From March 26 to 27, the 51st General Student Council held a campus-wide student vote to form a student-school consultative body and accommodate student requests.
More than half of the total 15,887 student electorates needed to participate in The Student Voting. The voter turnout was 59.89 percent, and the initiative passed with 9,142 students voting in favor, which was 96.07 percent of actual voters.
The inception of the Student Voting was finalized on March 7, when the Central Election Administration Commission decided to undertake a vote to enhance students’ welfare as well as to strive for student rights.
The purpose of the Student Voting was for the students and the school to form a consultative body in order to achieve the proposals students had requested. There were seven requested proposals: downsizing enrollment fees and enlarging scholarships, enhancing the methods of course registration and increasing the number of classes, adjusting chapel requirements, providing safety measures throughout campus, initiating tourist quota systems, supporting national exam preparation classes and enabling students to participate in any campus-related disciplinary measures.
There were various efforts to encourage students to vote. Prior to the voting day, students were provided with a QR code and link where they could show their willingness to vote. On voting days, special gifts such as E-kongyi sticker sets were given to those who voted.
E-kongyi is the name of a unique mascot made specially for the 2019 Student Voting. The name E-kongyi was chosen for the mascot on March 8 through a vote as well. Among four other candidate names, E-kongyi earned 53.8 percent of the votes out of 1,383 students who engaged in the selection. According to the 51st General Student Council, they decided to design a character when students showed positive reactions to the use of mascots through a survey done in February. Feedback such as “using characters for school-related promotions arouses a friendlier atmosphere” and “characters made it easier for students to take notice of events” boosted the General Student Council's decision to create E-kongyi. It was originally designed by Han Eun-seo, the vice-president of the 51st General Student Council, who is majoring in design. With the confirmation from the Central Administration Commission, E-kongyi took its final form.
“We thought it was a good idea to make E-kongyi into a stamp form since its use is for the vote,” commented the General Student Council when asked about E-kongyi’s meaning and purpose. “Also, the reason E-kongyi’s stamp sign is a flower is that we wanted to convey that every single Ewha student’s vote matters and will accumulate to ‘bloom’ Ewha Womans University for the better.”
Another notable aspect of this election was the implementation of a barrier-free voting system. Its intention was to eradicate any barriers the minorities struggling from physical, institutional, or social prejudices were having by guaranteeing them the right to vote. Students with physical disabilities were provided support through such measures as braille voting papers, direct explanation of the main proposals, and wheelchair-accessible voting locations.
On April 28, the final results showing 96.07 percent of total voters approving were revealed. The votes were deemed valid as the total number surpassed the 7,944 student requirement for approval. The requested proposals will soon be put into action. Not only was the numeric data promising, but also students’ reactions to the Student Voting turned out to be positive.
“I have noticed many friends who engaged in economic activities to earn money due to the relatively high enrollment fees,” commented Kim Soo-bin, a freshman in the Division of Molecular Life & Chemical Sciences. “I believe that a university should provide an environment for students to fully immerse in their studies. As a student at Ewha, I have an optimistic view on the Student Voting as it provides opportunities for students’ voices to be heard.”