With an upcoming election in May 2019 to select a new student government at the University of Utah Asia Campus (UAC), here’s a look at what their current student government has accomplished over the past year.
While there were originally four members in the cabinet, the Chief of Staff, Yehyun Eric Kim, was fired, while Events Director Yae-Eun Hong and Public Relations Director Nicole Shelton stepped down. As a result, there are only two members in the current cabinet of the student government. The UAC student government appointed Henry Lee, a representative of the Department of Film & Media Arts, as the acting chief of staff. Student government is not planning to hire a new events director and Public Relations Director because of how little time there is left in the term.
There are four major representatives in UAC’s student government. Representatives of each department weren’t part of the student government before the current government had decided to provide voting rights to them and let them be a part of the student government.
There are five undergraduate degree programs and two graduate degree programs at UAC. The reason why there are only four major representatives in the student government is that the department of civil engineering and the graduate degree programs have few students. Most of the students in UAC are majoring in communications, psychology and film & media arts, so it is challenging for the student government to work with the major representatives of all of its degree programs.
Jeong-Hyun Kim, a student government president at UAC, stated that it was a tremendous journey and a great honor to serve as a president for UAC students. “The biggest accomplishment is refining the Constitution Amendment. [The] Constitution Amendment was too ambiguous, so we needed to work on that,” Jeong-Hyun said.
Rewriting the finance sections of the constitution was one of the most significant accomplishments that Jeong-Hyun had. “Thanks to the finance director’s support, we could create the finance section of the constitution in our term,” he said. Jeong-Hyun also introduced the speech competition event which the student government held last semester. “In November, we held the speech competition and we got many positive feedbacks from students and faculties.”
Hae-Jin Park, a finance director, is proud of what she has done so far in the finance department. “As a finance director, [my] biggest accomplishment was creating the finance process for students to know and make them be involved. We already have this process, but there are few students [who] know about it, so I needed to promote and let them know what exactly finance process is about,” Hae-Jin said.
Hae-Jin said that sometimes it is challenging for her when there are students who file a complaint about the student clubs’ funding. “I should interview with students who apply to get the funding for their clubs. I can’t approve all funding proposals, so I should select a few clubs where I can provide funding with reasonable reasons. I tried to talk to them individually and fully explain what happened,” Hae-Jin said. There were rumors that the past student council had its own criteria to provide funding for particular clubs. It made Hae-Jin work hard and open up the decision-making process for students to accept in order to increase transparency. “[The] first finance board workshop is the most memorable thing as a finance director,” Hae-Jin said. “Nobody told [students] how to apply to get the funding in the past and introduced the process of the finance board. I was glad that many students participated in the finance board workshop and gave me very great questions.”
Won-Ji Kim, a representative of the Department of Urban Ecology said that she was happy to serve the students who are majors in the department. Won-Ji introduced what she has done so far for the UAC community to make UAC better for incoming students. “Hae-Jin was also the Leadership Consultant. We created a program, which is called a ‘pride week.’ We worked together for presenting the program a whole week and handled some issues for students to think about,” Won-Ji said.
Won-Ji shared her experiences as a representative of the department of urban ecology. “I’ve tried to make a comfortable and warm atmosphere for students to communicate with each other. I want them to feel each other as a family and respect each of different backgrounds. I am sure that our students are welcoming learn about the culture difference to make a better department,” Won-Ji said.
UAC should interact more with the U’s SLC campus for its development. UAC won’t have more than four hundred students due to its quota, and the number of students cannot be an excuse for UAC about its lack of system, policy and infrastructure. There are students who are disappointed and dissatisfied with UAC due to its system, so the student government should work hard to make a better environment for UAC’s students.
Jeong-Hyun, however, stated that UAC is doing its best to make a better environment for students. “I think UAC is doing its best. Although there are some issues in UAC, UAC is young and I am confident UAC will be a better school soon,” Jeong-Hyun said.
Hae-Jin added that UAC is providing various opportunities for students to experience in diverse positions. “UAC itself is actually a great opportunity for most of the students in this campus. UAC is the best option for students who want to experience Korean culture and the system of the American Institution. UAC provides various opportunities for the students so that they can work inside and outside of the campus,” she said.
“Still, UAC is young so all the system and constitution are well not settled,” Hae-Jin pointed out. “Everything is not ready and perfect. Therefore, I think it’s a great opportunity for everyone to make this campus better.”
“UAC is a perfect place for students who want to do something new and develop their academic career,” Won-ji said. She shared her experience when she went to Gwang-Ju to attend the 2018 International Urban Design Forum. “I had to go to Gwang-Ju to attend the competition which was really important for me. I needed to come back to school during the competition due to the exam. Our dean of students, Randall McCrillis, supported the transportation fee to attend the competition and helped me to take a test. I was so glad when I became a winner of the competition with UAC’s support.”
Won-Ji, however, stated that UAC needs more support for the department of urban ecology. “As a representative of the department of urban ecology, I admit that our department is not a popular major in UAC,” said Won-Ji. “UAC, however, should be able to support [us]. We don’t get enough support compared to other departments. They should be able to support us as well as it supports other departments. UAC should provide more various courses and bring more professors to the department of urban ecology.”
All three students recommended that students who are studying at the SLC campus and considering studying abroad should come to UAC.
“UAC is kind of a unique place. UAC is located in Songdo, South Korea, which is a perfect environment for international companies and foreigners to work. The biggest benefit for SLC students who want to study abroad is they can continue their academic career under the name of the U,” Jeong-Hyun said.
“In the globalized world, if you want to be a competitive person, [then] experiencing Asian and Western U.S. education systems in UAC would be the best option for you to make your life much better. I hope you grab this opportunity,” Hae-Jin said.
“I wish SLC students come to UAC more and more if they want some more experiences. They can have Utah spirit with a new experience in South Korea. I want all students and faculties at the SLC know that Utah has an Asia Campus in South Korea,” Won-Ji said.
The three students also wished to express their gratitude to Douglas Lee, Jason Chen, Chelsea, Ashley and Bethany who were students that worked or studied at the UAC.
“It was my great honor to work with Jason last semester. I want Jason [to] know that I very much appreciate his service to us,” Jeong Hyun said.
“I can’t forget Chelsea who came to UAC for a semester in 2018 Spring. Thanks to her kindness, I could have a great time with her and have a great memory,” Hae-Jin said.
“Thanks to Douglas, I could learn how to serve as a student leader for students and make a better UAC. He fully supported me to make much better school life,” Won-Ji said.
The members of the current student government will serve until the end of the semester. The student council election will be held from 8th May to 10th May through Orgsync.