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The Second Campus: An Extension of Our Home Ground

The integrated festival was scheduled for May, but unfortunately, Kingos lost the opportunity to gather together and enjoy the festival due to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Since SKKU has two campuses, one in Seoul and one in Suwon, the integrated festival is one of the important events that provide a place for Kingos to get united. In the past, however, the integrated festival was not held for five years, so it was difficult for Kingos to interact with students from different campuses. As this shows, there are some problems with having the second campus. Therefore, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) will first look into the concept of the second campus, then the problem of having two campuses, and the efforts for the integration of SKKU.

The Concept of the Second Campus

The second campus is another campus of a university that is physically at a distance from the original campus, and the idea of building the second campus is called a dual campus system. The second campus can be established by separating quotas from the existing university or by acquiring another university. In other words, the establishment of the second campus does not require the approval of a new entrance quota from the Ministry of Education but an approval that the location of the school has been changed. Also, the second campus does not go through the process of founding a new university. This system has advantages of providing a better educational environment and improving expertise because the extension of the campus enables the securing of sufficient educational facilities and study space at the university.

The concept of the second campus emerged in the 1970- 80s when the government implemented population decentralization policies to control the population in the metropolitan area. At that time, some large universities were encouraged to relocate to provincial cities. For instance, Kim Sung-bae, the Mayor of Seoul, limited the number of students to universities in 1982 so that the population of Seoul would not exceed 9 million. In the case of SKKU, the university had a plan to expand its home ground in order to maintain better facilities and avoid traffic congestion regardless of the policies. As a result, the Natural Sciences Campus was successfully established in Suwon in 1979, and students majoring in science and engineering, who originally studied in Seoul, were relocated to the Suwon campus.

In this system, students are separated depending on three factors: department, grades, and specialized fields. Firstly, students are often divided into two campuses: humanities and social sciences; and natural and engineering sciences like SKKU. Secondly, there is a way for all freshmen to spend their first year on another campus and return to its original campus like Yonsei University. Finally, the second campus can be operated by establishing specialized fields. For instance, when Hankuk University of Foreign Students (HUFS) united two campuses, the global campus changed some humanities departments such as English Literature and Language, which overlapped with departments in the Seoul campus, to specialized fields: the English Interpretation and Translation Division.

The Limitations of the Dual Campus System at SKKU

Despite some advantages of maintaining the second campus, there are some problems and limitations due to the physical distance between Seoul and Suwon campuses.

Lack of Interaction Among Students

The time to get to the different campuses is approximately one and a half hours when taking the school shuttle bus, but it can take longer depending on the traffic conditions. Therefore, students cannot always afford to visit another campus, as they may have to spend about three hours on a round trip. Consequently, students might only stay on the campus where they have their classes. This can cause a lack of interaction between students majoring in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences since SKKU is divided into the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus and Natural Sciences Campus. In fact, a sophomore majoring in English Language and Literature said, “I’ve never been to the Suwon campus except for the entrance ceremony, and I haven’t met students majoring in Natural Sciences since I didn’t have any classes in common with them.” This problem can lead to great difficulty in preparing for a contest or for doing activities in clubs. Most of the contests require the cooperation and knowledge of both liberal arts and natural sciences. In SKKU, however, it is difficult for students in different fields to work frequently in projects due to physical distance. A similar problem can happen in clubs when organizing meetings or planning for band practices with students on different campuses.

Conflicts Between Campuses

Physical distance can also lead to less emotional interaction or conflict between two campuses. In the current society, there is a widespread perception that it is much more difficult for students who study liberal arts to get a job than students who study natural sciences. Along with this social perception, those students in different fields often fight against and show hostility towards each other. This hostility and conflict can also occur and be intensified in SKKU since the physical distance between Seoul and Suwon campuses makes it difficult for students to have frequent interaction, which might lead to dividing sides against each other. In fact, a conflict regarding that social issue already occurred in SKKU when preparing for the sports day last year. Before the sports day, the student council asked for students to come up with words under the theme of provocation towards other campuses. Nevertheless, students on the Natural Sciences campus degraded the other campus students and made fun of their difficulties in finding jobs. If they were in the united campus, the hostility might not come up to the surface and be made public as they have more chances to interact emotionally and be united.

Academic Issues

In the dual campus system, there might be restrictions on having lectures or majoring in other fields. Even though both campuses offer lectures on each other’s majors, the range of lectures and choices of courses that students can take are different. In the first semester of 2020, while 42 lectures on humanities and culture were held on the Seoul campus, only 15 were held on the other campus. It means that even if a student on the Suwon campus wants to take a lecture on humanities and culture, she is unable to take it because the lecture is not available on the campus where the student studies. Furthermore, the physical distance between campuses becomes an obstacle for students of liberal arts to take a double major in natural sciences and vice versa. It can prevent students from learning in various fields, thereby hindering them from fostering convergent talents. This can also become a major obstacle to SKKU, which targets the nurturing of students with convergent synergy.

For the Integration of SKKU

Previous Effort and Its Continuation

SKKU has continued putting effort into overcoming the physical distance and integrating two campuses. The festival was organized jointly by both campuses in September of 2018, and the integrated festival was held in 2019 for the first time in five years. The integrated festival will also be held in 2020 if available, as the current student councils of both campuses mentioned that they planned for more integrated events. Furthermore, the university gradually increased the number of shuttle buses, and now it has become seven in total for every day. It is important to increase shuttle buses even more to reduce the gap between the campuses and encourage students to interact frequently.

New Attempts for the Future

From 2020, SKKU reformed the First-Year Experience (FYE) system and introduced an integrated Learning Community (LC) system to increase interactions between the two campuses. The LC is a self-learning community organized for freshmen to support campus life. While the previous LCs were only composed of students from the same department, the integrated LCs are composed of students from all four departments: Human Sciences, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Engineering Sciences. Through this system, students get opportunities to take the same lectures, organize study groups, and prepare for the sports day with students from different campuses. Moreover, new subjects, the Sungkyun Classics Book Club and Creative Convergence Design, are assigned to freshmen, which made students visit different campuses mandatorily. This is because the former subject is only held on the Humanities and Social Sciences campus, and the latter one is only held on the Natural Sciences Campus. Although the problems of the reformed system are not explicitly revealed now, the university needs to be prepared for the repercussions followed by these changes, such as increasing more shuttle buses. Through this system, it is expected for students to have more interactions with a different campus.

As the campuses of SKKU settled down into two different places, Kingos have been separated for a long time. There are some problems and conflicts due to a lack of interaction between the students, but SKKU is constantly making an effort to overcome the physical and emotional distances between the campuses. Along with the support from the university and constant interests of the Kingos on other campuses, SKKU will be able to become integrated as one despite the distance between the campuses.

최정인  choiji1208@g.skku.edu

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