University Social Service Sets Itself Apart
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University Social Service Sets Itself Apart
  • 강서미
  • 승인 2003.09.03 00:00
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A university student volunteers as a tutor for children in adverse circumstances. With the needed materials at hand, she is all smiles during the session that lasts three hours every week. Why does she do it? She wants to enhance her personal relations skills and also likes the emotional satisfaction she gets.

Are you appalled by the reasoning behind the service? Maybe your mind has been set in turmoil as the vision of a saint-like figure holding a baby is suddenly tainted with vulgar earthly ambitions. However, there are others who show you a new perspective on university social service as differing from general volunteer works in three aspects.

The paradox of "Voluntary" service being mandatory up to university collapses once one becomes an "adult." However, as shown above, it is one"s motives for volunteering that is being put on the stand. These can include adding a new entry on the resume, experiencing real life that will indirectly help escalate in one"s career, exercising leadership, and feeling proud of oneself.

Lee Jung-won from the Social Welfare Center explains that university volunteer service differs from general volunteer work in that the latter bases itself on a unilateral relationship of giving, while the former expects a bilateral one. Social workers continue their service regardless of the returns. However, students wish to gain emotionally and intellectually from the activity they engage in. They want to feel that they contribute to society while learning the realities of life, all of these being necessary developments for their future adaptation to their profession and to the society. The satisfaction from the returns is what ensures the continuity of the students" participation.

Yamamoto Toshiharu, a doctor who participated in a medical service to Africa, believed that all sources of stimulus for service are justified. Humans are creatures with self will, and whether the reason is "to help others" or "to help oneself," both can be regarded as a form of self-satisfaction.

Another factor that differentiates service involving university students is representation. Social service carried out by an individual ends on an individual level. However, people regard a university student as a representative of her school or organization. President of Ewha International Volunteers (EIV), Lee Hyo-sun (Education, 4) remarks, "Wherever we go, people do not remember our names, but the name Ewha. This entrusts us with a greater sense of responsibility for our actions."

Lastly, an extension from the previous point, university services require team work. Colleges are commonly referred to as "miniature societies." As a practicing field, the university provides opportunities for societal interaction, mostly amongst peers. Social service goes a step further and links students with the society. Nevertheless, students are still kept in the group as they long for a sense of belonging, of solidarity.

University volunteer service may not be entirely selfless. Nonetheless, it should also be clear that service, regardless of its form, is accompanied by responsibility, perseverence and devotion.

neyessioui@ewha.ac.kr

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