A member of student body and worker are reading a statement of worker's right /Photograph: Sung Min-kyeong
Laughter flowed amidst workers. Their smiles, similar to the cherry blossoms on campus, came into bloom. A daytime solidarity event of workers and students was held in commemoration of the 121st anniversary of May Day, also known as Labor Day, at Dongguk University. This event, organized by the student government and held for one week starting on April 25, had a lot of programs for campus workers. Students conducted a one-day campus cleanup and provided free oriental medicine treatment, nail art, and massages. On May 1, the last day of the event, workers and students attended a May Day ceremony.
Kwon Ki-hong, the student body president, said, "The most important purpose of this event is for workers and students to bond together. We organized many special events to achieve these objectives, and I think the campus beautification project was the most important one. I was hoping that many students would attend this important event." He then talked about the ceremony and said, "I was really impressed with the students’ response. So many Dongguk students participated in the events, especially the campus cleanup project." The beautification project took place April 26-28. During these three days, Dongguk students helped workers on campus.
On April 28, at 6:10am, 15 students showed up in front of the student body's office to volunteer their services. Kim Eun-hye, an education major who showed up to help, said, "I usually just pass by workers on campus. By chance, I heard about this event, so I wanted to help out to show my appreciation for campus workers. I had to wake up very early this morning, but I’m happy to be here."
After the participants congregated, a university official discussed the objectives of the event and assigned a task to each of the students. One or two students were assigned to one worker who is in charge of cleaning and managing an entire floor. When asked how she was enjoying her cleaning duties, Kim Eun-hye responded, "My arms and legs feel like jelly, and I’m worried that I’m just getting in the way."
The students swept and mopped the floors. There was garbage scattered around the classrooms. One student volunteer said, "Students need to throw away their own trash. I remember leaving my trash in the library once. I will never do this again in the future. I have been cleaning for only three hours, and I already have a backache and a twinge in my leg. I truly sympathize with the janitors who have to clean like this 10 hours a day."
A worker gazed at a student who was sweeping the floor. "I'm very proud of the students who are taking part in this event. We are happy that students appreciate our hard work. We are very thankful to them and are determined to continue making Dongguk a beautiful and clean university."
Students and workers cooperated in doing a job. It was like a warm spring's sunshine. At 4:00pm, all programs ended. Students and workers shook hands and congratulated each other.
Kim Eun-hye said, "I hesitated to volunteer for this event, but I’m so happy to contribute myself. I felt a lump in my throat when I saw the janitors’ hands. Their hands are chapped from their hard work. Today, I learned a valuable lesson that I could never learn from a textbook, so I’m thankful for that."
A worker said, "I was moved by the students' thoughtfulness and assistance. Our job is very difficult, but we always do our best. Because students now understand how hard we work, we are more determined than ever to help create an even better learning environment."
This event achieved its original purpose. Many students said the program was challenging but worthwhile. This program deserves a lot of praise because many students participated voluntarily and developed an appreciation for the cleaning workers' effort and hardship. Many people hope that important events like this will be held more often.
Sung Min-kyeong firstname.lastname@example.org
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