We have probably run into the workers at HUFS. Since HUFSans are busy with their daily lives, they forget who is nearby working for the facilities and educational sites of HUFS. Is it possible to understand them just by looking on the surface? To mark Labor Day, The Argus looks into their working environments and their stories.
At 6:25 a.m., most people are in sweet sleep. But from this early morning, there was a woman who was bustling on the first floor of Global Campus Dormitory A. The woman, who looked about 155 centimeters tall, was heading for somewhere with a trash bag her size. She went into the restrooms on the first floor.
“Someone threw up in here again,” she said.
Anyone seeing vomit might be annoyed, but her voice was not an irritating voice. It was muffled with the sound of spraying water and washing the floor.
She introduced herself. She is Seo Yeon-ok and is 61 years old. She has been working for over five years at HUFS.
She said, “My job is to beautify and clean the first floor of Global Campus Dormitory A. You can understand I clean all things on the first floor. I take a break around 1 p.m. and do my rounds two times a day.”
In the meantime, the floor was so clean that no one could notice that someone had vomited on the floor. The garbage in the restroom was in a large plastic bag, and she was cleaning hair from the sink. The reporter expressed appreciation for her ability to finish cleaning the restroom quickly in this short period of time.
“It is not much of a surprise. It is nothing, having worked this long in the field.”
She moved to a smoking booth outside the dormitory with her brisk gait. There was phlegm and saliva on the floor of a smoking booth where there should be just cigarette butts. As if this situation had not happened once or twice, she wiped the floor with a mop and bleach.
“It is hard when I face squeamish situations because I am human. But it is one of my duties to clean the area. So, I try to enjoy my job. If I work in a bad mood, I do not enjoy my work, and those who see me will not be happy.”
The reporter asked her what her work at HUFS means to her.
“Because I did not receive much education, I think students are admirable and proud that they came to study at HUFS. I am fully satisfied that students study hard here where I work and enter society to get a job. Whenever I meet each student, I pray for them in my heart with the following prayer. ‘I hope they study hard and get a good job.’
When some students say hello to me or say “Thank you for your hard work,” I am more energetic and active because I can feel the students’ kindness toward me, and it brings joy to my work. When I start working with a mindset that the work is for students, I am willing to wipe twice although I only have to wipe once. I enjoy coming here to do work in the morning.”
After that conversation, she said goodbye. “You woke up mighty early. Why don’t you go back to sleep?” she added and moved to clean up the hallway carrying a big mop. Her bright smile and positive energy grant us a lively start to the day.
The cafeteria is a place that HUFSans visit often during the day. Many students gather by two and threes and the sound of their eating and chatting fills this wide place. The cafeteria in the Global Campus, where people crowd in at lunch time, became quiet from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Now it seemed like the people who worked in the kitchen were eating a late lunch. Some people were cleaning the tables and the floor, and some were washing the dishes.
The reporter approached a woman resting in the snack corner kitchen and asked her to introduce herself. “I am Kim Young-soon, am 67-year-old, and I have worked for 10 years at the snack corner here.”
The reporter was surprised about how many years she had worked at HUFS.
“I wholly manage and run the snack corner’s kitchen, like preparing ingredients of foods and cooking snacks such as ramen etc. I usually cook about 350 servings from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.” She asked the reporter to look at the Nagasaki spicy seafood noodle soup poster posted on the wall. “It is a menu item I launched for the snack corner. I thought students would like it if there were a variety of options. Why I wrote “Mami Snack” is because I want to provide warm and good food to students with a motherly mindset.”
During the interview, two students came to the window with meal coupons for ramen. When she took them, she turned and boiled the ramen. She called out to students, “Guys, the food for number two is ready.”
The reporter looked around the kitchen. The food ingredients, the dishes and the garbage were organized well respectively in places. She pressed the call button, the number two and served the ramen to students who got the ramen at the snack window.
And she said, “Enjoy your meal.” with a warm greeting to the students.
Sticker number two that was written on the call button was so worn away that the number written became invisible. This seemed to prove that she had worked there for a long time pressing the call button over and over.
The reporter asked her what the charm of the job was. “One thing I love about my job is the responsibility that I have as a chef to serve better food to people who taste my food. I do not think it is a job that can be done well without responsibility.
Students, faculty and professors spend a lot of time at HUFS. Thus, we provide at least two out of three meals a day for them. People usually get energy when they eat tasty food. Therefore, I try to serve good food for them. It requires a lot of responsibility in making food, but it is not that this responsibility burdens me. It makes my heart flutters and makes the job appealing to me. Having the responsibility to make delicious food, I often look up many recipes and talk about recipes together with the staff. Through this process, I am better off than doing it all on my own.
The energy which comes from the young and the good scenery of the Global Campus is why I do my work with vim and vigor. The energy that HUFSans have is energetic and bright. I get the young energy from them by talking to them and being in their presence. Also, the Global Campus also has beautiful sights. I feel it makes me healthy. The energy makes me love my job more.”
She finished talking and went back to make the food that had been ordered again. Leaving the cafeteria, the reporter could hear the “Ding Dong” sound. Usually we do not feel anything when we hear that sound, but as of today, it seems that the sound will be welcome.
“Please get on and off the bus. Do not forget anything when you leave the bus.” His announcement was delivered via microphone again today on a shuttle bus on the Global Campus, which was bursting with students after class. The bus passed the dormitory and space opened up gradually. The school shuttle bus that left the dormitory and went out to downtown Mohyeon was empty only after two stops.
The driver said to himself, “Now that the weather has gotten warm, the days are longer.” His words filled the empty space of the shuttle bus. He introduced himself as Lee Hyun-soo, a 69-year-old who drives school shuttle bus number 44 on the Global Campus.
“I have worked for four years on the Global Campus. There are only four school buses designated to run on campus. We have a total of six stops on campus where we pick up students.” He went back to school from downtown Mohyeon. Some students got on the bus and said to him, “Hello.” or “Thank you for your hard work.” He also greeted the students with a bright smile.
The reporter asked him if he had any difficulties. “It leaves something to be desired. We have to pick up students quickly because there are many students who want to ride at each stop, and there are only four shuttle buses on campus. But people usually use the front door to take the bus, and not the back door. Even if I open the back door at the same time, the students usually stand in a long line to enter through the front door. That prolongs the time at one stop.
Some students come running to get on the bus even when the bus has left the stop. I want to let them ride the bus. But if I stop in the middle of the road, students can get hurt. So, I can not stop the bus anywhere except at the designated stop. Whenever some students who do not know that kind of situation blame the bus drivers, I feel sad.”
The reporter asked what it means to him to work at HUFS. “I think working here requires more delicacy. HUFSans will study hard saving their time, so I want to get as many students as possible on my bus and move them quickly and safely. To do so, it seems necessary to carefully grasp students’ situation such as their exam period, travel time, and the most frequent riding time. And personally, I feel refreshed when I see the open nature of the Global Campus. Before I worked for HUFS, I drove Seoul’s intra-city bus from Seoul National University Station to Jongno. It made me feel empty to see only the high-rise apartment buildings and traffic jams. But I think my work is good now because that does not happen here and I feel relaxed.”
He continued, “I am grateful that I can work at a job I have been in for a long time to this age.”
The reporter who got off at the dormitory stop looked at the shuttle bus going away. The dusk of the evening was falling gradually. Even if there might be only one person left who wants to take the shuttle bus, the shuttle bus briskly goes to the campus to pick someone up.
Since we were getting to know people working for HUFS and HUFSans today, we were wrapping up a day at HUFS well. If we have taken their existence for granted in our hearts, through this article the reporter hopes it will be a day for us to express gratitude for them, whether they are visible or not. How about delivering warm words with a smile when we encounter them today? They may just make their days energetic.
By Oh Ju-yeong
Staff Reporter of Global & National Section