Have you ever experienced a lack of seats in a student lounge or a reading room in your college at Chonnam National University (CNU)? Many students said that they feel uncomfortable with some students privatizing seats in student facilities. This seat privatization problem is a common issue that students raise their voices about every semester and always becomes a hot potato between students during the exam periods. On the online platform named “Everytime” that many CNU students use, about 30 posts with the phrase ‘personalized seats’ popped up during only the last semester. The Chonnam Tribune looked at this chronic problem closely and suggested a real solution to this issue.
|▲ Some seats with just belongings on them but no students to keep other students from using the seats at the Study Café in the College of Humanities 1 building|
More Student Spaces Needed in Each College
Baek Ji-yeon (Senior, Dept. of Japanese language and Literature) said, “Whenever I go to the student lounge in the College of Humanities 3 building, there really are no seats since many students keep large tables by leaving their stuff.” Needless to say, the seat privatized problem is more severe during the exam periods. All study spaces on campus are full of students, but there are frequently seats only with belongings but no students meaning that the seats are already taken. This situation constantly happens in every college, including the College of Engineering, the College of Business Administration, and the College of Education. It is the lack of study spaces for students that causes the problem in the first place. In the College of Engineering, the student lounge is located above the café Pan Dorothy. Students cannot use the lounge when the building is closed after 8 p.m. This causes students to head to the college library. As a result, the college library is always crowded during the exam periods, compared to other colleges which open student lounges for twenty-four hours during those times.
In the cases of the College of Business Administration and the College of Education, a major characteristic is that students need to use laptops. This causes a lack of seats in student spaces in their buildings. Choi In-young (Senior, Faculty of Business Administration), the Head of the College of Business Administration Emergency Committee said, “Although we provide extra rooms to students during exam periods, the student lounge is always crowded due to the characteristic of the majors that means laptops are used a lot.” Meanwhile, for the College of Education, its reading room is always crowded owing to different dates of each major’s certification exams, and the group study room is also more popular in break times for students to practice a trial performance for their presentations in front of their class.
Students’ Awareness and Managements Matter
Students should not leave their belongings on certain seats to keep other students from using the seats in the kind of sharing spaces on campus. However, another cause of the seat privatization problem is students’ awareness of their own responsibility for student spaces. Because the College of Humanities 3 building is located almost in the center of Yongbong campus, many students from other colleges use its student spaces. This leads to a higher utilization rate of the place, followed by a ‘space war’ of students to occupy seats in the student lounge and the study cafe. A similar situation also happens in the College of Human Ecology. Only the freshmen have lockers on the first floor of the building and other students’ lockers are on other floors. However, most of their lectures are held on the first floor. This has resulted in students who do not have a locker on the first floor leaving their belongings in the study lounge on the first floor. Kim Jin-un (Junior, Dept. of Family Environment and Welfare), the President of the Student Council of the College of Human Ecology said, “Even though we want to make more spaces for our college students during exam days, we cannot open extra lecture rooms since all rooms are used as exam rooms. So, we hope students understand the college’s situation and that their awareness improves.”
|▲ Students leave their belongings on certain seats to keep other students from using the seats.|
It is part of the problem that there is now enough of a workforce to manage the privatized seats well. Each college’s student council members are trying to deal with the problem and come up with ways to prevent it, but it is not as easy as it seems. The previous Student Council of the College of Humanities used to patrol it and made daily records to reduce privatized seats. However, this year, they are on an emergency measure committee system so they are not really carrying out actions. The College of Engineering also said they had student workers to arrange any issues in the college library but they have not been working for three years. Only the College of Engineering 7 building is managed by the student council of School of Electronics and Computer Engineering. Kim Ji-hun (Junior, School of Electronics and Computer Engineering), the Head of the College of Engineering Emergency Committee, said the best way to prevent privatized seats is by booking the seats at intervals of a week. However, it is clear that they are short of manpower to implement the system.
It Is Time to Take Practical Action
The problem of privatized seats seems hard to manage but there are some colleges at CNU taking practical action to improve students’ school life. The College of Education made rules last semester and put them into action. Each day the student council determines times to look around the open space. On the first turn, they put a note saying personalized seats. If the student does not come back within two hours, they put the belongings away on their second turn. It is similar with the College of Human Ecology. They put a notice saying ‘No personalizing seats’ inside the student lounge. If the belongings are not taken away after two weeks from the announcement, the student council removes them and keeps them separately. They also check student ID cards to make sure only their college students are using the space.
Both colleges’ students are optimistic about the measures because students do not have to struggle to find a seat to study. Such strong and compulsory rules are needed to control the severe situation in every college. As the system improves as time goes by, students’ awareness about the seat personalization will also improve, and then the privatization of seats will be reduced. Students have to endeavor to enhance a better learning environment by themselves.
By Lee Eun-ji, Student Editor
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