United Youth is an organization that aims to build and develop a unique youth culture. The name contains the group’s aspiration to become the youth trend leader in Korea. The group endeavors to unite the youth and create a culture they can share.
The group started as a school club founded in 2012 by a student Kim Mi-hyun, who is now the representative of the organization. As the group expanded, it started operating as an official organization in 2013. It currently has about 500 members and among them, 15 work as operators who design and plan cultural events such as installation art that can convey the message of the group.
“Culture is a word that can be very broad and vague. There is nothing much we can present as the campus culture,” said Shin Seung-yoon (Dongguk University, 3), the president of the organization. “For instance, drinking with friends to blow off stream would be what we can call as campus culture, but it is just for that moment. Therefore, our ultimate goal is to create a long-lasting culture that can represent the power and talent of university students,” Shin said.
The organization distinguishes itself from others in that they actually participate in the cultural projects from installation art to flash mobs. As a reward for their unique works, they got a chance to participate in the Color Dance Carnival.
“Thankfully, Seoul Metropolitan Government suggested our organization first to participate,” Shin said. For the carnival, they planned the color flash mob with participation of people from various walks of life including children and teachers. The flash mob contained the message of peace.
“Communication, happiness and peace are the keywords we value. We were genuinely sorry to see university students losing their interaction between people around them, striving only for credit and employment,” Shin said.As a solution for this, they started the Good Deed Campaign.
“We wanted university students to take the initiative to find internal peace and interact with other people,” Shin said. The campaign contains its hope that if each person uses 1 minute per day for other people, they will finally change our society into one full of happiness.
The campaign has progressed to include an unique installation called Good Deed Vending Machine; it is used to attract people through an interesting-looking bending machine. After accomplishing a small mission written in a message from the machine, people receive a present.
However, during the process of creating these novel projects, there are also hardships they have to overcome.
“The hardest moment was when we prepared for the umbrella installation art at Cheonggyecheon. I had to get inside the cold stream in person,” Shin recalled. The installation was a water pixel art project collaborating with “Earth Hour.” With written messages for environmental protection and peace dangling under the umbrella, letters containing the wish for peaceful world floated along the stream.
“However, it was also the most memorable moment. The collaboration between university students we have been looking for was able to happen in an event like this,” Shin said. “Searching for stable way to fix the letters, we got lots of help from friends majoring in engineering. Not just students majoring in the arts, but also engineering students made the final work of art together.”
As an extension of their previous projects, the organization is preparing for the Intercollegiate Festival that will be held in October, in which many universities in Korea will participate. There are going to be various sections including video art, play, music, art exhibition, etc. Through the event, they are trying to provide opportunities for students to share their own talents.
“There is nothing glamorous about what we accomplished but it is our incessant work running around on our own two feet,” Shin said. “We are going to continue our works to share these projects with more universities.”