At a time when our attention has turned to the many incidents that have occurred in the student councils around our school, it seems as if the school itself is not receiving the attention that it deserves. I have heard many discussing the voice phishing scandals that rattled certain departments, but not enough about the school library’s renovation. I have heard various opinions regarding the embezzlement scandal in our Emergency Planning Committee (EPC), but perhaps not as much about the medical school that was once rumored to have been in the school’s plans.
You may wonder where I am going with this, as this piece could be considered little more than a random student’s grumbling complaints about his own school. But I think the disoriented dissatisfactions of students such as these should not be taken lightly. They are too broad and too common to be ignored. Rather, perhaps it is time for both the students and the school to take more interest in each other It is time that we try to understand each other as there is no symbiotic relationship more obvious, and yet more oppressed, than the one between school and student. So, I hope that I can better organize my own grumblings, and those of other students, and offer my own solutions that could potentially bridge the current gap that the students feel between themselves and the school.
Though I am neither an expert nor an insider of the school, I am knowledgeable enough of HUFS to question why it is taking such a long time to build a new library. Of course, renovating the school library, a place in which many of our students rely on to further their studies, to relax, and to interact with the intricacies and whims of books and magazines, is no easy task. It is one thing to erect a new building, and another to replace the cradle of university education. But it must be done someday, and the school did set a timetable (albeit in a somewhat ambiguous manner) that asserted the library’s renovation would be finished around the coming semester. As a student, and as someone who listens to the grumblings of my fellow students, one must wonder when that promise will come to fruition. Though it may be unwise to make quick judgments with the naked eye, it seems as if absolutely no progress is being made with the library. The main problem here is not really the lack of progress being made, but, the issue of broken promises and the lack of reasoning behind such actions. There really have not been many attempts to educate the students on this matter, and now we are confused. Many doubt that they will even get to see a new library before graduation.
Another question I have is the projects that the school is planning. The Songdo Campus, which I believe is being planned to serve as a venue for our Graduate School of Interpretation and Translation in the future, is one project that comes to mind. The medical school that was planned to come to fruition around the end of this decade is another. And I must say that I have a problem with both. The first project seems to come from good intention, but like the library, not much about it is known. Furthermore, with the state of the infrastructure within the two campuses of our school, raising the standards of our existing facilities should be the school’s number one priority. I hope that more information regarding the Songdo campus will be released to our students.
When I was a freshman last year, I came across an opportunity to meet our school’s president in person. It was in autumn, I believe, and the stage was set for the president to make an appearance in front of students brimming with questions to ask. But compared to the hype that the meeting generated, not many answers were given. It could only make one wonder whether the event was meant as a mere formality to momentarily quench the quiet grumblings inside the school. Regardless of its objective or effectiveness, however, I do not believe that this is the solution to the communicating discrepancy between the school and students. Simply answering the questions that students have with ambiguous answers will not help in many ways. Instead, the only way to find a more fundamental solution is for both the school and the students to actively reach out to each other. Our school’s student council should play a more active role as a catalyst, as a bridge to narrow the chasm that isolates the respective sides. The council should do its best to serve its duty as a representative body of the students, and work together with the school to improve communication within the school.
Of course, the main problem here is that we do not have a properly elected student council. It is been a few years, in both our school’s campuses, since a student council managed to receive enough votes to earn the right to represent our school’s students. Rather, the EPC acts as our representatives. Although its members should be commended for their hard work, they are a group with limited power, resources and influence. For the student body to truly function, students must actively use the power given to them, and participate in student elections. It is a well-known fact that for a democracy to work, the people must take active responsibility and actively perform their duties as citizens. The same applies here. If more students take responsibility and vote, we will be able to enjoy the benefits of a student council once again. I believe that this is the crucial first step that we must take in order to hold on to any hope that the vacant space between the school and the student body will one day be filled.