If you need to charge the battery of your mobile phone, where would you go? If your eyes are dry and you need artificial tears, where would you go? If you are a University of Seoul (UOS) student, you could get help from the UOS Student Welfare Committee. Since 1988, the UOS Student Welfare Committee has been working for UOS students as an independent student organization. Even though the committee members strive to do their best for UOS students, students themselves are not actively participating in or using what they are offering. Therefore, I decided to meet the chairperson of the committee. When I contacted Park Song-yi (Department of Philosophy, 09’), the chairperson, she was eager to be interviewed.
What They Do
“We are working to ensure students’ welfare and to contribute to public welfare.” This was the answer I got from her when I asked why they do what they do. When I asked her about what they do, I got much information than I had expected. Firstly, they offer rental services. When it comes to the rental services, you can borrow tools like hammers, sporting equipment, board games and so on. These services are available only during the hours when committee officers are present, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; lunch time is from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Secondly, they offer classes for Chinese characters, certificates related to computers, driver’s license and TOEIC at a cheaper price. What they offer at a discounted price also includes medical services. Thirdly, they are in charge of designating the lockers in Main Library. Plus, they sometimes make group purchases to help students get things at a cheaper price. Furthermore, they arrange events like giving snacks to students who stay up late to study for exams. In addition, for students whose family members live in other regions than Seoul, they offer Buses Returning to Hometowns during national holidays. To contribute to the community, they hold events like Secret Visit by Santa and handing out blood donor cards.
What They Feel
I wanted to hear about the obstacles they encounter while working. They often have a lot of difficulties because they are all students like us, but they work for us at the same time. Even if they are supposed to work until 5 p.m., they sometimes do not leave the office until much later. In these situations, they cannot lend anything to the students visiting the office because they have already set the principles of the rental service to be available only during office hours. When they start making exceptions, people would complain when they cannot be the exception. What makes them feel worse is that this situation often occurs on rainy days. Although they want to lend umbrellas to the students, they cannot do that to follow the rules of the services. Another hardship they face is that they do not have many efficient ways of promoting their activities. Now, they are promoting what they do to students through banners, posters, flyers and online websites like Gwangjang and Facebook. However, they are not satisfied because these cannot reach all UOS students. To make up for this limitation, they had started promotions early, a week or even a month before the events took place. They also made a bulletin board next to the office which is near the back gate of Student Hall. You can check this board frequently to get information about the meaningful events they arrange. You can also get information easily from their website. When I asked her when she and the committee members feel a sense of pride, she said it is when they help others through the activities they prepared. I was impressed with the fact that this was the motivation for their hard work.
Her Story as the Chairperson
I also wondered about the reason why she became the chairperson of the committee. She told me that she became interested in activities of independent student organizations after her term as the member of the Student Council in 2010. She also wanted the opportunity to lead an organization. However, after becoming the chairperson, she realized it is impossible to be a good leader only with passion. To be a good chairperson, she tried hard to assign an equal amount of task to each member. She also focused on forwarding the members’ opinions to other organizations. For instance, she has tried to inform other students that the Student Welfare Committee is totally independent from the Student Council. In 2010, the Student Council managed the Committee because there was no one willing to be the chairperson of the committee. This might confuse UOS students about the position of the committee. To solve this problem, she separated the committee’s work from others’. She also modified the system of the committee to make it more organized. Despite all these things she has already done, she thinks she still has a lot to do.
During the interview I could feel her passion for the committee and her love for UOS students. Her wish to make events more helpful for students and her request for students to use them properly made me smile throughout the interview because they seemed far from her private interests. If you pay attention to the committee’s stories and plans, I am sure you will have a more convenient and beneficial campus life this semester.
The UOS Student Welfare Committee Location Student Hall 104(Office hour 10:00~17:00, Lunch time 12:00~13:30)
Call 02-2210-2342, 010-6385-2341
Facebook Account https://www.facebook.com/uoswelf