Student club DOWNHILL receives President's Award for role in mountain rescue (1 July 2019)

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The annual Kyoto University President's Award recognizes students who have contributed to "redounding the University's prestige" through outstanding academic, extracurricular, or public-service achievements, either as individuals or groups.

The regular award schedule begins in fall with nominations and ends in the following spring with a ceremony, but this academic year the University hosted a special event 1 July to honor members of the outdoor club DOWNHILL, who in May this year contributed to the rescue of an injured and stranded hiker. Two of the members had received a letter of appreciation for their service from the police stations involved.

The ceremony began with Dr Shinsuke Kawazoe, executive vice-president for student affairs and library services, speaking as chair of the student award selection committee and announcing the name of the group being honored. President Juichi Yamagiwa followed by presenting each club member with an award certificate and commenting on the students' contributions. One of the honorees then described the rescue process and responded to questions from the President and EVP, concluding on a high note.

President Yamagiwa, left, presenting an award certificate to one of the DOWNHILL members
DOWNHILL members, President Yamagiwa, EVP Yamazoe, and other ceremony participants
Awardee Category Citation
Outdoor Club DOWNHILL
Representative: Takeru Wakamatsu, third year, Faculty of Engineering
Public service

The club camped from 18 to 19 May 2019 in the abandoned mountain village of Haccho, a part of today's Keihoku Kamiyuge-cho, for a series of welcome activities for new members. On the morning of the 19th, Mr Wakamatsu, alone on his descent from the campsite through a densely wooded area with no phone reception, spotted a man, wrapped in an emergency blanket. He had been unable to walk for the past week due to injuries sustained from a fall. Mr Wakamatsu managed to contact and ask a fellow club member to make an emergency call. This resulted in local fire and police departments dispatching rescue teams to the area where Mr Wakamatsu helped to swiftly locate and transport the victim out of the woods for medical attention.

For these contributions, Mr Wakamatsu and one other DOWNHILL member each received a letter of appreciation from the police stations involved.

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