- 2015: President of Department of Psychology, Head of the Emergency Planning Committee of College of Liberal Arts
- 2016: Chairman of KU Tuition Fee Issue Special Committee
- 2015: Head of the Emergency Planning Committee of College of Political Science and Economics
- 2016: President of the Political Science and International Relations
The beginning of each year is accompanied by changes on campus. On December 10, 2016, the campaign headquarter Eumjul was elected as the 49th Korea University Student Association (KUSA). Although it received a great deal of support from KU students-to-be, many things remain in question regarding the new KUSA. The Granite Tower (GT) met the new student representatives, President Lee Seungjun (’11, Psychology) and Vice President Kim Bohyeok (’14, Political Science and International Relations), to hear their thoughts and discuss the changes they will look to bring to campus.
What motivated you to run for election?
Lee: It was never an easy decision for me to run for presidency as I am not so young anymore and was standing at a crossroads with many different choices. I made up my mind around last summer vacation, hoping to do what I wished to do and to make important changes as a student representative for a year. I met Kim while working on the tuition fee problems project. We were not the closest friends back then, but I personally had a good impression of him. He willingly accepted my proposal to run for election and we have had a good relationship so far. Thus, I am expecting to complete our term without much trouble this year.
It is undeniable that there were voices of concern over the fact that Eumjul was the sole campaign candidate. What do you think about these concerns?
Kim: When we first discovered that Eumjul was the only presidential candidate, we were quite baffled and had to think deeply about many things. However, we were able to avoid political mudslinging, which tends to occur in elections with more than two candidates. In addition, we were in a better position to make pledges that were necessary for students, rather than proposing unrealistic ones to attract more votes.
We do acknowledge the concerns of all students and the relatively low voting rate. Yet, now that the election is over, things will not differ from the KUSAs of previous years in terms of carrying out our policies with confidence as the student representatives chosen by the students.
What is the utmost priority for Eumjul?
Lee: We proposed many policies under the slogan “The Executives Keeping the Basics,” so we have put emphasis on strictly following fundamental principles such as managing conferences and reporting projects. As I have already anticipated, it is not easy to plan, implement, report on, and provide feedback for every single project when new projects are rushing in. However, we have been on the right track up to this point and we believe that things will get better after we adapt to the role.
Can you briefly explain some of the newly introduced projects that Eumjul will pursue?
Kim: There are many policies we have introduced but, of these, Eoullim and the special organization for minorities stand out. As Lee and I have both previously worked as the president of a department, we noticed that there is only one type of communication between KUSA, colleges, and the departments of KU—the vertical mode. We felt that this was a problem. Therefore, we established Eoullim to provide a space in which student representatives from all organizations can communicate, share their issues, and solve problems together. In addition, though it is still a work-in-progress, we are planning to raise awareness of human rights around the campus by establishing a special organization or a conference. By including people in charge of human rights issues from different sectors, we will come up with precautions and correspondence manuals for human rights infringements.
How is Eumjul planning to accede the projects of the previous KUSA, Star:zari ?
Lee: In the case of the education rights movement, we will continue on a smaller scale by having supportive colleges and departments deliver their own proposals to their deans. Star:zari’s dormitory project Dotori—for a better residential environment for students—will also continue. We will also improve the functions of Kupon, the integrated smartphone application for KU, by making suggestions and providing feedback to the Office of Information & Computing, which is in charge of technical aspects. Our plan is to launch a beta version in the middle of March.
How do you think communication between Eumjul and KU students can be enhanced?
Kim: The main problem with the previous KUSAs was that they failed to reply to the students’ requests or complaints promptly. Eumjul aims to begin with minor things, such as posting the name of the person in charge at the bottom of Facebook posts to provide better feedback, and resuming interactions on Koreapas community. In principle, we plan to avoid making decisions unilaterally and to have sufficient time to notify or discuss the issues in advance.
▲ Lee Seungjun (Left) and Kim Bohyeok (Right). Photographed by Kim Seung Hyun.
Eumjul has made a great number of pledges and there is doubt as to whether they can all be fulfilled. What are your thoughts on this matter?
Lee: Although I have never thought that we included too much in the policy booklet, there are many projects that require much labor and detailed planning, which makes the pledges seem too extensive. We are aware of these concerns and the members of the executive office are staying up late almost every day to keep our promises. We are not trying to achieve everything all at once, but we will introduce our plans one by one with maximum effort.
Is there anything you would like to say to KU students?
Lee: We are currently bashing away and will keep working hard while trying to reach out to the students. Our efforts will not be visible to everyone, but I want you to know that we are always making an effort somewhere. The greatest encouragement for us would be attention and feedback from the students of KU. At the same time, please take interest in the society you are engaged in, whether it is a student club, a college, or a department, because even the smallest interest accumulates to produce greater achievements and ultimately this can be a great help for KUSA.