The organizers of such a vast project are called “Saengjon Gyeongjaeng,” a Korea PR club introducing and advertising Korea. Its original Korean name means that a group of vigorous university students “struggle to exist” in this never-ending competitive society and actively promote Korea just with passion. Every project or event is created by the students themselves and the fact that it is almost the sole university group to represent and promote Korean culture and trends makes this particular club stand out from other clubs.
Like any other clubs, ‘Saengjon Gyeongjaeng’ started out as a group of people who just wanted to enjoy their cultural lives. As years progressed, however, the original members decided that it would be more meaningful to get to have opportunities to promote Korean cultures instead of enjoying the cultures by themselves.
The Hero Yi Sun-sin project was the result of the club members’ enthusiastic cooperation, such as going around all 8 provinces of South Korea to obtain participation from many people as possible. After such effort, their achievement was a grand success; they were able to actively introduce a Korean war-hero not only to foreigners, but also instigated national love to Korean citizens by explaining the contents of the diary and relaying upon the emotions and worries the great general felt for his country when he went to wars. The club is also planning to exhibit the portrait in New York in the United States to further encourage awareness of the leader’s love and sacrifice for his country.
“We don’t know when, but we will try our best to hang the portrait in New York,” said Kim Jun-Hyeok (Seoul National University, 3), the president of the club. We are expanding our range every year, going over our limits every time. Our goal is to gradually promote Korea culture and trend overseas.
In order for such project to succeed, it needs elaborate planning and organization, and Saengjon Gyeongjaeng is no exception: The members consist of YB, TT, and OB, each standing for Young Boy, Think Tank, and Old Boy.
The YBs are the current members who manage the club activities, while TTs are those who have completed the term but remain in the club projects in charge of the general planning and financial management. Lastly, OBs are old members who graduated from school and occasionally lends a helping hand to the club through personal connections.
When YBs are first nominated, TTs guide the newly elected members to carry out projects. In the majority of the projects, carefully detailed planning takes up 80 percent of the work, so YB members do variety of activities to generate novel ideas, such as newspaper scraping and book report once a week, and through them, give shape to the plan to discuss the possibility of actualizing the strategy once a month. The planning progress can be very tedious and difficult, and elaboration of the project is the part in which members do the actual footwork.
“Although the process requires diligent and arduous work and almost no fun, I, as one of the members of the club, love the feeling of achievement when we succeed,” Kim said. “I guess that is why the members remain in the club although it’s very time consuming and energy depriving, and I believe that was the driving force which led to our 21st anniversary this year.”
To celebrate their 20th anniversary last year, OB members also participated in the “Million men under arms project,” which is a campaign to gather signatures from people to promote Korean history as a compulsory subject to take in the College Scholastic Ability test. The club organized this campaign because it was to their belief that there is no nation that can truly prosper under which its citizens do not know their own country’s history.
After the promotion of Yi Sun-sin, the club is planning for another grand project involving the 2014 Incheon Asian games. To start off, the club plans to hold a camp called Travel Incheon for foreigners so that they can get to know more about the upcoming project.
“As I have said before, our club’s goal now extends far beyond national boundaries,” Kim said empathically. “With the pride and responsibility that we are representing Korean culture and trends, I hope that all of our club members can passionately engage themselves in the projects and try their hardest to promote our country.”