Festival week has come once again to Kangnam University’s campus. Just walking through the main gate, we were intoxicated by the food stands that had been set up by students. In the parking lot in front of Shalom Hall, stood tents that came to life at twilight. On the athletic field were thrilling games followed by the excited cheers of students.
As I walked down the alley between the stands, there was one signboard that got my attention. It said: Quesadillas and Cheese Nachos. These were courtesy of the Global Lounge as they had done last semester. I approached the students in charge of selling of the food. They spotted me and start calling out enthusiastically as they had been doing with everyone.
They had been working for 8 hours, yet they kept their spirits high and smiled at everyone who came around their stand. They didn’t need to. The Mexican quesadillas and cheese nachos sold themselves! I talked about the venture with Youngjae Chung, president of the Kangnam International Student Society (KISS).
What was behind the success of their quesadilla stand? It was all about hard work and purpose. The reason why KISS members worked at the festival this semester is because they have a mission: to collect money for a little girl who lives in Bolivia.
Though the members of KISS had a purpose, coming up with a food-selling plan wasn’t that easy. They asked for help from English Conversation professor Todd Swanson, who mentored them on the production and marketing aspects and advised them through the process of putting their business plan together.
Of course, they had some setbacks like a small budget, buying the wrong salsa, and having to find refrigerators to keep the food fresh. They ended up splitting the ingredients between the members, who would bring them to campus from home. It was just example of great teamwork.
“We are a bridge to strengthen the connection between foreigners and Korea,” said Chung when asked about what it means to be a KISS member. The most important activity the Global Lounge launches every semester is the Korean Helper Program, which is actually the only activity they are doing due to their small budget.
KISS members are really hard workers. They organize everything by themselves. They used to receive scholarship money because of their work. Now they just get volunteer time, which every student must accumulate in order to graduate. There are currently thirteen people working in the Global Lounge, and they all are very friendly.
“Don’t feel shy meeting foreigners,” Chung says. He encourages all students to participate in Global Lounge programs.