On November 7th, very early in the morning, at around 4 A.M., the students in Namsan Residence Hall heard a fire alarm. Students, who were sleeping deeply, went down to the first floor following the instructions being announced. Other students ran about in confusion through the corridors. Female students who were sleeping on the 7th floor tried to get out of the dormitory through the door that is connected to outside, trembling with fear. After this incident was investigated, it turned out that the fire alarm was caused by the improper operation of the machine, and dormitory did not take any post managements. Those who went down to the first floor had to turn back to their own room with anger and got back into their beds. Another safety issue related to this happening was that the announcement was only made in Korean which left about 170 foreign students wondering what is going on around them.
In addition to this, there have been several other problems in the dormitory. As the end of the 2013 school year is approaching, The Dongguk Post would like to conduct an overall evaluation of Namsan Residence Hall and cover its strengths and weaknesses which will serve as a guideline for students who will live in the dormitory next year and for the school as well.
In terms of security, there is no security guard in front of the entrances of the third, fifth, and seventh floors. Therefore, anyone can get into the dormitory building if he or she has a card key. Students living in the dormitory sometimes hand the card key to their friends who are not the residents. Moreover, some non-residents can come into the dormitory secretly, when residents let them in. Having no security guard at every entrance leaves the problem of allowing outside people to enter the building.
Students also are discontent with the curfew hour. There is a curfew hour for the sake of students' safety at 12 A.M., but students keep complaining that the curfew is too early. The curfew was set without considering of the schedule of the public transportation. Those who do part-time jobs or study until late at night are pressured to keep the curfew. Students keep asking for an extension, but the Administration Office says the curfew is appropriately set and it is too dangerous to get around after midnight. However, many students who cannot keep the curfew hour wander around the streets until the next morning at 5 A.M., when they are allowed to enter again. This is even more dangerous than being back by midnight. Jeon Sang-hoo, who majors in Economics, said “I want the curfew to be at 1 A.M. considering the public transportation schedules.”
|▲ The smell of trash bins spread through the corridor.|
In terms of facilities, the problem related to trash bins is most urgent. The number of trash bins is insufficient and their sizes are rather small. On weekends, trash bins overflow with garbage, because cleaning ladies are unavailable on weekends. Many students order delivery foods from outside and throw away the leftovers instead of recycling, especially during weekends, which causes a mess. Song Min-ki, a student majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication, said “It is ironic that cleaning ladies do not come here on weekends when we spend more time in the dormitory than weekdays.”
|▲ Laundries are piled up on the drying machines|
There are some problems related to the laundry room as well. The number of washing machines and drying machines cannot meet the demand of students' laundry needs, so the laundry room is always untidy because of clothes. Chae Myung-shin, majoring in Korean and Korean Literature and Creative Writing, said “I usually do my laundry after midnight on weekdays to avoid congestion. I have to sleep late but I prefer it than being crowded.” Also, the number of drying machines is not equivalent to the number of washing machines. Park Hye-jin, majoring in Economics, said “In the first semester, the number of washing machines and drying machines was balanced. At the beginning of this semester, however, the office took out some drying machines and installed more washing machines. As a result, students have to make a queue to use the drying machines. I do not know why the dormitory took this measure.”
Cho Sung-hwan, a member of the Administration Office, spoke about the problems that students have. On the matter of the entrances on the third, fifth, and seventh floors, he said “Because of the security problem, the school asked us to lock the other doors and let the students use only the entrance in the first floor. But for the students' convenience, we are not closing the entrances on the other floors. It would be better to hire more security guards.”
About the curfew hour, he said “I think it is appropriate. If we extend the curfew hour, more security problems will occur. Even though students are all adults, they should think of their parents who worry about them.”
In terms of facilities, Cho said that the size of the trash bins is at its maximum compared to the width of the aisle. The office cannot afford to hire a service enterprise because of the budget. About the recycling system, there is a recycling center on the first floor outside the building. He hopes that more students can make use of it during weekends. Lastly, he said “We are operating as many washing machines and drying machines as we can. We cannot add more washing machines or drying machines because of limited place. About the lack of drying machines, the company which supplies these machines controls the number of machines. During summer, as it is humid, more drying machines will be installed.”
Even though some flaws that were reported have remained unsolved, Namsan Residence Hall has provided many improvements for students. In the first semester, there were cable internet networks so that students could connect their LAN cables. Because of increasing demand of students for a wireless internet network, Namsan Residence Hall installed one Wi-Fi router for each room during summer vacation. Students can use this free internet network both with their laptops and smart phones. Also the dormitory is working hard to exempt students from penalty points. Penalty points can affect re-admission to the dormitory next semester. For those who want to reduce their penalty points, Namsan Residence Hall has prepared many programs that students can participate in. Chae Myung-shin said “My penalty points were reduced by ten points for participating in the Buddhist Cerenomy held at Jeonggakwon. It helped me re-gain admission to the dormitory in the second semester.”
Namsan Residence Hall is also considering a new project. From the beginning of this year, students have demanded for a 24-hour study hall. After going through a survey, the residence managers will examine whether to install the study hall where the Information Plaza is now located. If the study hall is installed, the Information Plaza will reduce its size.
According to the dormitory satisfaction survey conducted by the CS Center in May, Namsan Residence Hall received 87 percent. It seems that most students are content with the dormitory. Until now, it has undergone some trials and errors in managing, but it is still making a huge effort to accept students' suggestions. Namsan Residence Hall has planned and carried out several things for the students' convenience. It is recommended that Namsan Residence Hall improve in areas where it is lacking, not only for the students who live in the dormitory now but also for those who will enter the dormitory next year.
Kim You-jeong firstname.lastname@example.org
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