Noonsong, who was studying for an exam, got hungry and decided to eat some food at night. She opened the dormitory refrigerator to eat the sandwich she had bought before. However, it had disappeared, and she realized that someone had stolen it. She noticed that not only herself but also quite a few students had had their personal items stolen, so she checked the CCTV to catch the criminal. After she was able to identify the culprit through CCTV, she felt uncomfortable about this happening in the dormitory. She thought new preventive measures related to theft were needed.
The dormitory is a student's second home
Sookmyung Residence Hall is a dormitory of Sookmyung Women's University and has been in operation since 1906 when the school was established. There are a total of 278 rooms from the first basement to the eighth floor, but the first basement floor is currently closed. Sookmyung Residence Hall, which can accommodate a total of 553 people, randomly selects dormitory residents, unlike "Twin City," which prioritizes students from distant provinces. On the first floor of the dormitory, there is a security room, a study room, a laundry room, and an administrative office. In addition, there is a dessert hall where students can eat and drink, and a vending machine where they can buy beverages and cup noodles. The second to eighth floors are composed of student rooms. Sookmyung Residence Hall is the closest dormitory to the school, and it is well-regarded for effectively reducing the time and cost of commuting to school. However, there is constant dissatisfaction with the random selection method and one-year residence restriction. Some point out that this random selection method and residence restriction do not consider the students living far away from school. An anonymous student of the Department of English Language and Literature said, "It was important to get into the dormitory because my house was too far from school. However, it was very difficult to predict whether or not I would get in because the distance between the school and my home did not affect the selection method of the dormitory." Unlike other dormitories that select students living in distant regions first, SMWU has different selection criteria, making it unpredictable.
Living in Sookmyung Residence Hall does not always lead to a comfortable and satisfying dormitory life. The dormitory has a duty to ensure students' comfortable lives as if they are at home. However, some of the facilities of the dormitory are old, so there are often cases where students are inconvenienced when using them. While pointing out the poor facility maintenance, an anonymous student of the Department of Computer Science said, "From the first day I entered the dormitory, the desk stand provided by the dormitory was broken. Despite requesting for repair immediately, the administration only said it would fix them, but did not act quickly. In the end, it was not fixed even during the exam period, so I had no choice but to study with the stand I brought from home." When using Sookmyung Residence Hall, it is not possible to get repairs for the facilities immediately when they fail, but only after requesting repair through the Sookmyung portal. On the other hand, applying for a repair request does not mean that the work will proceed immediately. Many students have reportedly expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the repair of the facilities has not been carried out smoothly.
Follow the voices of the students
SMT conducted a survey to find out what students thought of Sookmyung Residence Hall. The survey was limited to those who lived in Sookmyung Residence Hall from 2019 to 2022. In the survey, SMT asked whether students were satisfied and if they felt any inconvenience, which part was the most inconvenient. Also, SMT asked which parts should be improved if needed. The survey included multiple responses per student in order to reflect their opinions more accurately and diversely. First of all, when asked how satisfied they were with the dormitory, 6 out of 51 (11.8%) of the students said they were "very satisfied" and 29 out of 51 (56.9%) of the students said they were "generally satisfied."1) On the other hand, 14 out of 51 (27.5%) of students said they were "generally dissatisfied," and 2 out of 51 (3.9%) of students said they were "very dissatisfied." For why the dormitory was satisfactory, 35 out of 36 (97.2%) of the respondents said, "reduction of time and cost of commuting to school." 17 out of 36 (47.2%) said the "cost burden was not large relative to the facility," while 12 out of 36 (33.3%) said, "the overall satisfaction with the facility itself was high." On the other hand, 16 out of 24 (66.7%) of respondents who answered that they were dissatisfied with the dormitory chose "the water temperature" indicating the biggest inconvenience to the facility. The second was due to various theft cases, while the third was due to poor heating and cooling. Gil Yeonseo, Division of Law '21, said, "In order to take a warm shower because the hot water did not come out, I had to leave the water on for at least 40 minutes before taking a shower. Also, not all the floors of the dormitory had hot water, but only certain ones. Even though everyone paid the same dormitory fee, it felt unfair that I needed more time to shower with warm water." She pointed out that the problem with the water temperature has not been solved well.
When asked if improvement is needed in terms of facilities and services of Sookmyung Residence Hall, 41 out of 51 (80.4%) chose "yes." The majority of the respondents said that the situation needs to be improved. Among the reasons why they thought improvement was necessary, 24 out of 42 (57.1%) said it was because they had "similar inconveniences before but did not improve." Following this, 19 out of 42 (45.2%) said they "often feel uncomfortable when using it for a long time," and 13 out of 42 (38.1%) said they "don't want other students to feel uncomfortable." When asked what kind of problems continue to exist before, 19 out of 36 (52.8%) of the respondents said they had had "personal items stolen," indicating that a solution to prevent theft is urgent. Subsequently, 18 out of 42 (50%) pointed out "problems with inconsistent water temperature," 16 out of 42 (44.4%) who said "unresolved noise between floors" and 12 out of 42 (33.3%) said "insufficient heating and cooling." It indicates that facility-related problems continue to occur. In addition, when asked what the school needs to improve, 21 out of 46 respondents (45.7%) chose "hot water-related problems during the shower." And 19 out of 46 (41.3%) answered "noise between floors and corridors." Meanwhile, this survey did not include this, but many students said that "administrative office service and attitude improvement" was needed. For example, Kwon Sumin, Department of Business Administration '21, said, "I injured my finger and went to the administration office to get some treatment. It certainly wasn't dinner time, as I remember, but the staff complained about why I had come at dinner time when it wasn't urgent. My injured hand was not treated because it was almost evening." She revealed the lack of care of the administrative office service. Due to this, some say that the administration office, which is responsible for communicating with students and enabling them to speak up easily against any difficulty, is failing to function properly.
True communication is necessary, not superficial
Based on the survey results, SMT shared the opinions of students with the administrative office of Sookmyung Residence Hall and conducted an interview with regard to the questions left by the students. Prior to the interview, the administrative office team looked at the questions left by the students and expressed regret that the inconvenience would have been resolved quickly if students had contacted the administration office. First of all, SMT asked about the plan to extend the residence period of the dormitory, but was told there was no plan to extend it. Since the facility has a small capacity, it has to give more opportunities to new students. Also, SMT asked about the selection of resident students by a random draw except for those whose priority selection had already been specified. The students' opinion was that the criteria for selecting roommates also needs a change, so SMT asked if they were thinking of changing the criteria for selecting roommates. However, they replied that the criteria for selecting roommates cannot be changed, since roommates cannot be divided based on personal information such as smoking. Regarding the lack of facilities for air conditioning equipment, they said, "We clean the filters regularly every year, but we can't prevent foreign substances from accumulating in the filter." Even if cleaning is done regularly, it is natural for foreign substances to enter when the device is operated, so if students feel the dust is severe during use, the dormitory will take action if they ask the administration office. Regarding inter-floor noise and theft cases, it was confirmed that students' consideration and compliance are important, and it is difficult to solve the problem of noise separately. However, regarding the theft, the dormitory said that if the criminal is identified after checking the CCTV, the criminal has to leave according to the dormitory rules. Also, the administrative office said the dormitory had recently repaired the boiler pump for the hot water issue which had been pointed out as the biggest problem in the survey. On the other hand, despite the fact that the repair had been carried out, a student said in an interview that the water still had to be turned on for 30 minutes to an hour in advance to take a shower with warm water.
In response to the late repair problem, which was one of the next biggest inconveniences for students, they said repair responsibility fell to the school Facility Management Center, not Sookmyung Residence Hall itself. As the facility team manages not only the dormitory but also all the school facilities, it may be delayed because there is an order. In response to the opinion that the system of moving rooms during vacation is inefficient, they replied that they could not help in this aspect. They are worried about energy waste because only few students use the dormitory during vacation. At the same time, they say that they cannot eliminate the room movement system because they use vacant rooms during vacation for special programs in the school. Regarding the security of Sookmyung Residence Hall, they said, "We will conduct interviews and education for security guards. Also, we are considering installing additional security equipment for the safety of students." Then, SMT asked about the curfew adjustment during the exam period. The office said, "We will not give a penalty for two weeks after 1 a.m., but for their own safety, students should not leave the dormitory after 1 a.m.." It does not prevent students from coming home late after studying, but when considering the safety of students, they will be punished for going out late after returning home. SMT also asked about the basic ingredients such as cooking oil in the dormitory kitchen, but they said ingredients would not be provided due to hygiene management problems. Finally, when asked what they thought of the students' dissatisfaction with the dormitory administrative office's unfriendly service, they dismissed it by saying that they would educate their employees to always be warm and kind to the students.
Student's right to feel at home in the dorm
The dormitory is one of the facilities representing the school where students who are connected directly to the school live. It has an obligation to guarantee students the right to enjoy a more comfortable life. However, there have been several incidents there such as hot water problems and thefts, which have not guaranteed the comfortable lives of the resident students. In order for students to live in a safe and satisfactory dormitory, it needs to be sincere in its communication.
1) The total number of students who have lived in Sookmyung Residence Hall for the past three years, with a survey participation rate of about 3.07%