The Dongguk basketball team, which ranked 4th in the KB University Basketball League, and its baseball team, which had the monumental achievement of winning three trophies in a row are both the pride of Dongguk University. However, because the university spends all of its sport budget on those professional sport teams, support for sport activities for non-professional students is not enough. Especially, because Dongguk University has a relatively small campus and is located in the middle of Namsan Mountain area, it is difficult to secure a proper space for sports. However, even considering this fact, the university does not provide enough fundamental support.
According to a poll done by the Post that surveyed two hundred students who are member of central or college sport clubs, 92.5 percent of them did not participate in Dongguk official sport programs. It is because there are few programs available. Moreover, 55 percent of them do more than two-thirds of their activities outside the schoolyard because there are not enough facilities. The poll revealed that Dongguk students need more supports on both facilities and programs.
When it comes to facilities, Dongguk University has two main sports grounds, Manhae Square and the Main Stadium. Manhae Square is for basketball and foot volleyball. However, the urethane floor is severely cracked and has caused accidents to basketball-playing students. It was mended in 2012, but that was only a temporary method done with filler, not with proper material. Also there are no shower rooms, changing rooms, or toilets near the square. Jegal Boo-hyeon, a sophomore majoring in Computer Engineering, and the president of amateur basketball club “Courtist,” said, “In other universities including Korea, Sogang, and Yonsei, students can easily play basketball in indoor courts by simply renting school gym through online.” However, our university’s gym is just for lectures and athletic club members who are preparing for pro teams. He additionally said, “Dongguk University is even ignoring the poor condition of these facilities. Do you know who always changed the baskets in Manhae Square? It was us.”
The environment of Main Stadium is not that different. It was renewed with artificial turf and opened in last semester; however, it is being caved in at the same places where it did before. Furthermore, the artificial turf construction was funded by Jung-gu, so the stadium must be opened for Jung-gu citizens on weekends. And this hinders free use of this field for students. Lee Dong-Min, a junior who is majoring in Industrial System Engineering and the president of Dongguk amateur football club, FC TOTO, said, “The biggest problem is the stadium rental system. Because of the fact that it is based on first-come-first-served rule, all clubs in Dongguk register randomly when the schedule is opened.” Thus, there are clubs who just make reservations for any often slots regardless of whether they could come at that reserved time. He also stated, “Our club room, which is made of a steel container box, is not waterproof in rainy days. We have requested many times for an improvement to Maintenance Department, but nothing has changed.”
Except for Manhae Square and the Main Stadium, there is only one place, a tennis court that can be used for sport activities. The fitness room in Namsan Residence Hall is only for the students who live in Namsan Residence Hall. Park Jae-deok who is majoring in Mechanical Robotics and Energy Engineering, and the president of Dongguk University Tennis Club, said, “Our club is working hard to set up for an amateur league starting from August 10th. However, the Dongguk tennis court is too small and has low quality compared to indoor courts. Thus, we are now practicing on the Jangchung courts.” Ewha Women’s University has an eight-sided clay court and Yonsei has a ten-sided one, but we only have a two-sided one. He also said, “The amount of financial support from the Club Union is too small. We need more funding to buy some equipment that are too expensive for newcomers.”
The lack of official sport programs is another mainstay of the problem. First, there are no athletics competitions held by University Sports Team. Gyeongju campus held “Baeksang Athletic Meet” every year with the events of basketball, football, kickball, and so on. There is a football class for all Donggukians led by Kim Jong-pil, a former professional soccer player and now working as a head coach of the Dongguk Soccer Team. However, according to an interview with An Jae-bong, the chief of University Sports Team, because of the lack of facilities, time of directors, and professional equipment, the possibility of expanding this class is significantly low.
In addition, Dongguk University runs ten lectures related to sports, but its limitations are clear. All of them are Sports-for-All, so most students have experienced them since elementary school years. Also students are afraid of getting low grades because it is definitely more advantageous for students who learned and practiced the sport subject beforehand. Choi Seul-bi, majoring in Mass Communication and Journalism, who took a dance sport class last semester, said, “The class progress was too fast. Because the professor has only one and a half hour per week to teach students all skills, there were no time for review. I think I learned only fundamental things, so I felt unsatisfied even now.”
Needless to say, Dongguk University did put in efforts to improve the situation in recent years. When it comes to facilities, it covered the Main Stadium with artificial turf in 2013 and reconstructed the old swimming pool into clay tennis court. The Kendo and Taekwondo club are now practicing their performance in the basement of the auditorium. Furthermore, for programs, University Sports Team has hosted the Dongguk Basketball League since 2002. However, it was held only at Manhae Square instead of the indoor auditorium because of the training of basketball team and lectures. Chief An said, “In foreign countries, each university students practice their own sports categories. However, that is possible because they have enough support and coaches. In Korea, it is practically impossible.”
On the other hand, in terms of other universities’ examples, there are many exemplary models. To be specific, Sogang University has Youth Plaza, which is opened to all students for regular sports exercises and has shower and changing rooms nearby in Emmaus Hall. Kim Tae-yeob, who is majoring in Chinese Culture in Sogang University, said, “I have never worried about shower when playing sports in school. To add, the school fully supports the first aid system. Our school has plenty of places just for sports.”
Additionally, sports programs, especially the diversity of related lectures are the most outstanding point of other schools. For example, Sogang University runs 17 sport lectures, including skin-scuba diving, ski, racket ball, and paragliding. Also in Seoul National University, it manages 23 lectures, whereas Dongguk University, where only ten lectures exist. Kim Yeong-min, who is majoring in Physical Education in SNU, said, “I took an archery class last semester, and it was a new opportunity for me to learn a new subject that could not be taken during high school years.” In SNU, there are less than ten students in one class, so he received very detailed lessons from the instructor. He added, “After the class, I joined the school’s archery club to continue practicing archery consistently. Now archery became my hobby.”
In recent research done by the Joong-Ang Daily, Dongguk University’s status has become high, ranking 4th in globalization and 13th in total. However, its support on sports does not match this high ranking. It holds 15 sport-related clubs in central, and countless small clubs in each college. Based on this, Donggukians are highly interested in sports, but the university has not been able to meet their expectations. Kim Yong-woo, the president of Club Union, said, “Support for us is the poorest. In Sejong University, all central clubs have their own practicing room. And also in Hongik, the club union president receives 900 thousand won per semester, which is ten times more support than what we get.” Cultivating one’s body and mind through exercising is one of the most important things in life. Dongguk University has a long way to go on this. Students, clubs, and school must cooperate to solve the present problems and to make Dongguk University a better place for sports activities.
Yang Si-young firstname.lastname@example.org
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