Was It Really New Days?
Was It Really New Days?
  • Lee Cho Myunghyun, Jin Lim You
  • 승인 2013.12.09 17:34
  • 댓글 0
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Can you recall the half-priced lunch sale?  The Student Union led this sale in direct protest of Shinsegae’s sudden-and without public notification-cafeteria price increases.  The half-priced lunches were offered by the SMU Student Union, 2013Newdays.  The Union was elected by SMU students to serve them, but not the Union’s time draws to an end.  How many Sookmyungians realize the electoral commitment of their choice?  Furthermore, how many Sookmyungians actually communicated with the Student Union?  The Sookmyung Times investegated this-or lack of-communication and proposes solutions to better communication between the student body and Student Union.


2013 Newdays Nominated as Spokeswoman
Imagine one day your friend says to you, “I want to officially complain about the facilities at Sookmyung Women’s University.”  How would you answer?  Perhaps you might say, “Try bringing up your concern with the Student Union.”  As the name indicates, the Student Union represents students.  It endeavours to make student voices heard; that is, it acts as spokesperson for all students.  This year, the 45th Student Union vowed communication between the Student Union and Sookmyungians.  2013Newdays was the slogan used by the Student Union, meaning “From daily life to essential life, it’s a new day.”  In other words, the Student Union acted aggressively towards a new means of communication.  2013Newdays is comprised of four separate divisions: policy, project, publicity and financing.  Each division is interrelated.  To learn what each department does, we need to take alook at how the Student Union departmentalizes its activities.  First, the policy division deals with basic office work such as election pledges.  The second is the project division, which reports on various activities and women-oriented seminars for Sookmyungians.  The third is the publicity division.  It informs students via the Internet or advertisements on the Student Union homepage or Facebook page.  Especially, from this year the Facebook page for 2013Newdays has been proven to be very useful as a means to inform students about activities.  Finally, the finance division deals with the accounting budget.  Like this, the Student Union has divided its activities and has geared them towards Sookmyung Women’s University.  The 45th Student Union, 2013Newdays has pledged to reduce university tuition costs, so Park Myungeun and Yoon Hyewon assumed responsibility for this task as Student Union representatives.  Seven of the Student Union pledges were related to communication with Sookmyungians and student welfare policies.




Kim Hayoung, Department of Global Cooperation ’13 said, “I couldn’t attain enough detailed information about SMU activities through the SMU website.  However, the 2013Newdays Facebook page helped my friends and I to comprehend the Union’s activities better.  Finally, the Student Union can hear students’ real wants easily.”  Also, one staff member from the Office of Student Affairs said, “The 45th Student Union helps students better actively participate in activities.  It is valuable because most students lack information of operating events but have clear ideas on activities they wish to see carried out.



Broken Promises
The 45th Student Union 2013Newdays worked to meet Sookmyungians’ needs.  It worked in various fields doing various types of activities, which were discussed above in the sections: student autonomous activities, culture, welfare and special lecture.  However, the Student Union, which represents students, did not meet all campaign pledges.  Many Sookmyung Women’s University students requested a student welfare center.  Yoo Subin, Department of Business Administration ’13 stated, “When I am up all night studying for an examination, I need a place to take a short rest for a while.  Until now, I cannot find any such welfare center on campus.”  The Student Union promised to arrange such a place, but it failed to do so.  Student President Park Myungeun said, “I endeavored to create a place of rest but there is a lack of space for such a facility on campus grounds.”
To make matters worse, the Student Union at SMU is a very have been doubted to be concerned with some politically sensitive issue.  Many students think that Student Union members should not get heavily involved in political affairs and remain neutral.  Lim Jeongeun, Department of English ’13 said, “I think the Student Union is too interested in social political affairs.  Everyone knows that being part of the Student Union helps one to build up a career in politics.  It seems to me that Student Union members are more interested in their career plans than students.”  According to Park Myungeun, Student President, the organization is doing its best to meet the needs of students.  She claims that during the on-going debate about lowering tuition fees, a majority of Student Union members fought for student’s rights through various activities.  However, there were claims that the student Union 2013Newdays is biased towards extreme left-wing deviationism of the progressive party.




The thing that students felt unsatisfied is the ‘Communication.’  A lot of students feel the Student Union is their voice on campus.  The Student Union admits communication with students in the past was problematic since lots of students were kept out of the loop on what was really going on within the organization and upcoming events.  The Student Union opened a Facebook enables direct contact with others to discuss problems on campus.  Active communication on Facebook is to directly talk to people in person about any problems around the campus.  However, this communication is not genuine communication with Sookmyungians.  For instance, on Communication Day, held by the Student Union, only forty students participated in actual events.  Students were notified about events through Facebook but didn’t attend events geared at easing communicating with the Student Union.  Although the Student Union held special events aimed at hearing student opinion, the events were not connected by sincere communication.  Kim Gina, Department of Food & Nutrition ’12 said, “I feel uncomfortable talking to the Student President because the open place made to communicate did not secure an individual’s privacy.”  According to a Student Union member, the reason that weather is was bad resulted inlower student participation than expected.


Fix Your Compass and Follow It
Then, to resolve problems, what does the Student Union actually do?  At first, it understands the value of real communication and knows what to do for students.  In case of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, its Student Union held a public hearing to hear the ideas of all candidates.  The candidates of that election were only one group, so the public hearing was effective.  At the public hearing, students asked for results of an assessment about the former Student Union.  The Student Union had to reflect on its past actions and inactions and fix those problems.  The greatest advantage of the public hearing was that the current Student Union promised to fix issues by listening to students’ voices.  SMU’s Student Union tends to communicate only online via Facebook, on the Sookmyung homepage board, or on the board at school.  At Hankuk University of Foreign Studies’ public hearing, the university’s papers asked questions at first, which implies its Student Union and university papers communicate.  However, SMU was not.  To communicate effectively, students have to use the SMU university papers more effectively.
Second, an organization that supervises the Student Union’s activities is needed.  Earlier this year, at Sunchon National University, a gang seized control of the Student Union.  A member of a gang in the Sunchon region became Student Union president and embezzled public funds.  Media said this accident occurred because of the absence of an organization to oversee Student Union activities.  Sookmyung Women’s University has forty leadership groups, all of which were founded for the realization of women leadership.  However, no organization watches the Student Union.  To make our student body clear, students should gather for their rights, if not only making organization. 
Third, there are not only problems with the Student Union, but also with SMU students.  The present Student Union was a sole candidate.  If there had been opposition, student would have put more thought into their vote and assumed more responsibility for their choice.  Students should show interest in Student Union activities, and make they have fairness during election.  Also, during the Student Union election period, the current Student Union gave students snack to entice them to vote.  Voting is the duty of students, but students avoid casting votes, which is the same as abandoning their right.  If they really want SMU to be great, they should do exercise their right.
The 2013Newdays had problems communicating and keeping campaign pledges.  The next Student Union should know problems with the former Student Union and make more chances to talk with students.  And, they need to hear students’ real voice through their own survey.  Students’ participation is also important.  Students must think about their choice carefully.  The right choice is a compass to your activities.



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