While most freshmen at KAIST enter the university in February, there are those students, commonly referred to as “hoogies,” who enter in the fall semester. Most of these students have graduated from international schools or high schools outside of Korea. Though these students have been enrolled at KAIST since 1998, there has not been an official organization to support them. A group of four hoogie students are now making history by organizing a student association for the hoogies to have a voice within the school and to promote a global community at KAIST.
Could you briefly introduce yourself?
Hello, my name is Jin Young Heo and I entered KAIST in fall 2009. I am one of four organizers of the hoogie student association, along with 2010’s hoogie freshmen Heewoo Nam, Kumhyun Song and JoongBum Lee. The name of the organization is currently tentative as things are still in process as of now.
How did you come up with this idea?
Originally, the Dean of Student Affairs wanted the hoogie students to have a formal position within KAIST. He offered to properly fund us for our events and systemize everything that goes on in the hoogie community. So, frankly, it was not initially our idea. However, we too believe that creating an official student association would be a great stepping stone in solving some of the issues we have.
Could you give an overview of the Hoogie Student Association?
The four committees we have currently planned are the Welfare Management Committee, Social Event Management Committee, Educational Affairs Committee and Media & Design Committee. Each committee has different jobs but all work towards a common goal. The head of each committee makes up the Executive Committee. On a rough estimate, about twenty students will make up the association.
Other plans for the future include incorporating various events and parties typically seen in other colleges, especially those abroad. Developing an English-friendly campus is another goal: because most hoogie freshmen come from countries outside of Korea, these students often have difficulty adjusting to life at KAIST. We would like to help them adjust more easily and better integrate into this environment.
What are some of the plans for the future?
To start, we would like to work with the incoming class of 2011 hoogie freshmen. Currently, the hoogies do not have a proper undergraduate freshmen matriculation ceremony, unlike those who enter in spring. Thus, we would like to have these students be recognized by promoting socializing events such as the Welcoming Party. Other goals include implementing mentor-mentee programs to help these freshmen adjust to KAIST better.
Moreover, we are working with the World Education (WE) Center to promote students’ participation as International Teaching Assistants.
What are your expectations for students participating in this association?
Personally, I hope hoogie students are as enthusiastic as I am. By promoting a global community within KAIST, we are working for what is for the greater good of the entire school. This organization should not become a personal endeavor. I hope the participants are eager to be part of a historical change that we are making.
Any last words?
As of now, everything is in the making and nothing is set in place. However, the most difficult part was to take the first step and to ignite the change – the reforms will soon follow. I felt that someone needed to step forward and establish some sort of change and movement. I hope this becomes a good stepping stone in the future for all hoogie students.