full of devices that looked too complex for me to operate. Among them was a computer that controls the fountain, and I got to see how it worked.

Sugimoto-san Interview (7)

This computer controls the fountain. The running times between classes are programmed in, and the computer switches the fountain on an off automatically. So the fountain is actually operated from a single computer.

Question 5. How high can the fountain jet go?

The fountain can pump water to three different heights. The lowest is 2.5 meters, then 4 meters, then 6 meters. Usually the fountain is on its lowest setting, 2.5 meters. This is because the weather around the APU campus can change throughout the day, and if there is a strong wind it can splash the water on people passing by.

The height of the fountain wasn’t altered even when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made his visit to APU in 2013.

It is definitely not true that the height of the fountain changes when VIPs visit campus!

Students, we have now resolved the question that was bothering us all the most.

But wait a minute, I could swear that the fountain is sometimes pumping higher than usual. I quizzed Sugimoto-san once more, just to make sure.

“Well,” he replied, “when I’m in a good mood, the fountain always jets higher!”

Hmmm . . . so it seems that Sugimoto-san’s mood can alter the height of the fountain?!

This is one of the mysteries of the fountain that only Sugimoto-san can explain.

Question 6: Is it true that you get expelled if you step into the fountain water?

“Let’s just say yes, that’s what happens,” laughs Sugimoto-san.

Stepping in by mistake is one thing, but the consequences are severe for anyone up to some kind of mischief.

So students: I’m sure you really don’t need reminding, but please, please do NOT step into the fountain.

Finally, a message from Sugimoto-san

“We put students first in all the work we do. Whether it’s operating the fountain or managing the other facilities on campus, the priority is to make students happy. Our aim in operating the fountain is to motivate students in their studies and give them a sense of peace. So we certainly do not adjust the height when VIPs come to campus!

If the fountain seems higher than usual to you, put it down to my positive mood. (laughs) I wish all students the best in their studies. We are looking out for you.”

So what did you think?

I hope that at least some of your questions have been answered. See you in the next special feature!