Sookmyung student council helps us in a variety of aspects. It is one of the ways the university listens to student voices and tries to solve dissatisfaction. This month, Sookmyung Women’s University is ready to greet its new student council for a brighter college life. How did the election play out? Will the candidates keep their campaign pledges? The Sookmyung Times covered the process from start to end.
Confrontation Between Answer and Light Up
The 46th student council election saw fierce competition between two parties, Answer and Light Up They both set various election pledges.
Answer pledged to listen to student voices, set up more student service facilities, change the outside image of Sookmyung Women's University, and consider how to revitalize student culture. To hear student voices, the party pledged to use letterboxes, SNSs, and windows connecting the two campuses. To set up additional student service facilities, the party said it would install Sookmyung 119 in the student council room and improve the education environment. Answer's next pledge was to change the school’s external image. It hoped to make SMU wine a special promotion product and design a unique SMU snowflake. The plans were aimed at establishing an improved university reputation. Lastly, to revitalize student culture, the party looked at several methods. Students joining a club or leadership group would be offered more university support, the alumna association would be expanded, and construction of a hall of arts in Cheong-pa would be proposed.
On the other hand, Light Up's pledges were also various. Light Up had 8 policies it wished to address if voted student council representatives. The party insisted on giving students more rights to details of student grading. That is, students who wish to know scoring criteria could request professor feedback. Next, Light Up pledged to detail school finances. Students have the right to know where student union fees are being used. Also, it did not want to raise tuition costs. Light Up said it would protest any raise in tuition fees. The next pledge was to use the campus more efficiently so that classes were not concentrated in Myungshin Building. Knowing the two parties’ pledges, students pondered which promises were more realistic and necessary. Whose pledges touched voter minds? SMT looks at the results.
Student Voices During the Election
During the election, there were various ways to cast votes. The university established PC and mobile voting to polling stations on campus in order to make accessibility simple. Also, the two candidate parties, Answer and Light Up, promoted themselves by handing out publicity materials to students on campus. However, the election was hindered because of its low participation rate. On March 25, the second day of voting, only 8.3% of the student body had come out to vote by noon and only 15.7% by 4 p.m. If an election result does not reach a voter rate of fifty percent, it becomes invalid. To increase the participation rate, text messages were sent to all Sookmyung students to detail the upsetting matter. On the last day of the election, March 26th, a total of 32% of vote were until noon but by 10 p.m, poll closing, it reached 51.66%. Central Election Management Committee volunteer, Park Hyobin, Department of Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality Management ’14 said, “Many voters exercised their right to vote on the last day of the election.” To understand the voices of students, the Sookmyung Times held a survey in order to learn about problems students suffered or deemed happened during the election and the considerable facts when selecting who to vote for. A majority of students felt improvement was needed to systemic problems at the university and also felt this to be the most important role of the student council. In addition, 36% of people surveyed said the quality of the election campaign (e.g. the number of posters) was insufficient. Choi Jisun, Division of Business Administration ’14 said, “I did not see the parties actively campaigning on campus. There were few pamphlets and publicity activities.” Furthermore, survey responses (88%) indicated the considerable facts when choosing the candidate pledges were the most crucial reasons for selecting a candidate. Following this was the interaction with students. Yang So-young, Division of Business Administration ’14 said, “I think communication is the base of everything, and I believe interaction is the key to all problems.” To sum up, Sookmyungians felt that candidates should have focused on systemic improvement during the election. Also, the pledges should be acceptable in order to be elected.
Light Up, Heroine of Sookmyung
10,329 students had the right to vote during the 46th Sookmyung Women's University Student Council Election, but only 5,336 exercised the right. If voter turnout had not reached at least 50%, the election would have been deemed invalid. Luckily, final voter turnout was 51.66%, so a new student council was elected. The vote result was 2,166 in favor of Answer , which came to 40.59%. However, the other candidate party, Light Up, received 2,839 votes, representing 53.20%. Therefore, the new 46th student council came to be Light Up: Park Shinae, Department of Political Science & International Relations ‘11 and Park Heejung, Division of Child Welfare & Studies ’11 took the offices of president and vice-president, respectively. Light Up said a few words upon being elected, "We are grateful for your vote, take the responsibility seriously, and think the most important thing is communication with students and the Head Office of University. Light Up will do its best what we have to do day-to-day." Vice-president Park Heejung continued with, "Thank you for your vote. Light Up didn't just make campaign pledges; we are guaranteeing achievement of our promises to you. Trust Light Up and keep an eye on our actions."
Light Up wants to achieve three big things: break political relationships, build a welfare infrastructure, and improve class quality. First, to sever political ties, they will withdraw from the 21st century Korea Campus Association. SMU students want to sever the link between students and political circles, so Light Up must begin by separating itself from particular political circles. Secondly, after building a welfare infrastructure like Cheong-pa Market, the environment should extend itself to both online and offline settings. Third, Light Up proposed class quality improvement by professors. It wants more feedback provided to students in terms of grades given and to utilize empty classroom on the second foundation Campus. How will Light Up fulfill these pledges? It has yet to provide a detailed plan, but planed the outline frame how they operate the student council. During the spring semester, it is designing a system that eases communication between students and the student council. Fall semester will see better foundation for the next student council.
Light Sookmyungians Up!
The 46th student council election underwent many hardships. This year’s election was not the first time there was low voter turnout. Every year, there is a drop in voter turnout due to declining levels of civic participation. Since every election is a serious matter and influences every SMU person, students should consider the necessity of voting. From now on the new student council, Light Up, should try to satisfy students’ needs. The Sookmyung Times interviewed the new student council, Light Up, to hear its first message to the student body. Here is the comment given: “Since Sookmyungians had great expectations when they voted for us, we will do our best this year for all students. We will be the light that leads Sookmyung students by being honest, transparent, and proud. Thank you!”