Recounting the 2015 Spring semester, what emotions come to mind? During the first semester, there were many festivals and programs held by the 47th student council Reflying. Starting from Haeorum Festival to snack coupons send out to all Sookmyungians’ smartphones due to MERS, the student council endeavoured to maintain Sookmyungian’s comfort. However, was all of the effort by Reflying satisfying? The Sookmyung Times investigated student opinion about the student council’s work and their hopes for the next semester.
The Path Travelled
At the end of November 2014, Reflying was elected 47th Student Council by a student majority. According to an interview with SMNEWS, the student council’s top priority was communication with students. The party vowed to keep its promise through three methods: providing contact numbers of each office inside Sookmyung Women’s University, revamping the student council internet homepage, and hosting various social gatherings with the student council. Additionally, the party promised to post essential information like tuition fee amounts on its bulletin board and post a banner detailing school information and schedules every month. At the start of 2015, the student council commenced its work. Here are some of the events held the spring semester by Reflying.
For more information on the student council’s activities, see ON SMU in the Sookmyung Times and SMNEWS. Besides the above mentioned activities, the student council posted useful information like admission tickets to ‘The King of Singer with the Mask’ and discount to plays and musicals for Sookmyungians on Facebook. Moreover, it posted a schedule banner for each month at the front of the Student Union Building as promised. At the end of the semester, the student council handed out an online coupon for snacks to students so that students did not have to go to crowded shops during the MERS outbreak. Reflying did a number of things Spring Semester, but were students satisfied with the work?
Great Satisfaction despite the Few Disappointments
Campaigning, the 47th student council made many promises students. Below is the brief summary of Reflying’s pledges.
Lee Hanna, Division of Law ’14 said, “The student council’s idea of handing out snacks during final exams by means of internet coupons as well as the tidying up of bulletin boards made me feel satisfied with our student council. It has really done its job well compared to last year.” SMT surveyed other Sookmyung Women's University students from July 16th to 23rd in order to investigate student satisfaction. According to survey results, 147 students (68.1%) among 216 students said they were satisfied the student council’s activities during the first semester of 2015. Also, regarding the question “Looking back on the first semester of 2015, do you think communication between the student council and Sookmyung Women's University students has been successfully managed?,” 152 students (70.7%) among 215 students answered ‘Yes.’ Overall, the survey shows that students were content with effort during the first semester. Reflying commented: “Thanks to Sookmyungians' concern, despite imperfection, we concluded the first semester successfully. Next semester, we vow to be a student council that you can trust.”
The two most refreshing activities of the student council, Reflying were the hand out of final exam snacks in internet coupon form and the inclusion of coupons for cafés and restaurants around the school in the 2015 Student Handbook. The idea for distributing internet coupons rose from the concern over the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). According to the survey of 216 students, 195 students (90.3%) were satisfied with the idea. Students who did not like the internet coupon idea stated that they did not receive the coupons, which were sent via a text message. Other students complained that snack items were only provided by GS and that the GS convenience store near Sookmyung Women’s University was not stocking the snacks detailed on coupons. Others said the snacks were not appealing. Despite the negative comments, most students appeared satisfied and felt the coupons to be an innovative and fair choice for all students. Yoon Seongwon, Department of Statistics ’14 said, “The old method resulted in long lineups and much wasted time; moreover, the method was unfair because despite everyone paying the same school fees, students in class were unable to receive the snacks. Thus, provision of internet coupons for students is much more efficient and fair.” Secondly, the idea of adding coupons to the 2015 student handbook was also received well. Unlike past years, this year the handbook included discount coupons for restaurants and cafés near Sookmyung Women’s University. SMT asked students their opinions on this new concept and found that 181 students (84.2%) among 215 students were satisfied with it. Other responses were that the coupons were only for restaurants and cafés rarely visited by students. Some also said that the information on the coupons differed from the actual discounts and terms at the places and that the coupons only enticed students to do more consumption. However, as the survey reveals, most students seemed content and that it was a win-win situation because they could get two birds for one stone.
All is Not Rosy
Reflying is not without controversy. When SMT asked which campus environment improvement election promise Reflying should make top priority, 95 students (44.6%) said they would like Reflying to expand nap rooms. 40 students (18.8%) want it to concentrate on the ‘Smart Sookmyung’ application, 25 students (11.7%) would like improvements to the student cafeterias, and 6 students hoped to see the bulletin boards cleaned and tidied up. In regards to the expansion of resting rooms, most students would like to see that. Representative for Reflying said, “In order to increase the resting rooms, we need space. Unfortunately, the school is unable to expand its facilities at the moment, so we are seeking places on campus that are currently unused or used inefficiently. During the vacation, we hope to reserve more rooms from former users of the remained spaces.” Although Reflying said it would centre on improvements to the campus environment, students still suffer difficulties at the library and when they enroll in courses that use the electronic attendance method.
Reflying also promised to implement a school bus system through its student welfare campaign promise. It did indeed try to start up a bus system in March according to its pledge, but there was little satisfaction from students travelling on the school bus, so Reflying discontinued the school bus service from April. Therefore, SMT asked students: ‘Should the school bus system be reinstated next semester?’ 86 students (39.8%) answered ‘Yes’ but 130 students (60.2%) said ‘No.’ In other words, some people felt there is no need for a school bus system because many students were unhappy with the operation of the school bus in March. In addition, though there were 86 students who wanted the school bus reinstated, they also said they wanted operation improvement. Among the 86 students, 43 students (50%) want lower costs and the other half students want expansion of the bus routes.
Soar Higher the Second Half of 2015
Each member of the student council Reflying was elected to represent Sookmyungians. Therefore, Reflying must recognize that it represents the school and Sookmyungians. Also, it needs to reflect Sookmyungians’ opinions and comment in order to make a desirable school for students. Next semester, all Sookmyungians expect Reflying to become more creative in creating new activities for students and addressing problems spoke of during the campaign process. As the survey revealed, Sookmyung’s student council is receiving the support of students, so SMT expects more support during the Autumn semester. The 47th student council stated: “We plan to continue striving to reach our campaign promises and pledge to ensure a fair election for the 48th student union.”