What do you see first when you enter Dongguk University? Whenever you step onto a university’s campus, the main entrance gives you the first impression of the university. Dongguk University has three gates: the main gate, Hye-hwa gate, and the rear gate. These are the “faces” of Dongguk University. In order to make a memorable impression, Dongguk University needs to give its gates a “face-lift.” The Dongguk Post recently assessed the current condition of the three gates.
<The main gate>
“Where does that road over there lead to?” a passer-by confusingly asked the security guard at the university’s main gate. Not long ago, an extra lane was built near the main gate in order to lessen traffic congestion. At the main gate, there is merely a simple sign that reads “Dongguk University.” It is not a large, attractive sign that most people would expect to see at the entrance to one of Korea’s leading universities.
The same passer-by added, “I had no idea that this is the main gate to Dongguk University. Other universities have quite impressive signs at their entrances.” Clearly, as the main face of Dongguk University, it should be renovated to look more dignified. A student at Dongguk said, “The main gate of Dongguk University looks shabby. Some people think that is a trivial issue, but the appearance of the gate has great significance.”
Kim Mi-yoon, a junior at the university, said, “I’m scared of walking up the road near the main gate. Though most people don’t use this road, the university needs to build a sidewalk so that students can walk to class safely.” Not surprisingly, the road near the main gate is rarely used by students, but it is used by over 1,000 vehicles every day. Also, most students don’t even know that there is a main gate. A staff member in the university’s Facilities Management Office asked, “If we build a sidewalk near the main gate, will students use it?” He added, “Most people who enter through the main gate commute to the university by car. For this reason, a big sign is not really necessary.“
In August, an entrance to the underground parking lot is scheduled to open near the main gate. A parking attendant said, “When the underground parking lot entrance is built, there will be many problems. More people commuting to the university by car will use this entrance. A sidewalk will certainly need to be built so that students can walk safely.” Park Ji-hyeon, a junior at Dongguk, said, said “I have never used the main gate. In fact, many people think that Hye-hwa gate is the main gate. The main gate needs to be renovated so that it can be a special landmark of Dongguk University.”
Most faculty members, students, and visitors use Hye-hwa gate because it is located near Exit 6 of Dongguk University Station. When people take the escalator or walk up to campus, the symbol of Dongguk University comes into sight. However, the university’s logo board looks like it is about to collapse. Furthermore, last year, because of heavy rain and snowfall, it was severely damaged. A Facilities Management Office representative said, “We know that the board is in need of repair. Special equipment is needed to fix it, so we need to secure additional funding to conduct the repairs.”
A freshman at Dongguk said, “When I first came to Dongguk University, I didn’t know exactly where I needed to go.” The condition of the campus information sign in front of Hye-hwa gate is very old and damaged. Many students have difficulty finding the right building. It is crucial that the university has a clear and easy-to-read map, especially in August and September each year during the freshman recruitment season.
Kim Su-hyeon, a sophomore at Dongguk, said, “I hope that the board is repaired immediately. I want to be proud of my university when I enter campus.”
<The rear gate>
In September 2010, the rear gate was remodeled. After tearing down the security office, a pillar, and the school gate, the rear entrance looked remarkable. Also, with the addition of a flower garden and the university’s logo, the rear gate served as a beautiful starting point for people wanting to follow the footpaths that cover Nam Mountain.
Now, just seven months later, however, the lawn has been destroyed, and there are heaps of rubbish surrounding the gate.
A Dongguk student said, “I feel ashamed of the current condition of the rear gate. At first, it looked very clean and attractive. But as time passed by, it started looking like a wilderness of grass and weeds.” This matter must be settled urgently. A Facilities Management Office employee said, “Unfortunately, last year, the water pipes burst as a result of the freezing weather. We had to dig up the flower garden to repair the water pipes. This is the main reason why it looks so bad right now.
People have littered there as well.” He added, “We are planning to re-plant flowers and trees in the garden. We might be able to complete this project in April this year.”
The campus information sign is also in need of repair. Although it is illuminated, it is very difficult to see at night. A junior at Dongguk said, “This sign is very useful, especially at night, but the lighting doesn’t work well at all.”
The three gates of Dongguk University do not serve well as entrances; they are the faces of our university. Sadly, the present condition of these three gates is dismal. These gates symbolize both a starting and ending point. Let’s hope for new gates with “smiles” that will always be remembered by students, faculty members, visitors, and even passers-by.
Bang Hye-jung firstname.lastname@example.org
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