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Use of Space at SKKU: Where Can Kingos Go?

As the first month of the new semester has just passed, Kingos should be used to their timetables by now. However, a gap between classes can still be troublesome for some Kingos. They end up wandering the campuses looking for places to go to between classes. This is especially true for students who are not into activities within their majors or do not belong to any school clubs. These students do not get to spend time between classes in the student association rooms for specific majors or clubs. For this reason, many Kingos have complained that the school does not offer enough spaces for students. Therefore, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) analyzes problems of usage and management of space at SKKU, and suggests possible solutions.

Spaces for Kingos at SKKU

Study Spaces on Campus

Break Areas and Spaces for School Clubs

Problems of Space Use at SKKU

Inefficiency of Study Space Usage and Management

As a university is a place for research and study, it should offer students enough spaces to study. The study environment at SKKU, however, needs to be improved due to its inadequate number of study spaces. This is especially true during exam periods because the libraries are often too crowded. It is not only the spaces for self-study that are lacking, but SKKU also lacks space for group study. The school has only about 120 group study rooms that a total of about 20,000 Kingos have to share; therefore, students have difficulty finding study rooms that are available for group projects. Moreover, many study rooms are only for students majoring in specific departments, and some study rooms are occupied with fewer students than the maximum capacity. When there are lots of assignments, including group projects, most study rooms are completely booked. Even open study spaces, like the Creative Zone or the Learning Factory, are full and all seats are usually taken. It is difficult to reserve a study room for a time when all group members are available. Therefore, many students give up finding a proper place to study on campus, and they work on their projects at cafés or paid study rooms. Another reason for studying off campus is that the study rooms at the libraries are only available until 4pm on Saturdays and not available on Sundays, although many students study and work on their group projects on weekends. Despite its huge size, spaces are being used inefficiently as well in the Natural Sciences Campus. According to S:with, the 50th student council, there are three totally empty spaces and more partly unused places around the campus. For instance, there are several lecture rooms where only one or two lectures are given, and some seminar rooms are almost totally unused and left as empty spaces for the semester.

A Study Room at Central Library

Problems with the Space Reservation System

1. Lecture Rooms Reservation

School clubs not belonging to Club Associations do not own rooms for themselves. When these clubs have meetings or activities, they need to book lecture rooms using the space reservation service. The service is available online through Gold Lawn Square (GLS) or offline by contacting the offices in charge. This reservation service, however, has several problems. First of all, it does not offer enough information. Only the offices of the College of Confucian Studies and Eastern Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts, Global Business Administration and Global Economics majors upload detailed instructions of how to book lecture rooms. Although the rooms in the Business School building on the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus and most buildings of specific departments on the Natural Science Campus are usually available only for students of each particular department, this is not indicated on the booking system. Another problem is the confusion of online and offline reservations. For example, students who rent an available lecture room online might not be able to use the space because it has already been reserved offline. On the contrary, lecture rooms that are indicated as unavailable online are sometimes available by contacting the office. This confusion may stress students out every time they rent a lecture room. In addition, the reservation system on GLS is only available online, not by mobile phone, which causes even more inconvenience to students.

2. Sports Facility Reservations

Suseonggwan on Natural Sciences Campus/ skku.edu

Before a new semester begins, school sport clubs apply to book the sports facilities for the coming semester. Then, the club leaders have a meeting to adjust the reservation times. On the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus, the Student Support Team and the student council take reservations for the playground. Meanwhile, the basketball court does not need to be reserved and can be used freely. Since the sports facilities are so limited, clubs that miss the deadline for the application cannot use the playground for the whole semester. In contrast, there are comparatively more adequate sports facilities on the Natural Sciences Campus. All of these sports facilities are managed by the College of Sport Science because the students of that college need to use the facilities for their classes. In order not to confuse the class times and the reservation times, the office of the college manages the reservation service. Among other facilities which are available any time except for the time reserved, Suseonggwan, the Gymnasium Complex, is not available on weekdays for students who do not belong to the College of Sport Science. It is available on weekends at a cost of \60,000 for 3 hours. The reason for this complicated rental system of Suseonggwan is because the facility and the equipment inside are very expensive and need more careful maintenance. Recently, there was an issue regarding the rental payment to the college office instead of the school. According to one teaching assistant (TA) in the College of Sport Science, the rental fee is used as the labor cost for the TAs who come to the school on weekends to manage the facility rental.

Break Areas That Need Improvement

For students’ to rest in the school offers break areas on both campuses. As mentioned earlier, there are lounges for both female and male students respectively. Male student lounges, however, are insufficient on both campuses. On the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus, a male students’ lounge was established in 2012 but was closed within two years because of theft and sanitary problems. Last year, it was reestablished and has so far been managed well. Even on the Natural Sciences Campus, where about 75% of the total students are male, there is only one lounge that about 6,000 male students have to share. This one and only male students’ lounge is not well-known to most students due to insufficient promotion. In terms of women’s lounges, the facilities are very old and users are worried about the sanitary conditions of the lounges because students cannot check if cleaning is carried out regularly. Besides the lack of men’s lounges and the poor conditions of the women’s lounges, some students do not even know about the presence of these rest areas. This is because there is no system that tells the location of break areas at SKKU. Moreover, the male students lounge on the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus has not yet been added to the campus map.

A Male Common Room at the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus

Improving the Space Usage at SKKU

Space Chargeback System for Better Usage of Space

In order to use spaces on campus efficiently, some universities are operating a special system called “space chargeback”. Under this system, each department in a university is assigned a standard number of spaces considering its characteristics such as the number of students and professors. If a department uses more spaces than assigned, it should be charged for the costs for the exceeded area of spaces or return them to the school. Mostly, a department looks for spaces being used inefficiently and returns them instead of paying the fees. These returned spaces are used for students or for professors’ research. Since space chargeback does not charge for students’ spaces like club rooms, it does not pressure students at all. The Ministry of Education introduced this system to many public universities like Seoul National University, Pusan National University, and Chonbuk National University. Dongguk University, a private university, is also operating the system. Chonbuk University’s space chargeback system is different from those of other universities because it charges individuals, like each professor, instead of departments. In order to improve the efficiency of the system, the school carefully examined all available spaces. In 2009 when Chonbuk University started to operate the space chargeback system, about 80 lots of 3,864㎡ were returned, which is a similar size to the Suseon Hall Annex on the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus. After that, spaces of about 1,500㎡ have annually been returned on average. Therefore, SKKU should consider introducing this space chargeback system to minimize spaces that are being used inefficiently.

Introduction of an Efficient Space Reservation System

Since SKKU’s space reservation system has several problems, the school needs to introduce a more efficient system. Yonsei University’s space reservation system can be a good model of this. Yonsei University has a separate system which only deals with space reservation of places like lecture rooms, sports facilities, and practice rooms on campus. Unlike SKKU’s complicated GLS system, the Yonsei system is easy to find and use. The system provides detailed instructions including reservation processes and rules, available spaces and times, and who is eligible to apply for each space. Moreover, the detailed information of each space, such as capacity, seat types, and equipped devices, is offered so that students can choose the best place for their purpose. In terms of the space reservation schedules, while SKKU’s system only marks whether a room is reserved or not, the Yonsei system shows when a certain group is using a space. The Yonsei system is also available on mobile phones, which makes it highly accessible for students. Likewise, SKKU should introduce a more efficient and easy-to-use space reservation system.

Yonsei University Space Reservation System Different from SKKU/ space.yonsei.ac.kr

Both campuses at SKKU have had different endemic problems of space usage. The Humanities and Social Sciences Campus has lacked spaces, while the Natural Sciences Campus has had huge spaces available, but used them inefficiently. With the hard work of the school and the student council to solve these problems, the SKT hopes that SKKU will be able to provide more spaces for students in order to maintain their happy campus lives.

정선우  jsw5861@naver.com

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