KU π-Ville, another innovation for future education
A place of infinite possibilities where failure and recklessness are allowed
A new history that pioneering intellectuals will write
▲ (From left: Jinsoo Joo, Vice President for Campus Planning, Myeong-Geun Lee, President of SG Shinsung Engineering & Construction, Soo-Won Kim, Executive Vice President for Research, Man-Hee Yeon, Executive Advisor of Yuhan Corporation, Ki-Su Lee, former KU President, Jaeho Yeom, KU President, Jae-Ho Kim, Chairman of the Korea University Foundation, Hak-Su Lee, President of the KU Alumni Association, Namho Lee, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Gil-Sung Park, Dean of the Graduate School, Seok Jeong, Director of π-Ville, and Jin-Bok Wee, Director of UIA Architects)
Korea University, a leader of innovation in Korean higher education through various projects such as the Three-No policy, scholarship and admission systems reform, has taken another first step into the future.
On September 8, an opening ceremony for KU π-Ville (hereafter π-Ville), a KU pioneer village, was held. The construction of π-Ville is the first case of a Korean university building a student-exclusive place for knowledge creation on campus. The name π-Ville came from the first two letters of “pioneer” and the circular constant “π” that represents infinite expansion. This name represents the wish that the creativity and pioneering spirit of KU students will extend infinitely.
A Space for Limitless Imagination and Fearless Endeavors
π-Ville was built on the belief that simple knowledge transfer in a classroom is not enough for students who will lead a dynamic future. Korea University thus decided to build π-Ville to provide students with a new space for the creation, exchange, and accumulation of new knowledge.
At the opening ceremony, Chairman of the Korea University Foundation Jae-Ho Kim said, “Creation refers to producing new things that did not exist before. Pioneering can be fearful and uneasy because it requires trailblazing an unknown path no one has ever trod. Besides its role as a start-up support center, π-Ville will become a strong shelter that can stand up to these anxieties and fears. Cooperation, trying new things, and pioneering spirit, which will be experienced here, will be the most valuable assets for students in their lives.”
President Jaeho Yeom said, “Knowledge is not supposed to be transferred only in a classroom. It should be created, exchanged, and accumulated throughout the campus. Thus, a new space is required for the creation of new forms of knowledge. π-Ville will be a space where the creativity and pioneering spirit of students can grow infinitely. This place will contribute to maximizing the pioneering spirit of KU students by providing opportunities for endless discussions, meetings, and contemplation.”
π-Ville 99, the first π-Ville building, was built on a 1524.98m2 lot between the College of Political Science & Economics and Woodang Hall. It is a five-story building consisting of a total of 38 shipping containers. The building has 15 studios, an auditorium, an open plan studio, the Idea Café, a 3D printer lab, and more.
A Place Open to Everyone That Supports Potential Talent
π-Ville is open to all KU students. It will support KU students dreaming of creating new knowledge in diverse fields, including business entrepreneurship, culture and art, performance, and volunteering. Studios will be assigned to selected students with ideas and passion, and students will be able to develop their ideas in these independent studios.
The studios are not limited to students in the field of business entrepreneurship, nor are students who wish to start a business required to submit a complete plan. Students with specific business ideas who are capable of receiving external support are ineligible for studio assignment. This is one difference between π-Ville and other colleges’ start-up support centers. π-Ville plans to support students with potential who can move towards preparing for start-ups through its networking and mentoring services.
Writing a New History in π-Ville
Both the interior and exterior of π-Ville are witnesses of history. Recycled containers from all over the world were used to construct the building, and 50- to 60-year-old desks and chairs filled with the history of KU were recycled, complete with graffiti. Thus, many of the desks and chairs in the π-Ville building are different from each other. In this π-Ville filled with historical items, students will build their own histories. In the open plan studio, contest entries, art works, class/research output of KU students will be exhibited each semester. From this, continuous networking and motivation among students are expected to come.
Mentoring and networking are two of the powerful features of π-Ville. KU professors, KU graduates who have established businesses in diverse fields, and businessmen will be regularly invited to share their knowledge and experience with students. In addition, in conjunction with TED x Korea University (team TED at KU), TED lectures will be shared through the website.
<< Scheduled TED Speakers >>
Seung-Ju Kim: Professor at the Graduate School of Information Security (Information Security or AI-related topics)
Shin-Yong Bubble Dragon: Bubble artist (Bubble performance)
In-Hwan Jo: KU PhD student in bio convergence sciences (Self-directed motivation; finding a sense of purpose)
Eui-Heon Lee: President of Jump Association, Inc. (Elimination of educational inequality)
Won-Kyu Ha: Senior Researcher at the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (The 4th Industrial Revolution)
Mi-Suk Ko: Classical humanities scholar
▲ Seok Jeong (Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering), Director of π-Ville, explains KU π-Ville in a Media Event class.
Conducting Projects and Communicating with the Local Community
π-Ville is planning to guide and lead students into the start-up world by creating projects, launching student contests, realizing students’ ideas, and linking those ideas with angel investors and venture capital. Through π-Ville's one-stop consulting system, resident patent attorneys will be able to solve common start-up related difficulties, such as patent and investment problems. π-Ville is currently developing various projects in conjunction with the local community, such as creating well-being roads without cars, improving the design of π-Ville, and building a shared economy in the Anam-dong business district.
There Is Something Special in Idea Cafe
The Idea Cafe, located on the first floor, provides an optimal atmosphere for students hatching new ideas. Idea Café was opened by baristas who were KU Start-up club members before graduating. After becoming professional baristas, they returned to KU and volunteered to mentor KU students. Vice President of Stronghold Do-Yeop Lee said, “We would like to make this café a place where students can easily exchange their start-up ideas. We are planning to provide various seminars and demonstration events for students interested in coffee and cafés. Students will be able to enjoy coffee and learn our start-up stories and know-how here. They will be inspired by us.” He added that the café will also be a participation spot where students can promote their new business items.
Meaning of π-Ville Numbers
Korea University will add π-Ville 148 in front of the main gate in February 2017 and π-Ville 22 on the Science and Engineering campus in August 2017. The numbers come from their street addresses. In the case of the recently built π-Ville 99, it is located at 99 Inchon-ro. π-Villes 148 and 22 will be built at 148 Anam-ro and 22 Inchon-ro, respectively. It is unusual to add the street address number to the building name.
π-Ville will become places where the ideas and passion of KU students can be brought to life with the help of the contents and mentoring services provided by KU. Director of π-Ville Seok Jeong (Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering) said, “Our goal is to provide a place for students to gather, discuss, and work to realize what is in their minds. For this, we will also provide technical support or network connections. We hope that π-Ville can become a shelter for our students, unlike other start-up places. We want to show our support for students by keeping our doors open so that even after experiencing failure, students will still have a place and friends to come back to any time.”