Before every semester starts, there are some changes that take place either on or off the campus. Some changes can significantly impact Korea University (KU) students. One recent change that seems to have negative influence on KU students is the shutdown of Bubbterria, the cafeteria located in the College of Law Building.
As buildings in KU campus are dispersed, students can find it burdensome to eat meals and rush to their next classes, especially when they have classes in third, fourth and fifth period in a row. For students who have classes near the Economics and Political Building where there are many restaurants, having a quick lunch is not much of a big problem.
▲ College of Law Building located in the center of KU campus. Provided by korealawschool.com.
However, students who have classes in the center of the campus such as in the College of Law Annex or College of Law Building, find it hard to eat lunch quickly because there are few places to choose from. For such students, Bubbterria which is located in the College of Law Building, is a real life-savior.
▲ Cheap prices of foods provided in Bubbterria. Photographed by Kim Jung Ik.
Bubbterria serves a variety of food that students can have, starting from chocolate bars to Bibimbab. Most of the food is prepared beforehand so students do not have to wait long to eat. Most importantly, the prices are very cheap compared to other restaurants near campus, which is another reason for students to form an attachment to Bubbterria.
The main reason why Bubbterria is closing is that the school is transforming the professors’ lounge on the first floor into an office room for the Law School’s vice president. Because of this, the professors’ lounge is going to be moved to where the Bubbterria is now.
There were a series of alterations in plans and disputes between the school and the cafeteria. At first, the school announced in September of 2012 that Bubbterria would close in December of 2012, even though it had a contract until February of 2013. However, the school once again unilaterally told the cafeteria to stay open until June of 2013 because there was a change in construction plans.
Meanwhile, in June of 2013, a new president of the Law School was nominated, and the issue of Bubbterria faded from lack of attention. But in December, it rose to the surface again. The school intimidated the cafeteria, saying that if they do not close the Bubbterria, the school would provide neither water nor electricity. In January, there was a final announcement from the school stating Bubbterria must close in June of 2014.
Bubbterria is being frequented by many students who have classes in the College of Liberal Arts, College of Law, College of Education and Business School. A survey conducted by Korea University Student Association (KUSA) on the issue of Bubbterria showed that as many as 97% percent of Law School students strongly disagreed with its closing.
The Director of Education and Welfare of KUSA said, “It is such a pitiful situation that Bubbterria is being shut down since it provided convenience to students not only for its location but also for its price. The school should not have unilaterally notified the cafeteria without considering others’, especially the students’ opinions.”
In order to solve students’ lunch predicament, KUSA negotiated with the school to build a new cafeteria on the sixth floor of the College of Law Building. However the new cafeteria will only be equipped with vending machines which will not be satisfactory to students. Also, many questions still remain because the sixth floor is an open-air terrace. Moreover, the quality of food may not be the same as that of Bubbterria.
Kim Chang Hyun (’13, Business) said, “Bubbterria was such a nice place to quickly have lunch and with the cheap price and high quality food, it was less burdensome for students. Even if there will be a new cafeteria, it might not be hygienic since it is exposed to open air and not as tasty as Bubbterria.”
Park Jong Han ('11, International Studies) said, “It is so sad that a place where students can have cheap lunch is going to be closed. Also, I was quite disappointed at how the school notified the cafeteria.”
One of the biggest problems regarding this issue was how the school notified the cafeteria. Throughout the process, the school should have considered the opinions of students and people working in the cafeteria. However, the school just notified the result they came up with through meetings with professors. KUSA added, “If the school had considered the students’ situation, there would have been a more reasonable decision which almost everybody could be satisfied with.”
It is inevitable that there will be changes on campus due to school’s new circumstances. Change does not have to be good or bad, but how changes are made is important. To come up with rational decisions, KU should communicate with students and KUSA as much as possible rather than intimidate the people who are affected by the planned changes.
▲ Students eating meals in Bubbterria. Photographed by Kim Jung Ik.
▲ Students waiting in line to pick up their meals. Photographed by Kim Jung Ik.