Have you ever seen interesting things at YU? There are many attractive things at YU. For example, Love Road and the Korean Folk Village are both wonderful and popular places. Spots like these have some features. First, they are both massive. The size of each place is bigger than other spots at YU. Second, they are fixed place, but the changes in weather turn them into another place. For example, Love Road in the spring is popular for being full of cherry blossoms. But when the fall comes in it, the flowers change to fallen leaves. But these places are so affected by nature that the scenery is limited.
On the other hand, there is a place, the front area, that has a colorful feature and can be utilized by students on campus. The front area is organized of a Poles Garden(the area from the International Center to the Gate of CHUNMA), and the Gate of CHUNMA (from the subway station to Chunmaro). You may see the front area in YU near the crosswalk and the subway station. This area is used for many purposes. You may see many performances at the Gate of CHUNMA during the university’s festival, and other times. Many contests are held on the stage at the Gate of CHUNMA. Many people, including students, have done lots of busking in this spot, especially Poles Garden. I could see two people having an impromptu busking session during summer vacation. Although the two musicians had never met, when one of them saw the other player performing, he went home and came back with his djembe, and they played many songs together on the spot.
The front area of YU is also utilized as an art gallery. There is a big structure in the front area – The Gate of CHUNMA. There have been many statues exhibited in the front area such as Groot, many flamingos, a tiger on a boat, and rabbits made up of wood. These creatures were made by YU students in the College of Art. Sur Gil-su, President of Yeungnam University, also planted many flowers at the side of the front gate.
The front area is open to people other than just students. Many religious or political groups have assembled and praised their God or introduced their thoughts or faith to pedestrians. However, you have to consider that most of the information that the certain group gives is likely partial to their thoughts. Therefore, you should not be swept by their thoughts easily. Then, what do we have to do?
Do you know an agora? An agora is like the square nowadays, but the word has been used since ancient Greece. At first, it only meant a marketplace, but since many people assembled at or near the agora, its meaning changed to a place that people gather, or a meeting itself because many functions were added such as political, economic, social, cultural, etc. This place was the center of people’s lives. The ancient Greeks activated their market, and socialized with other people, expressing public opinion in the agora. They also argued about national defense, and politics, thoughts, and study. Plus, it was used as a stage and playground. In short, the agora was an open place for communication, and most of the social and cultural activities happened in the agora.
Similarly, the front gate at YU looks like an agora, in that it is easy to access, and many social and cultural activities take place there. However, it is not used like an agora. The Agora was applied by their citizens, the Greeks. The front area of YU is not mainly utilized by YU students, but by outsiders. We have to change this and revive the spirit of ownership. How can we do that?
First, we should voice our own opinions, and challenge the acts of the outsiders. There were so many debates and so much communication in an ancient agora. Likewise, we have to participate in social meetings in the front area and make the front area a place to communicate with each other. These days, people use the front gate just to convey their thoughts or faith. If we attend these meetings, we can change how this front area is used and make it more like an ancient agora.
Then, if someone wants to borrow the front area, how can that be achieved? A reservation for the front area – including the Geoul Mot stage, the gate of CHUNMA, and the Poles Garden – can be made on the Korean page of the YU website. On the discussion board, download the usage application form, fill out the form, and submit it to the campus management team. Finally, go to the URP system and request a reservation for the front area. If the request is accepted, you can use the space on the day that you choose.
The YU campus and its spaces is ours. It is no problem that other people visit our campus, but we’d better take back a sense of ownership and pride for our space. Only then can we utilize the space as we want.