The Korea University Social Service Organization (KUSSO) has striven to fulfill its social responsibilities as a training center for intellectuals, working under the theme of ‘Education Volunteering, Research Volunteering, and Communication Volunteering.’ The KUSSO not only designs volunteer work needed by society, but has focused on providing various opportunities for KU students to participate in different volunteer programs through which they are expected to learn grace and humility in communicating with people from branches of society. In particular, to promote the professional research and development of college volunteer programs, the organization established a committee for planning social contribution projects and a training center for volunteers. To become a more professional and systematic organization, it expanded the scope of management by its operational committee. Based on these organizational reforms, the KUSSO established a seamless cooperation system with organizations outside the campus. In collaboration with the outside organizations, the KUSSO also diversified its social contribution activities and developed various social contribution programs.
▲Alliance of Kind Volunteers in 2016
Education to Help, Restore, and Heal
Establishment of System for Co-existence
To seek positive changes in our society, the KUSSO opened a startup and job training program for the North Korean defectors for the first time among universities in Korea. In addition, it designed a youth education project, called ‘Future Sharing Education,’ to help teenagers from low-income families in local communities such as Seong-buk and Gang-buk areas. The project has run two school education programs; ‘Future Sharing School’ for primary, middle and high school students and ‘Nalbit Project’ only for high schoolers. These two programs have proven how much effort the social service organization has made to balance the inequality in education. The KUSSO also has programs dedicated to disabled people, such as ‘100% Project’ and ‘Dream of Ducks,’ to improve the quality of life of the handicapped in local communities. For small-sized schools in farming and fishing communities that are subject to merger and closure, the organization has run two campaigns at the same time; one called ‘Restore Small Schools’ and the other ‘Restoration of Village Communities.’ Through these campaigns, a system for the collaboration and coexistence between schools and local communities was successfully established. This can be also considered as a social contribution project in the long run. For example, in the summer of 2017, the KUSSO sent approximately 340 student volunteers to twelve different areas around the country. Along with the volunteers, some of professors and faculty staff at Korea University were also dispatched to enhance the quality of educational camps in those rural communities.
For another educational campaign run by the KUSSO, ‘Making Community Schools,’ Nonghyup and LG U+ have been sponsoring so that students who participated in those educational camps during vacations can continue to utilize the online educational content during semesters. The two companies and Korea University made business agreements which have already installed apparatus for bidirectional distance learning. In the first half of 2018, the KUSSO launched a pilot program to transmit educational content through video communication technologies.
▲Summer Camp for Coding Education in 2018
Foundation of Education Center
For Research and Development of Voluntary Service
When it was founded a decade ago, the KUSSO intuitively realized that voluntary services provided by universities would play a significant role in training intellectuals that are sought after by our society. Over time, industry and society have evolved, and we are now on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The importance and necessity of Service Learning have emerged which connects education with social contribution activities. In accordance with the current trend, the KUSSO has been actively carrying out its educational projects that it has thoroughly prepared. It opened academic courses on service learning and professional courses on social contribution activities and voluntary works. In 2018, it started to recruit students and teach its own academic course, called ‘Theory and Practice of Social Service.’ At the same time, it has been conducting a feasibility study on teaching service learning courses at College of Medicine, College of Education, and College of Nursing. Aside from designing and teaching its own academic courses, the KUSSO has also reached out to everyone on the campus in order for them to deeply understand the necessity and the value of social service and to learn which part of society is appropriate for them to act as a volunteer. For instance, the KUSSO launched the ‘Training Center for Volunteers’ within the organization on Dec. 31, 2015, which has been running basic and intensive courses on social service.
Development of Virtuous Cycle
And New Concept of Overseas Volunteering
With the aim of creating a virtuous cycle of overseas volunteering by supporting the human resource development of youth, the KUSSO came up with a new concept of global volunteering programs and has been operating them. For instance, KU students, starting from Seoul, had a non-stop walking debate on the subjects of environment, ecology, and sanitation, with local students from Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Urgench, and Nukus. It was a round-trip program connecting 3,200 kilometers from Seoul to Nukus in Uzbekistan and the other way around. By signing memorandums of understanding with globally accredited organizations, the KUSSO has added more stability to its overseas volunteering programs. As for Cambodia, for instance, the KUSSO signed a MOU with Cambofriend, a Cambodian government-approved NGO, in 2015. Based on the MOU, the KUSSO has been conducting its Korean language education program for summer seasons in Cambodia since 2016. From this year, 2018, it selected one village in rural areas of Cambodia to improve living environment by refurbishing or building houses with volunteers.
Furthermore, thanks to financial support from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the social service organization operates a program for the North Korean defectors to start their own business. To date, the first and second sessions of the program have been accomplished. Among 22 participants who completed the third, which was the final session, 8 teams succeeded in opening their startups.
▲Volunteers working for the improvement of living environment in Cambodia
Social Service with Scholarship Awardees
One Donation per One Student Campaign
To provide various opportunities for KU alumni members to participate in social contribution programs, the KUSSO, in collaboration with Nowon Education Welfare Foundation located in the Nowon-gu district, designed an English-teaching and mentoring program for youth living in the district. With the support of alumni members who entered the Department of English Language and Literature back in 1984, the program has been ongoing since 2016. The alumni members also made a donation for students currently enrolled in the department. The donation fund, titled ‘English Literature ’84’s Social Contribution Project Scholarship,’ is granted to selected students 25% of whose scholarship will be used for the operation of the social contribution program. The remaining 75% will be given to scholarship awardees when the social contribution program finishes. The alumni members made another contribution a year later, in 2017. This triggered a social service program with alumni members and the KUSSO.
Social Contribution Program
With Professional Golfer, Chun In-gee
Around the end of 2016, professional golfer Chun In-gee (’13, Sport and Leisure Studies) donated 100 million won in the hopes of providing opportunities for KU students to join the social contribution activities. With the 100-million donation fund raised by Chun and her fan club, ‘The Flying Dumbos,’ the KUSSO prepared a volunteering program called ‘Social Contribution Program with Pro Golfer Chun In-gee.’ It opened a competition for designing social contribution or volunteering programs and received proposals from KU students. A total of 38 proposals were submitted for the first and second rounds of competition. Among them, 10 finalists were selected to run their own programs. The programs were broad in scope and unique in character.
From the third round of competition, a total of 11 teams were selected as successful applicants. Their programs were also diverse in subjects and areas. To name just a few, these included ‘Pumpkin Box’ for book-reading and discussion sessions for youth from low-income families, ‘Coin’ for coding education programs and a natural science and engineering career consulting service for youth, ‘Ink’ to provide a language translation service of the traditional Korean medicinal herbs and on/offline marketing services for the traditional herb medicines market, and ‘Mango Project’ to change the public’s perception of Kopino, children of mixed Korean and Filipino descent.
Last July, the pro golfer and her fan club, sponsored by Tag Heuer, donated another 100 million won to the KUSSO. At the donation ceremony, Chun said, “It made my heart warm to see our neighbors get so much strength from our social contribution programs. I hope these programs will not become a one-time event, but will last for a long time.”
Over the past decade, the KUSSO has been writing a history of miracle, sharing hope and dream with those in difficult conditions. The organization is now preparing for the next 10 years. Working hard as a social service organization is its primary goal, but extending the range of opportunities for volunteers to have valuable experiences should not be underestimated, too. This is and will be a mission for a university’s volunteering organization should accomplish.