On March 4, 2019 the completion of the Humanities Community Lounge was marked by the consecration of the Catholic University of Korea (CUK) in International Hub. Over a hundred of students participated in the consecration ceremony and celebrated the birth of the lounge. Since then, the lounge has become one of CUK students’ favorite spots as a resting place and study place in the University. However, it seems that many students do not really know about the process of how this user-oriented and creative space was started at CUK. For this reason, CUF looked for people who played a hidden role in creating this space and interviewed them.
On September 5, 2018, an announcement notifying the beginning of the lounge’s construction by CORE project was posted on the CUK online home page. CORE project refers to initiative for COllege of humanities’ Research and Education supported by the government, and the CORE institute of CUK has consistently worked to develop the College of Liberal Arts, strengthening its core capabilities related to humanities in CUK. As part of this CORE project, Lee Chang-bong, professor of the School of English Language Literature and one of the CORE institute’s founding members, directed the lounge’s formation project and professor Lee Eun-bae provided help in this process with students who had worked on “사제동행(師弟同行) project” which is students’ traveling project accompanied by teachers for studying diverse subjects.
On the project, Professor Lee and her students, Park Da-un(Chemistry, 13), Choi In-seung (Accounting, 16), Lee Hyo-ju (Economics, 17) discussed the classroom space design and specifically developed the idea. Eventually, they took part in “ICoME 2018Advancing Learning Experience with Emerging Technology” in Chungbuk National University and got a young scholar award on “Reflecting, Researching, and Reimagining the Classroom Space Design” and was recognized for an outstanding academic performance. Based on this experience, they offered useful ideas for producing a creative space in the International Hub. Also, in order to reflect CUK students’ opinions and thought on the construction proposal, they additionally carried out a survey targeting CUK students and faculty members, organizing over five hundred respondents’ opinions and thoughts about the proposal.
To know the detail of the process, CUF interviewed Lee Hyo-ju, one of the project members and the president of Medici which is a member of the students’ association heading “Renaissance projects” aimed at making CUK a prestigious university. That is the reason why it named itself after Medici family, one of the most powerful families in the world that made a decisive contribution to the “Renaissance” in Italy.
Q1. In the process of planning the Humanities Community Lounge, what did you feel or did you realize anything?
Before I took part in this space formation project, I did not think that CUK had invested university facilities sufficiently. However, in the process of planning the lounge and creating it, I felt that the university is truly endeavoring to develop itself and provide convenience to lots of students. The university members made an effort to take all the students’ opinions and thoughts into account during the construction period.
Also, in the process of planning the lounge, all team members worked hard even during the exam period. I think it is because all our members have had an affection for our university and for this reason, we had wanted to create the place for our students and strived toward that goal. We looked into other universities’ notable spots, creative educational spaces, resting places, and asked a lot of other universities’ students about them. We did the research and adopted other universities’ decent spatial structures or space utilization model such as that of Seoul National University or Sung Kyun Kwan University. Also, we became more intimate with professor Lee. I will never forget this experience that I made a project proposal for our university and I think this increases my school spirit. I also hope that this development of facilities encourages other students’ school spirit too.
Q2. What are your favorite things in your construction proposal? Can you pick three things among them?
First of all, I like that people can enjoy the great view outside the university working at their desks. It lets me have a feeling of being in a café with a good atmosphere. Secondly, I love the chairs where people can sleep. Before student council started off, I could not take a rest or take a nap due to the absence of a women’s lounge. However, now I can get enough rest in the lounge comfortably. Finally, I would choose the seminar room in the first floor of the lounge as my last favorite things. Even though there are seminar rooms in Veritas Hall (Central Library), it is too far from International Hub. Thanks to the seminar room in the lounge, I do not need to go Central Library anymore for a seminar room.
Q3. Do you have anything to say to users in regard to problems of personalizing the seats in the lounge?
I felt a sense of satisfaction watching students who use the lounge and love it. However, it is a little shameful that there have been problems of personalizing the seats in the lounge. Some students just leave their possessions or bag on the seat and do not show up again for a long time, and these problems caused conflicts among students. I recognized these problems and ran a new project with Medici members and the student council to form a right culture in using the lounge, like attaching signs on the steps in the International Hub. I hope students use the lounge cleanly consider that it is a place for all students.
In the last part of the interview, she expressed a wish that she would like the lounge to be every students’ place where they can rest and study in comfort. She said, “I do not think that our project team did everything in creating the lounge. I think that we did it as just as a representative of CUK students and all the students made this up together. I really appreciate for all your participation and help in developing our university.“ As she said, the Humanities Community Lounge is a meaningful place created by the efforts of all CUK people, including students and faculty members. Likewise, if the CUK people actively communicate with each other and collaborate on projects for developing the university, it might inspire, in the literal sense of the word, a “Renaissance” in CUK.