KAIST has many volunteering groups and clubs that provide opportunities for students to become volunteers. However, students who are not enrolled in these groups face difficulty when they want to participate in volunteering. Just last year, a new organization called KAIST Student Volunteers has been established to meet the needs of these particular students. The KAIST Herald met with the president and vice president of KAIST Student Volunteers.
Please briefly introduce yourselves.
Hello, my name is Chan Woo Park, and I am the president of KAIST Student Volunteers. I am majoring in the Department of Electrical Engineering. This is the vice president, Jaewon Lee, who is currently majoring in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. We are both seniors and currently taking this semester off from school.
Can you explain the background of and motivation for establishing KAIST Student Volunteers?
KAIST Student Volunteers is a special organization under the KAIST Undergraduate Council that received official approval last October. We have a total of 22 active members, and our main goal is to make volunteering a sensation. Also, we have noticed that most KAIST students choose volunteering activities that involve sharing their knowledge. Instead of these types of volunteering, we want to emphasize a more human-to-human relationship-based volunteering. These more labor-based services, such as helping out in nursing homes for senior citizens and delivering coals in winter seasons, can help students become more heart-warming and share this warmth through interactions.
What are some activities KAIST Student Volunteers carry out?
We plan and organize volunteering activities, including senior care centers, Habitat for Humanities, and even global volunteering programs. We also help other volunteering groups or clubs when they have trouble contacting communities outside of KAIST. As we receive support from Korean University Council for Social Service and our own Leadership Center, we work as a mediator between these organizations and student volunteering groups. Furthermore, we are planning campaigns, including anti-smoking and clean KAIST. Lastly, we financially support other volunteering groups to make better the environment and condition for KAIST students to participate in volunteering services.
How is students’ participations or reaction toward those programs?
The participation rate was quite high in the past few events. We notices that many students are willing but at the same time hesitant to take part in volunteering. The main reason behind this is that current volunteering programs are hard to seek and apply as an individual volunteer. On the other hand, we do need to work more on active promotion and advertising as our organization is newly established. With further promotion, we hope to see more active participation from students.
What are some hardships as a member of the organization?
The biggest difficulty we encountered was establishing our group’s identity. Since our organization is newly made and have unique characteristics, it is sometimes troublesome to adjust the direction of our organization. We continue to seek ways in finding the appropriate meaning of the group, and we are also working on improving student’s recognition of our organization.
What are some future plans for KAIST Student Volunteers?
We are planning volunteering services for summer and winter breaks. We are expecting programs where KAIST students can participate in planning volunteer activities too. We are also preparing for global volunteering programs by getting support from the school and other organizations. Moreover, we will hold campaigns and seminars in the following fall semester. Overall, we will always try to focus on the true meaning of caring for others and not get carried away with mere planning and preparing for volunteer programs.
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