Student Involvement

Willamette University Student Organizations, Activities, and Programsalt

ASP students are traditionally very active at Willamette University participating in student organizations (clubs), events, programs and getting involved in the planning process.  Through involvement, students have the opportunity to make friends, learn about American college life, and develop their skills.  Student organizations are grouped into 10 different categories:

•  Academic organizations
•  Greek organizations
•  Honorary organizations
•  Media organizations
•  Multicultural organizations
•  Performing Arts organizations
•  Religious organizations
•  Service organizations
•  Social and Support organizations
•  Sport and Recreational organizations

A complete, updated list of Willamette student organizations can be found at:

Volunteering on Campus and Beyond

Another way to learn about the United States is through volunteering and community service--an especially important part of American culture.  Volunteering is a chance to meet people, practice English and feel good about helping others.  In these types of activities, ASP students usually join other American volunteers.  For example, students have mentored elementary school students, helped build houses for Habitat for Humanity, served meals at homeless shelters, and worked with animals, handicapped children, and homeless teenagers.  Examples of volunteer opportunities include:

•  Service Saturdays through the Community Service Learning Office
•  Summer vacation volunteer opportunities
•  Explore Japan Day Camp leaders
•  LEAD (Leadership Exploration and Development)
•  Teaching/exchanging language and culture
•  Serving meals at local shelters
•  Origami and other cultural workshops (World Beat Festival, Sakura Matsuri, etc.)
•  Move-in crew during WU freshman & new student arrival (end of August)
•  Class activities
•  Personal interest-driven volunteering
•  Other volunteer opportunities through Willamette and ASP









Volunteer Service Award:

Students who show outstanding commitment to community service will be recognized for their efforts.  Volunteer Service Awards are given to students who complete 100 hours or more of service during their ASP year.

Bronze Level: 100-174 hours

Silver Level: 175-249 hours

Gold Level: 250+ hours

Residential Programs:

Your residence hall will sponsor lots of activities and events.  There are many different opportunities, such as study breaks, coffee house, dances, special dinners, movie nights, trips to Portland or to the coast, ski trips, wilderness hikes or overnight retreats.

Your Resident Advisors (RAs) will sponsor programs around a variety of topics, and plan activities to help the community grow and bond together.

Intramural Sports (casual sports comaltpetitions among students):

Intramural sports are another way to get to know students on campus.  You can play: 3 on 3 basketball, soccer, volleyball, kickball, American football, etc.  Some of the teams are co-ed (men and women on the same team).  Join any sport in which you are interested.  You can even learn new sports -- it's OK to play even if you are a beginner!

LEAD (Leadership Exploration and Development):

ASP student leaders are those students who represent the ASP student body when coordinating campus and off-campus activities.  These student leaders serve in various positions:

  • Associated Students of Willamette University - ASWU (Student Government)
  • Campus Recreation (Intramural Sports, Outdoor Program, Wellness Program)
  • Community Service Learning (volunteering)
  • Residence Hall Association (RHA)
  • Wellamette Event Board (WEB)
  • Willamette Academy
  • and more!

Student leaders work to "form a good relationship with the Associated Students of Willamette University (ASWU), the local community, and ASP students," according to Etsuko Yagi, one of the first leaders.  The Associate Director of Student Life will serve as an advisor and will meet with the student leaders during their weekly meetings to discuss ASP/WU student needs, ideas, programs, and policies.

Cultural Exchange:

ASP students visit and share their cultures with school children, the elderly, and civic organizations throughout the local community. In addition, they also learn something from people in the community about American culture.  It is a great chance to understand the U.S. outside of a college campus experience.  Students may volunteer with the hungry and homeless, Salem schools, neighborhood associations, and other city groups.  It is very important to learn from these exchanges:  making comparisons and contrasts between our countries in order to increase global understanding, using English skills in practical situations, and learning to use local resources while educating people in the community.

Special note: Working with children in the school system requires special training. Because of cultural differences, there are different rules for working with children in the US, and you must follow these guidelines when volunteering with children. All students will be asked to complete a background check in order to volunteer with children in the Salem-Keizer School District.

Explore Japan Day Camp


In the summer, ASP students who like working with elementary-age youth and want an opportunity to share Japanese culture can apply for Explore Japan Day Camp.  Day Camp staff training and planning time is scheduled during the summer semester to prepare for the week of camp during summer vacation.  The staff works together to plan skits, demonstrations, and special activities for the week.

Teachers plan a variety of activities related to language-learning, songs and games, origami, calligraphy, and culture.

Students must demonstrate maturity, creativity, independence, and responsibility to be selected for this program.

Tomodachi "Friendship" Program:

Community members volunteer to be a “friend” for the time that the ASP students are in Salem.  At a “meet-n-greet" in the spring, program participants are introduced to each other.

The program is a way for the ASP students to meet people outside of university borders. It is a friendship program, not a homestay program. One or two ASP students are matched with a participant for the year, or for a semester (Spring—April-June or Fall-Sept.-Dec.). The participant and student should plan to meet at least once a month for an activity such as dinner in the participant's home, celebrating an American holiday, attending a school musical or sports event, go shopping or on a picnic. The student and participants, through their friendship, will have an opportunity to share their cultures with one another.

This program is optional.  If a student signs up to participate in the Tomodachi Program, the student must allow time in his/her schedule to participate in the events that the community member plans.    There is an assignment sheet ("contract") that each participant must complete during the year.  Assignments include telephoning your “host”, e-mailing your “host”, inviting your “host” to lunch or dinner at Willamette University, etc.  It is also important for the ASP students to invite their “host” to various ASP and/or Willamette events.

There are many types of community members who participate, from single parents to older “grandparents” whose children are grown, young couples without children, to young single people. Everyone is welcome to participate.

Many Tomodachi program participants enjoy being matched with two students, so some of the students may share a Tomodachi host.

Many Americans do not smoke so students are asked to not smoke in their Tomodachi’s home unless they permit it.




About Us

Tokyo International University of America

1300 Mill Street S.E.
Salem Oregon 97301


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Equal Opportunity Statement

Tokyo International University of America (TIUA) is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment.  TIUA does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, employment policies, scholarship programs, and other TIUA administered programs and activities.  For the purpose of admission, all students must be formally admitted by Tokyo International University (Kawagoe, Japan) prior to making application to the American Studies Program at Willamette/TIUA.