Eastern has tons of multicultural student organizations on campus, organizations that help minority students find other students with shared experience and a place that feels like home.
For Korean students on campus, they can find that place with Eastern’s Korean Student Association.
Korean Student Association is a registered student organization primarily consisting of Korean international and Korean-American students. Though the organization is primarily made up of Korean students, the organization welcomes any students interested in Korean culture and issues.
The organization’s purpose is to promote awareness of Korean culture, to coordinate activities to help Korean students at Eastern, and build a network among alumni who were a part of the organization. Korean Student Association also hopes to help build relationships among Korean students both here at Eastern and in other universities.
Allison Kim, senior biochemistry student, is the president of Korean Student Association. She explained that when she first attended Eastern, she was not interested in joining any registered student association, but eventually chose to join Korean Student Association.
“The weekly meetings I happened to join by chance helped me gain useful information like where to buy Korean groceries, which brand of the bank is more beneficial in international transactions, which apartment is better to stay in, [and so on],” Kim said. “Moreover, it surprised me how the Charleston community was interested in Korean culture whenever we had chances to share our culture. It made me feel more responsible in delivering our culture in the right way.”
She further explained that Korean Student Association is a platform where students can bond and connect with one another, share Korean culture with the Charleston community, and celebrate national holidays together.
Korean Student Association used to have weekly meetings Thursdays from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union’s Arcola Room. Ever since the coronavirus pandemic started, though, Korean Student Association has started having the occasional virtual meeting.
“We’ve done some events like ‘Spicy Noodle Challenge,’ ‘Korean Movie Night’ before COVID, but ever since that, nothing particular has been planned,” Kim said.
As president of the organization, Kim managed the events and activities Korean Student Association hosted. Due to COVID, however, her position as president has changed.
This past school year, Kim has been more focused on keeping members in touch by managing the “in’s and out’s” of the members and helping them share important information.
COVID has definitely taken a toll on Korean Student Association, with the virus putting a pause on most of the organization’s activities and weekly meetings. The organization has been having trouble having weekly meetings and hosting events since students currently live in different time zones all over the world.
“We were excited to plan unique activities, meeting more people to share our culture, but all of that had to change due to the current situation. We have been adjusting by accepting the changes and being thankful for the fact that we are at least being able to meet online and make sure everyone is staying safe and healthy,” Kim said.
During this time, Korean Student Association has been working toward getting used to the virtual format of learning that is new to many Eastern students. The organization is looking forward to meeting new members next fall semester, when it hopes the current COVID situation will get better and specific plans will be made to ensure registered student organizations can meet.
“I hope the Charleston community gets more interest in Korean culture and hope everyone stays healthy. We look forward to meeting in person soon,” Kim said.
Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]