Due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Kingos’ campus life of 2020 was totally different from that of 2019. Most school events were canceled and most lectures are being held through online platforms. Amid the chaos of COVID-19, the student council of our university, Iruri has tried hosting several big events such as the student ID card contest, campus web dramas, and an intercampus game league. Also, to improve the quality of online lectures, Iruri worked hard to bridge the gap between students and the university authorities. For the month of December, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) met with the President of Iruri, Park Dong-wook, who shared his feelings and opinions.
Who Is Park Dong-wook?
1. Please introduce yourself.
Hello, my name is Park Dong-wook (Department of Korean Literature in Classical Chinese, 17). I am the President of Iruri, the 52nd Student Council of Sungkyunkwan University’s (SKKU) Humanities and Social Sciences Campus.
2. What was your motivation for deciding to run for the student council?
I received this question several times since I began preparing to run for the student council. Before I answer this question, though, I would like to explain the reason why I joined the student autonomy in the first place. I have always been within the student council since enrolling in university. I worked as my department’s student representative when I was a freshman, president of our department when I was a sophomore, and the president of SKKU’s College of Liberal Arts when I was a junior. I always contemplated what I could do for student autonomy, so I finally decided to run for student council president. I joined the student council not only because I enjoy meeting new people but because I loved the connotation behind the name "Sungkyunkwan", which feels very noble and classic. I wanted to help both our student body and the people outside our university to view SKKU in the same way I did.
|The Logo of the Student Council, Iruri (Iruri Facebook)|
Iruri Through the Tough Period of COVID-19
3. What was the most memorable project of Iruri this year?
Personally, I want to pick the eventful process of preparing meetings to plan and organize educational projects and proposing a refund of our tuition fees. In order to negotiate with the university authorities about the partial refund of our tuition fees, we searched tons of data from other universities in Korea and even universities abroad. As a result, we were able to earn a support fund of one hundred thousand won from the university and also an additional three credits for all Kingos during the first semester. Also, in order to alleviate the strict standards of grading and propose a better system, we compared the grading systems of more than 20 universities. Even though these things that happened behind the scenes were not explicitly revealed, this year was really one of hard work and determination.
4. So what was the toughest period for this year?
Due to COVID-19 and my personal limitations, there were times when I was unable to make progress to the extent that I wanted, and I really felt sorry to everyone that placed their trust in me. These feelings made me feel down from time to time. Also, sometimes, I would find myself feeling helpless, and it drove me to despair. I mostly felt helpless when meetings did not go as planned. For instance, I was disheartened after the negotiations regarding a partial refund of our tuition fees because the result was totally different from the proposals we prepared. Although we proposed either a 15% refund or the provision of a support fund of two hundred thousand won from the university authorities, the results turned out to be very different. Even though one hundred thousand won is not a small amount, as it was far below our expectations, I felt helpless, especially since we went through a thorough preparation period of a few months.
Future Plans of Park Dong-wook
5. What are your goals or plans after finishing your term as a student council president?
As this section is labeled SKKU People, I want to share my personal goals and plans, not as the president of Iruri, but as Park Dong-wook, one of the Kingos. Ever since I was a freshman, I have always been a part of the student council and constantly agonized about how I could contribute to the student autonomy. Thus, I feel a little bit awkward now because I am very relaxed this month compared to the previous years. During November, I would usually be preparing for student elections, and this November feels quite easygoing even though there are still some projects I have yet to complete as the president. As for the past four years, I always thought about organizing events as a representative of the student council, I am now trying to invest more time in thinking about and planning for my own future.
|The Student Council, Iruri (skkuw.com)|
6. Do you have any last words for the Kingos?
Overall, I think this year was very eventful and full of uncertainties. However, I think it would have been the same for all Kingos, as we all suffered similar consequences due to COVID-19. Even though Iruri and I have continuously worked hard this year, I surely recognize that it is surely impossible to meet the needs and expectations of all Kingos. As I look back on 2020, my only hope is that the projects and fruitions of Iruri were able to have been at least a small support for Kingos to overcome the tough period of COVID-19. There are feelings of regret along with a sense of success and satisfaction when I look back at 2020, but for the most part, I really want to say thank you to all the Kingos who supported us and gave us productive feedback. I am sure there is at least one person around every Kingo who is a part of the student autonomy such as the student council or the SKT, and it would be heartwarming to show our appreciation to those friends around us. I truly appreciate the generous support and attention we were given this year, and although my life as an undergraduate student is soon coming to a close, I will continue to support the student autonomy of SKKU. Thank you.