What are the privileges of being a university student? Some might answer with a passionate love of a lifetime, and some might claim the never ending pool of study. Nevertheless, the members of the Korea University Project Incubating Community (KUPIC) pitch a different answer to the question. They unanimously insist that the opportunity to change the society is the one and only prerogative given to the youth. Opening the door to new challenge and hope they shout, “People, let’s begin the project!”
In Korea, most university students consider youth as something personal. Some pour soju down their throat, watching the moon turn into the sun. Some stick their bottoms onto chairs, studying with piles of books on the table. They spend their times doing something they had not been allowed to as high school students and luxuriate in the freedom they have been given. Their vision of society is narrow, encompassing only close friends and family. Nevertheless, there are also some who see youth as the precious opportunity ascribed to bettering the society as a whole. They are the members of KUPIC, the school club for societal and cultural projects.
KUPIC is generally short by the years of foundation, yet highly prospective among the existing KU clubs by its passion and sociality. The club’s activities are centered on three main projects that are planned for the advancement of the community in both ethical and cultural ways. The names of the projects are as follows: Mirinae, the God of Reversal, and Feast. Each of the tasks has distinctive characteristics and is executed progressively without any pause. Mirinae, among the three, is currently the project that is the most promising and successful. The others are on the way to being launched and have further way to go.
▲ 1 The signpost of Mirinae on the door of Bean Tree cafe in KUPhotographed by Kim Jung Ik2 The chart of suspended food in the restaurant, Shinuiju-Chapssal-Sundaeguk inKU, under Mirinae project. Provided by KUPIC3 The members of the God of Reversal after their lecture in Kwangdong highschool. Provided by KUPIC
Why Don’t You Pay for Him?
“When I first founded the club, I did not know for sure, but supposedly I hoped to see the milk of human kindness”, said Lee Jung Joon ('09, Business), the leader of KUPIC when first asked about the beginning of Mirinae project. Mirinae is a Korean verb meaning “pay beforehand.” As what can be inferred from the literal meaning, the project is about people paying money for the others who would come next.
▲ The representatives of Mirinae project in KUProvided by KUPIC
It has been only couple of years since the club has been found. However, with creative intention and active social functioning, skilled members were soon recruited in a twinkle of an eye. For the Mirinae project, they surveyed the restaurants and cafés around KU and Anam Station for available project places. The cooperation began with the coffee shop named Bean Tree 200.25 and branched out into a total of seven shops including Korean food restaurant Shinuiju-Chapssal-Sundaeguk and noodle restaurant Gogi-guksu last year. Allthe shops collaborating are listed and advertisedon the Facebook page, where the number ofonline friends is increasing day by day. “KUPICis continuously creating a scheme to stretch therange of the project out to the whole country”,asserted Lee when asked about the future plans.
▲ The main logo of Mirinae in KUProvided by KUPIC
Mirinae is actually the most proceeded project among the three. Unexpectedly, a number of shops granted the request of the rookie club, and it became possible for more students to participate in the project. This shows proof of the remaining hope of people joining the purpose of altering the cold atmosphere of the society warm and cozy. “I decided to suspend a cup of coffee myself as soon as I saw the pamphlet of Mirinae. The idea was so fresh in the community of individualism and I think the money is worth paying for the difference”, said Kang Minsu ('13, College of Liberal Arts). The project that began with only a shabby idea of one student is likewise helping to change the self-centered culture of the university community.
Other two projects, the God of Reversal and Feast, are still in the planning stages. The God of Reversal is structured for the encouragement of frustrated youth after the hail of failure, and Feast is for university students who are on the verge of forgetting how to amuse themselves. Compared to Mirinae, they are still behind much advancement. But considering how Mirinae first developed in such a short period of time, they are definitely worth looking forward to. “The beginning can be trivial, but the result will be glorious”, cried Lee Seung Ryeol ('13, School of Journalism and Mass Communication), the leader of God of Reversal. He likewise displayed much hope and yearning in blooming the project step by step without testiness.
The Door Is Always Open
Any KU student tempted by KUPIC’s aspiration and fervor can always join KUPIC. That may be the utmost virtue of a rookie school club with less participants enrolling. There are as much as three divisions to apply for according to the student’s interest. The divisions are, of course, the teams for each three projects respectively. Regardless of age, grade, department, or sex, students are free to take part in it. The only requirement is to bring a backpack full of passion.
“I hope to call KUPIC the embodiment of business-design”, asserts Lee Jung Joon. The overall infrastructure and management of KUPIC can be penetrated with that single term “businessdesign.” Like the core notion of the club rounded with warmth and consideration, the members of KUPIC are not so interested in dominating or plundering ideas of the project. They first propose all the items for the project and then collect them together. Afterwards, just like designing a map, leaders of the project divide all the sources and human labor depending on each member’s talent and desire.
Quiet laughter and hopeful voices had been the only thing that could be heard in the Bean Tree café, mentioned above. “To me, KUPIC is not the acronym for KU Project Incubating Community. It is KUPICNIC, literally KU picnic”, said Lee Seung Ryeol with a wide grin. To the members of the small club, the time they spend sharing ideas and dreams is something special. They conceive their time together in a small café as something memorable and invaluable, like a short picnic while the sun is out. Needless to say, this is the moment they share their dazzling youth altogether.
KUPIC is undoubtedly a great choice to escape the gates of the school and wade into the larger pool of society. Breaking the wall of their 20s, students can test their own abilities as grownups and draw out their own scheme of a desirable world on an empty canvas. With their two hands and two feet gathered around, they may well come to see the changes brewed by the power of youth.
Recruiting Information: For further information, please contact Lee Jung Joon 010-2980-2523