On the Lounge: A Conversation with the SNU President Honglim Ryu

On March 31, the inaugural SNU “On the Lounge: A Conversation with the SNU President” took place at Kwanjeong Maru, located on the second floor of the Kwanjeong Library. On the Lounge is an event organized by the 63rd SNU Student Council, SNU Office of Student Affairs, and SNU Broadcasting Club SUB in order to help incorporate the students’ opinions into the university policies that will be led by the newly appointed SNU President, Honglim Ryu. This year’s On the Lounge focused on listening to ideas and inquiries from first-year students and those who have returned to campus after taking time off. The SNU President answered questions from the audience and those collected online, showing his aspirations for heading the university for the next four years. Below are some of the questions and answers exchanged between the students and the President.

SNU President Honglim Ryu answering a student’s question
SNU President Honglim Ryu answering a student’s question

Questions from First-year Students

Q: What sort of new experiences should I seek to make the most out of university life?

A: There is no definite answer, in my view, on what specific experiences you should have during your studies. Every experience plays a significant role in your progress, so any experience that helps you discover a field of your interest will suffice. But if I have to say just one thing, I believe that good relationships should be the basis of your experiences. Managing relationships is a difficult task for everyone, and after you graduate and start your career, you will have to confront ever more complex relationships. Relationships during your university life can help you cope with this. Practice how to interact with others, and meet many lifelong mentors. Building strong relationships will help you through your university life and your future career as well.

Q: SNU has recently launched the LnL (Living and Learning) residential college program. What is your plan to foster the improvement of this program and support the participating students?

A: My goal is to help students taking part in LnL devise new projects on their own and learn from them. Since LnL is a program designed for the growth of undergraduate students, especially those in their first year, I think LnL should be a foundation for new experiences that cannot be provided through classroom lectures. I will do my best to support their ideas for improving their living environment, as well as promote club activities in the dormitory. I will also make an effort for the quick renovation of the Gwanak Residence Halls, providing the students with a more comfortable living environment.

Students participating in On the Lounge with President Honglim Ryu
Students participating in On the Lounge with President Honglim Ryu

Questions from Students Returning to Campus

Q: I hear many students saying that there are not enough places to relax on campus. Are there any plans to create new resting spots for students through renovation of buildings or spaces?

A: I am fully aware of this problem. I will discuss with the Planning Department whether there are any open spaces that can be renovated into spots where students can take a break. If you have any ideas, you can voice your opinion to the Office of Student Affairs, and we will try to implement it. But focusing on the effective use of our current campus spaces is more important than simply creating new spaces. Are our classrooms appropriate for rest? If they are not, we should try to make them so, rather than creating new spaces. It is the responsibility of all members of the SNU community to find out how best to integrate rest into our everyday lives.

Q. In the age of convergence, what are some of the most important attributes for students?

A. Collaboration, communication, and most of all, cooperation. In order to gain the knowledge you need amidst the deluge of information, you cannot just rely on books. Collaboration and communication with other people is indispensable. As for cooperation, it is the most important attribute in the progress of humanity, and has been the key to overcoming the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic showed us how important robust communication is in helping us navigate a global crisis. This is why I recommend that students always try to develop their abilities to cooperate with their peers.

Written by Seunghwan Oh, SNU English Editor,
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations,