High price levels due to inflation and the current economic downturn have made students live under a limited budget as their income from part-time jobs remains pretty much the same as before. In order to alleviate students’ worries caused by such increased price level, some universities’ student unions have made a creative effort - discount card s to get cheaper prices at stores.
The first attempt of this discount movement was from the Korea University Students’ Association (KUSA) in 2007. The 40th KUSA first created ChungChun card, its own discount card only available to Korea University (KU) students, who paid student council fees.
“Some stores did not welcome our idea when we tried to negotiate. However, we promised them to promote their stores on our website as well as in other ways like fliers,” said Jeong Soo-hwan, the current president of the KUSA. Jeong’s purpose of makinf this card was to help KU students to save even a little amount of money through discounts by using stores near their school.
Students need to show their ChungChun card with their student ID card in order to get discounts from designated stores including restaurants, hair salons, and theaters selected by the association. So far, 1,950 ChungChun cards have been given out to KU students.
It does not only benefit students, but it also helps stores. “Because of this card, our store has become famous as increased number of students who wish to get a discount visit frequently,” said Lee Hae-gun, the owner of a restaurant named Bonnie House located near KU.
Also the association of student unions in five universities named The Shift in Generations, which include
However, the process of spreading the movement was not easy. “Stores, which had already provided discounts to students, refused to give more discounts when we asked,” said Lee Yu-ri, the head of external cooperation office at the Student Association of Sookmyung Women’s University.
With this unified card, students can enjoy discounts from 13 major companies in
While some of other university students get benefits from such discount cards, Ewha students are excluded from this movement. Although there are some stores near the school that provide a discount to Ewha students, some students are not well-informed due to the lack of an organized system. “Many students come to our store not knowing the fact that we provide discounts to students when showing Ewha student ID cards,” said Kang Myung-hee, the owner of Cafe Tiamo located next to Edae Subway Station.
However, the Student Government Association (SGA) in Ewha does not plan to promote this discount movement for now. “The discount card looks good that it helps students to save money, but it might create a culture of reckless consumption and maximize a company’s profits only,” said Yang Kyung-un (Korean, 4), the head of the executive committee of the SGA.
The SGA, however, offers different ways to help students deal with higher price levels. “Students can buy necessities cheaply from the Ewha Cooperative, and we are trying to bring 24-hour Ewha Cooperative to the Ewha Campus Complex for convenience,” said Lee Kyung-jin (English,3) , the head of the SGA’s student autonomy office.