[COVID-19 Report] How students at Yonsei University are helping others in dealing with COVID-19

June 25, 2020 by Sukran Choi

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Many of us in South Korea are currently facing a difficult time of uncertainty due to the impacts of the sudden coronavirus outbreak. Yet, there are those that seek to bring optimism in spite of the struggles. I would like to shed light on some of the positive and commendable contributions that the students at Underwood International College (UIC) have made in ameliorating the current psychological and financial hardships of others around them.

On May 13th of 2020, a group of students from Professor Juseong Lee’s Entrepreneurially Managing in Creative Technology Industries class sent out a Kakaotalk message detailing a flower delivery service called “Cozy Petals” in honor of Teacher’s Day on May 15th. This service allows students to express their gratitude towards their teachers by delivering roses and hand-written letters directly to the professors’ office. By simply making orders of the roses through the group, students can send a blue rose for the price of 4000 won or one blue rose bundled with a hand-written letter for the price of 4500 won. The meaning behind the group’s chosen color of the flower is its symbol of admiration and respect, suitable for the significance of Teacher’s Day.

The intention behind the “Cozy Petals” program is to combat negative effects on mental health from the recommended self-isolation code implemented as a result of COVID-19. Due to the scientific findings that reveal people feeling neglected and abandoned from the limited social interaction created by the pandemic, the team behind the program felt that sending flowers brought positive feelings to those that received them. They took inspiration from the Korea Rural Community Corporation's “flower bucket challenge,” which was launched to support flower businesses, whose revenues were crushed by the impact of the coronavirus. The UIC students similarly wanted to help out florist businesses while simultaneously lifting mental health by conducting the program for Teacher’s Day, to bring positive feelings for professors who are struggling to adjust to new teaching methods demanded by online classes.

Another group of Yonsei students founded a “myth-busting platform” called CoronaQNA in an effort to refute and correct any misinformation on COVID-19 that is generating irrational fear among the public. The students involved in this project found a way of utilizing their passion for their academic field to good use, as they majored in the department of medicine and the department of nursing and biotechnology. Although these students do not have direct training or specialization in examining this recent virus, the group compiled a helpful set of data from reputable public health authorities like the National Health Service and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The team makes this information and data easier to digest by creating infographics and easy-to-comprehend social media posts with water-downed terms. With the support from Yonsei professors, such as faculty from the Department of Respiratory Medicine, the group is able to increase their credibility as well as obtain accredited medical documents on symptoms of patients diagnosed with coronavirus. Moreover, they are able to reach a wider audience by having the platform be translated into English, Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish.

One more initiative started by undergraduate students at Yonsei is “Yonsei & Korea COVID-19 Fundraising.” In this collaborative project, Yonsei University and Korea University students came together to collect funding for insufficient resources like masks and disinfectants to aid those affected by the virus in Daegu and Gyeongbuk areas in February. Due to common concerns voiced by prospective donors, this group made efforts to increase their reliability in transferring all the collected funds to a credible and legitimate organization by being transparent about their approach. This is reflected in sharing their decision to consult with an attorney to undergo legal processes for preparing a donation plan on March 2. As of February 15, the team behind this project successfully collected one million won.

Although many may feel helpless in these stressful times, these above-mentioned students at Yonsei University have demonstrated ways to promote collective action in positively lifting each other up. Surely they serve as exemplary models paving a glimmering hope for not only the end of the current crisis, but also the future.

The UIC Scribe was founded in 2006 as the official student-run newsmagazine of Underwood International College. It celebrates diversity of thinking, excellence in writing, and the freedom of self-expression.

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