Cave Exploration Research Association
The “2022 Club Fair” was successfully held for two days, from March 10th to 11th. As an event that delivered warmth to schools frozen cold due to COVID-19, various organizations and clubs on campus introduced themselves. Furthermore, they promoted themselves to recruit new members, making students feel that their lively college life has come again. As such, there are clubs or organizations in Dongguk University, and there are unique clubs that were first created by Dongguk University or do not exist in other schools. In order to see what clubs or organizations there are, the Dongguk Post met the clubs at Dongguk University.
(From the top ; 2022 Club Fair, Cave Exploration Research Association and Dongbul) Each club seems to be working hard in club activities
./Photography from DGU Press, Cave Exploration Research Association and Dongbul
Q. Please introduce your club.
Cave Exploration Research Association: Hello! We are Dongguk University Cave Exploration Research Association. We explore various caves that are not open to the public and challenge extreme sports such as climbing.
Haram: Haram is a club that teaches the Korean language and culture to foreigners who came to korea as exchange students to Dongguk University. Classes are held every Saturday except for the test period, and once a month, we hold an “Event Day,” a field trip. For your information, Haram is currently in the Central Club Volunteer Division of Dongguk University.
Dongbul: Hello, we are Dongbul, a central club with a 60-year tradition. In line with the name of the Buddhist Student Association, Buddhist services and rituals are held every week, and we are steadily participating in various Buddhist events both inside and outside the school. In addition, monks and students are working hard to preach. Every year, various activities such as Naksansa Membership Training (MT) (suspended for two years), viewing exhibitions, lightning gatherings, club fairs, and participating in Dongguk Lotus Festival are held. There is no membership fee or compulsory activity, and anyone who are interested in Buddhism regardless of school year or grade can join Dongbul.
Q. What is unique about your club that differentiates it from other clubs?
Cave Exploration Research Association: We pitch a tent near a cave and organizes food, clothing, and shelter to explore an undisclosed cave that is not open to the private sector. In addition, in terms of visiting various mountains to find the entrance to the cave and exploring the inside, we are mainly engaged in activities that are difficult to experience in other clubs. To tell you this much, I do not think I need to introduce anything more special about our club.
Haram: It is a particular point and advantage that there are many opportunities to hang out with international students.
Dongbul: Anyone interested in Buddhism can join and learn as much as they want, and get healing as good people gather. We are not just participating in Buddhist events; we are helping students to plan their own events and come to know about Buddhism. It also engages in information provision and club-level activities that are difficult for individuals to participate in, such as temple stays and Buddhist societies. In addition, it seems to be special in that it has active exchanges with alumni seniors in various fields of Buddhism, other schools, and overall activities that are only possible at Dongguk University. Major events include the “Yeondeung (lotus lantern) Workshop” and “Yeondeung Procession” in the first semester, temple tours and MT during vacation, and various contests and lotus festivals in the second semester. Above all, you can have small talk with the monks attending Dongguk University. Our club was briefly introduced on the “What’sup Man” YouTube channel. We have a lot of time to talk about various topics, including humorous monks, coffee masters, video editing monks, and monks with the grade point averages (GPAs) close to 4.5, and graduate monks.
Q. There must have been restrictions on activities due to COVID-19 over the past two years. Was there anything disappointing?
Cave Exploration Research Association: I think the most regrettable thing is that the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in 2020, gradually blocked cave exploration activities and replaced existing activities with other activities such as climbing.
Haram: I joined Haram in the first semester of 2021 and has been working as the 32nd president. At the time of entry, the system of non-face-to-face activities had already been established. Nevertheless, it was regrettable that there were problems such as the lack of motivation of the members and the fact that there were more people who were absent. Constraints include the fact that it has become relatively difficult to build rapport with international students since classes have to be conducted non-face-to-face. It is challenging to plan event day activities on a large scale.
Dongbul: This is because group activities such as the lotus lantern procession, temple stay, and MT, which are the flowers of Buddhist events, were not possible. As it was difficult to gather more than 10 students, it was regrettable that the number of students in Dongbul, who had reached 70, could not do many activities. Therefore, there were many cases where they left the club or graduated without activities. As we were trying to revitalize the campus, we felt sorry for this more than anything else, so we wanted to expand opportunities for face-to-face contact. However, since we only met online, there were cases where they felt awkward about face-to-face events. Nevertheless, most of the new members and first-year students are still actively participate when they can enter the student hall.
Q. Are there any new projects or activities planned for 2022?
Cave Exploration Research Association: First of all, we are planning to go on a cave exploration together in conjunction with other cave exploration organizations in Korea, or if we cannot, we will be introduced to other universities and explore special caves. Also, we plan to contact similar clubs overseas when the COVID-19 situation is over in the future.
Haram: Such activities include the exchange of overseas clubs and content development for social media promotion. Since the latter is still in the conceptual stage, I will only talk about the former. We are currently discussing details with two of our sister universities (Malaysia-based Malay University’s Global Network Club and Komazawa-based Komazawa University’s international exchange club Panda).
Dongbul: The lantern parade, which has been suspended for two years, and a regular court in the club will be held. In the meantime, I have tried to promote Buddhism to my friends by participating in events such as regular Buddhist meetings, club fairs, and Dongguk Lotus Festival on campus. There were many difficulties due to the spread of COVID-19. As the Lotus Lantern Festival is an important event in the Buddhist world, we plan to participate after the all-out preparation of Dongbul. Many people are already joining us in making lanterns at the daily Yeondeung Workshop.In addition,Buddhist meetings do not only teach doctrines, but also hold events of various kinds that anyone can participate in, such as balance games and meditation. This year, many international students have joined, and due to the high demand for new experiences in Buddhist events, they will also participate in the ceremony on April 6th. At the end, simple education such as lotus lantern transfer education and the bowing method will be also provided. As about 100 members expect various face-to-face activities, we will try to meet their expectations.
Q. Is there anything you are looking forward to?
Cave Exploration Research Association: I want to actively participate again in cave exploration activities that I could not do well last year and the year before. I look forward to various activities, not just cave exploration.
Haram: There will be a gradual conversion to face-to-face classes. I think there is a connection with dynamics that you cannot get without going offline.
Dongbul: This year, the Student Center will be open, so we can meet more members of the clubI am looking forward to it in that I can hold a chat with members at the school cafe, strengthen our friendship, and engage in Buddhist activities together. One of the most anticipated opportunities for club members to participate in temple stay is that I want to meet more club members by increasing the quota compared to when I am in a non-face-to-face situation. Just as I was able to meet good people and good relationships in Dongbul and have a pleasant school life, I hope many members will learn and experience a lot of things.
Despite the period when many things stopped due to COVID-19, many students have continued various and special activities through clubs. From 2022, much diverse and dynamic club activities can be expected.
The president of HIGHWAY, the 38th Central Club Association of Dongguk University, said, “Club activities are the flower of university life. If you are interested, do not hesitate to try it. In Dongguk University’s 65 central clubs, you can meet friends with similar interests and set the stage for growth. Through club activities, you can gain various values such as knowledge, experience, and connections, and I hope this will be an opportunity to help students.” He also added, “The Central Club Association will always serve as a ladder for the central clubs to work smoothly, and students to feel joy in it. Therefore, students, please actively participate in club activities and have a beneficial and enjoyable university life.”
Choi Yu-ri firstname.lastname@example.org
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