|▲ The front gate of Bio-medical Campus in Ilsan. As the construction is not yet completed, there are still subsidiary materials around the campus. /Photograph by Kim You-jeong|
During the winter break, the College of Life Science and Biotechnology moved to the Bio-medical Campus (BMC) which is located in Ilsan, Gyeonggi-do. Since the ground breaking for construction of the campus in 2009, campus buildings have been completed one by one. Students in the College of Life Science and Biotechnology will have to take their course in Bio-medical Campus from this semester. Although many students and professors in the College of Life Science and Biotechnology have opposed the decision to move its campus from the beginning, school authorities pushed ahead with the plan. With the relocation to the new campus just around the corner, some problems are still unresolved.
Development of Bio-medical Campus
The history of the Bio-medical Campus goes back to 2009. Dongguk University launched this project to newly open the College of the Pharmacy, and began the construction of the Bio-medical Campus in 2009. In 2010, the school finally approved the relocation of the College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology to Ilsan and from this spring semester, students will be taking classes on the new campus. During the process of relocating the campus to Ilsan, there has been constant friction between the school authorities and the College of Life Science and Biotechnology. In May 2010, after the school’s decision to move the college, it held an information session about the new campus for the students, alumni, and professors. However, during the information session, many students and alumni expressed their dissatisfaction of not being asked their opinions about moving the campus and not notifying them the project’s progress at the right time. Venting their frustration, students in the College of Life Science and Biotechnology continued demonstrations throughout the second semester of 2010, together with the Student Council. The controversy deepened when the fact that the school dismissed a professor who opposed the project and forced professors to agree with the move and sign a motion was revealed. Moreover, there was a shameful truth that a signature of the dean of the College of Life Science and Biotechnology was even forged. Since moving the campus of the College of Life Science and Biotechnology was confirmed, a few problems have emerged. As a result, the school authorities are opening the new campus in Ilsan. Still, students feel uncomfortable about studying at the new campus. Is the Campus Well-Prepared for the Students to Move in and Study? Some problems that Bio-medical Campus faces
1. Lack of places to live in
A dormitory on the Bio-medical Campus, which is able to accommodate up to about 400 students, is scheduled to be completed in July. For some students who live far from the campus, the College of Life Science and Biotechnology prepared one-room apartments near the Bio-medical Campus. However, because of budget shortages, only 15 students out of 66 who registered for one-room apartments got approved to move in. Instead, school increased the accommodation quota at the Namsan Resident Hall for College of Life Science and Biotechnology students from 30 to 60. One of the students in the College of Life Science and Biotechnology, Shim Eun-bee, said, “I do not understand why school increased the quota at Namsan Residence Hall. It is no use living in Namsan Residence Hall because we have to study in Ilsan. The school should reconsider moving the campus until the problems related to dormitory is solved.” Yoo Jae-young, who is the head of the emergency planning committee at the College of Life Science and Biotechnology, said, “Many students think that the school lacks the ability to communicate with us immediately when changes occur. We have no choice but to wait for the school to inform us.” An administrative staff member of the College of Life Science and Biotechnology said, “We are aware of students’ difficulty regarding a lack of places to live. We are continuously contacting one-room apartment companies near the campus to accommodate more students.”
2. Lack of Courses to take
Students of the College of Life Science and Biotechnology have to take all courses on the new campus. However, compared to the number of students on the Bio-medical Campus, not enough required courses are being offered. Also, students are only allowed to take the classes in Seoul if liberal arts subjects are not offered at the new campus. Yoo Jae-young said, “As students have various requirements for their courses, we cannot accommodate all of them. However, most students feel sorry about not being able to meet and interact with students from various departments.” Additionally, students who are doing double-majors are having difficulty going to and from two campuses.
3. Difficulty communicating between two campuses
Three colleges, the College of Life Science and Biotechnology, the College of the Pharmacy, and the College of Korean Medicine, use the Bio-medical Campus together. As the College of Life Science and Biotechnology and College of the Pharmacy are originally based at the Seoul Campus, they have difficulty communicating between the two campuses. Even if the two colleges use the campus in Ilsan, their administrative system is based at the Seoul Campus, which means that fundamentally the separation of the two campuses is actually impossible. In addition, the College of Korean Medicine has not yet completed its relocation from the campus in Gyeongju to Ilsan. Because of all these factors, the Bio-medical Campus does not seem like “one” campus, but instead, a combination of improper species in one place. Although these three colleges use the same campus, their characteristics are all so different that it seems impossible to combine them into one functional unit. When asked about the prospect of the new campus electing a new student council on their own, Yoo Jae-young said, “As I am not the president of the college, I cannot be sure of having a new student council only for the Bio-medical Campus. To set up a new student council, the three colleges in Bio-medical Campus should agree on this.” He added, “In March, the College of Life Science and Biotechnology will have a by-election. After the by-election, an earnest discussion on several problems will restart.”
|▲ This is a student cafeteria located at ninth floor of Korean Medicine Hall. The total number of acceptable students is about 150, which is noticiably insufficient compared to the number of students who will use the Bio-medical Campus. The School is planning to order some food trucks temporarily to solve this problem. / Photograph by Kim You-jeong|
4. Student welfare
The lack of infrastructure on the new campus makes it difficult for the students to study and lead a normal school life. The new campus is lacking in its number of living and studying facilities like library and computer rooms. In case of the student cafeteria, only about 150 students can use at a time while the total number of students at Bio-medical Campus will reach up to 1100. The school is planning to order some food trucks on a temporary basis. However, the problems will not be fully solved until more student dining facilities are built. Students on the Bio-medical Campus will also have difficulty in participating in school festivals or in several programs held in the Seoul Campus. The head of emergency planning committee, Yoo Jae-young, explained, “To have enough living or studying facilities on the new campus, I think we will need more time.” The great distance between the two campuses also makes it difficult for students to participate in student circles. He mentioned, “I am a little bit worried that students in the Bio-medical Campus would be isolated from the main campus.”
More time will be needed to fully equip the new campus
For now, the Bio-medical Campus is still under construction, and the transition period could be longer than expected for the campus to be completely prepared to receive students. Yoo Jae-young worried, “I think it would take at least about 15 years to run the new campus properly. Moving a campus is not an easy thing that can be completed in a short period of time. School should have prepared more thoroughly for the students not to feel inconvenient.” A personnel in the Office of Planning and Facility Management, said, “We will try hard for students to adapt to new circumstances. Of course, there is always a difficulty at first when big changes happen. Minimizing the time spent for settling down at the new campus is our goal.” It has been five years since the construction of the Bio-medical Campus started. As some problems were predictable, the campus still has a long way to go ahead for students themselves to fully adapt to the new campus.
Kim You-jeong firstname.lastname@example.org
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