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Wednesday,October 21,2020
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Donggukians Bring Their New Culture to Campus
A year ago an American friend of mine who was visiting Korea for the first time  stopped by the Dongguk campus to appreciate its Buddhist culture. I showed her several places and things with Buddhist overtones: the Buddha Statue, the three elephants, Jeonggak-Won, Daegak-Chun, and the Museum. Though she said that she wasamazed at the Buddhism-colored campus, it seemed that her interest in our campus culture began to sag quickly.   Are they all of the representative symbols of our campus culture that we have now?
In fact, it is true that we haven't put enough energy in developing campus  culture other than those forms of Buddhist culture.  In 1970s and 80s when university campuses all over the country were dimmed with political slogans and the fog of tear gas, Dongguk was not an exception: students joined political rallies or hung around a deserted campus in which manyclasses were cancelled for political reasons. The only escape for us, having been entirely obsessed with the hot political issues, was to let out our pent-up feelings by drinking cheap liquor without side dishes.
Unfortunately, the situation didn't really change during the '90s when a civilian government replacedthe military regime, although we didn't have to concern ourselves about political affairs. But we didn't know how to reshape our college culture, nor did we make a serious effort to widen our interests to meet the challenge of global change. We just continued to spend a lot of free time doing binge drinking. In other words, we Donggukians have had no venue for the last three decades through which we were able to sublimate our young, witty, and creative vigor into an attractive college culture.
 This is why some recent campus events such as Wednesday Music Concert, and May Moonlight-Lantern Poetry Festival are a new cultural wave and the start of a new epoch of Dongguk culture.  These cultural events are a way for students to satisfy their own sensibilities. But there are few campus-wide organizations in which students take the lead for these cultural events.  So I suggest that Donggukians become engaged in diverse student activities by creating new cultural programs in which they can easily and actively participate.  These could be from student-centered academic seminars to funny cocktail parties at the beginning and end of the semesters.  In addition, Buddhist culture needs to be re-introduced to students' lives through the tea drinking ceremony, meditation, and Buddhist music. In this way, Donggukians couldbring to the campus their own unique culture.         

Kim Ae-ju  komet99@dongguk.edu

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