Mana Short is a junior studying International Relations in the Department of Global Studies at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. She is enrolled in Sophia Program for Sustainable Futures, an interdisciplinary program that aims to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and ability to overcome today’s complex sustainability challenges.
Mana is Japanese-American, and she grew up in both the United States and Japan. She loves to travel, learn about different cultures, and explore the outdoors. Mana is passionate about sustainability and social justice issues, with a particular interest in how they intersect. Since high school, Mana has been engaged in climate activism – from political activism to community building work – to raise awareness about environmental issues among youth in Japan. Mana is now actively involved in a university organization called KASA Sustainability that brings together students (both undergraduate and graduate), faculty, staff, and alumni with the mission to (re)connect people with nature and empower one another to live regeneratively. Mana co-leads the campus farming and composting initiatives at Sophia, and organizes events and forums to engage the campus community on sustainability-related topics.
Mana was trained as a University Innovation Fellow in Fall 2021. Since then, she has worked closely together with her team to lead design thinking and youth empowerment workshops for high school and university students. In 2022, Mana’s team organized the SDGs x Innovation Sparker, which was a two-day bilingual event aimed at fostering student-faculty-staff collaborations and sparking solutions for a zero-waste campus. The event brought together approximately 90 students, faculty, and staff members from more than 15 departments at Sophia. Building on this event, Mana helped to create a design thinking workshop toolkit called “Innovation Sparker” that includes useful resources for leading design thinking workshops at the university level (learn more about UIF Sophia’s projects here: https://www.uifsophia.com/).