It might not be an attractive offer for most companies or stores to sponsor nameless student clubs. However, there is a small restaurant near Ewha that started sponsoring tens of Ewha student clubs two years ago. The restaurant, named Popo Tree, is a small steak restaurant where most customers are Ewha students who wish to enjoy steak at a reasonable price.
Right behind of the counter of the restaurant is a board that introduces various student clubs of Ewha. On the counter are white envelopes that have each clubs’ name on them. And customers are encouraged to pick one of the clubs to sponsor and put the bill in that club’s envelope after dining. At the end of the semester, Kim Sung-hwan, the owner of the restaurant gathers the bills and sponsors 2.5 percent of the sales to each student club.
“Since most of our customers are Ewha students, I wanted to find a way to give back, and contribute to Ewha students’ activity somehow. Then I came up with the idea of sponsoring the clubs after seeing many clubs having get-togethers in my restaurant,” Kim said.
Any club within Ewha that visits the restaurant, regardless of its size or character can get an envelope with their name card on it. As of now, 72 student clubs are sponsored by Popo Tree.
“Since we are not a central club and the size is not that big, it was hard to get support from both the school and from outside sponsors. But Popo Tree agreed to sponsor us, and now we are able to have some regular get-togethers with that money,” said Min Hye-jung (International Studies, 2), the president of RIZE, the dance club of Division of International Studies.
There are more than 200 clubs at Ewha in total. More than 70 of them are central student clubs which receive a designated budget from the school for around 250000 won per semester in average.
“It’s hard to run the club within the budget. Thus we mostly depend on personal contributions. Not many people were interested in sponsoring small college clubs,” said Yoo Ji-ah (Korean Education, 3), a member of YYUL, a classical guitar club.
Since the restaurant started to support Ewha student clubs, customers from outside of Ewha are also showing the interest to the clubs.
“I always put my bill on the club that I am interested in, though I have no relation with Ewha. I feel happy to be able to support students’ club activity,” said Kim Sung-eun, a customer of Popo Tree.
Through the exceptional efforts of Popo Tree, some students now recognize the restaurant not just as a place for dining but as a place where they can rest and meet the friendly host, Kim.
“I hope our customers to delightfully recall my restaurant as a happy memory of their college life after graduating. I will be grateful if people can remember my restaurant as a comfortable and friendly place,” Kim said.