During exams, students drink lots of coffee, other beverages or energy drinks. Until the mid-term period of 2016, Dankookians (students of Dankook University) who studied in the university library, didn’t throw their trash in the garbage cans provided because they thought the noise might disturb other students. As a result, a lot of cans, plastic bottles and disposable cups were left lying on top of the garbage cans. However, this problem has since been solved. So what was done and who was responsible for finding the solution to this and many other problems on campus?
The Dankook Herald (DKH) interviewed FIXER the group responsible for this and many other simple solutions that plague the campus. Kim Jae-won (Senior, Business Administration major), is a representative of the project group FIXER and took the time to speak to the DKH about this and their many other projects that make our university lives a little better.
|▲ The PIXER is making a garden for the trashcan.|
Q. What can you tell our readers about FIXER?
A. FIXER is a group of students working to resolve some small or big inconveniences and problems we face on campus daily. We sometimes offer creative solutions to several problems or put our thoughts into action. Moreover, we want to show people that little changes can be made by ordinary people.
Q. When and why did you start running FIXER?
A. FIXER was established by me and three of my friends. We were feeling down at college after being discharging from our military service. We all wanted to something meaningful. We talked about various social problems and eventually came up with problems at Dankook University (DKU). But identifying the problems wasn’t enough. We wanted to do what we could to solve them. The first time we talked about doing something for the community was in 2015, and we created FIXER officially on March 3, 2016. That month we were selected as one of youth organizations supported by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. We started with 4 members, but by the end of the year, we had grown to 16. This year, 13 people will volunteer with FIXER.
Q. What has been the most memorable project?
A. We did 6 projects and among them, there is one that stands out as the most memorable for me. It was the project named Everybody’s Library. The goal of this project was to decrease the amount of trash around the facility. The biggest problem at the library was that a lot of cans and disposable cups were left just lying on the top of garbage cans. At first, we had many conflicting ideas about how to solve this problem. Some disagreed with the solution, while others were not sure if it was going to be effective. After continued discussions, we concluded that the only solution was to install plastic lawns on the lids around the trash cans in the library and the results were incredibly outstanding. By placing some plastic characters on a fake lawn on the garbage can covers, the amount of trash around the lid decreased a lot. In addition, library staff were grateful to us for prettying up the place, giving them a nicer view from their workspace. Every time the library staff runs into me, he says ‘Thank you’ again. This is why it’s the most memorable project for me.
Q. Can you tell us about other projects you completed?
A. We did projects we called High-pass, Charming, and the Small Action Project. First the High-pass project addressed the problem of crowding in the cafeteria. When students were using the cafeteria, they weren’t lining up correctly and it made other students who were already seated, uncomfortable while they ate. So, we adjusted the kiosk space so students could have enough room to pass by the crowded lines. We also encouraged students to show consideration by moving within boundaries when they lined up to get food. Since the cafeteria is controlled by a nutritionist, we had no problems getting agreement to proceed with this project.
The second project we completed dealt with handicap parking. There are a lot of disabled students at DKU, but they can never park their cars in accessible parking because too many able-bodied people were parking there. To deal with this problem, we drew up witty stickers with a sentence that encouraged people not to park in handicap parking spots and attached them to the vehicles.
The other problem we dealt with had to do with the classroom blinds. When teachers or students opened the classroom windows on a windy day, the blinds would blow and bang against the window frame making noises that would disturb the class. Our solution was to attach stickers on both sides of blind to prevent any noise from happening when the blinds moved.
Q. Did anyone ever make project requests?
A. There were some requests from Dankookians made by Facebook Messenger. One was about the trash problems at the dormitory. There are no trash cans in the lounge. According to DKU, Dankookians don’t use trash cans, so they just leave their trash in the lounge. I’ve received a lot of messages on Facebook about this matter, so I am planning to make posters about it in 2017.
Q. Do you receive any benefits from DKU like financial support or service hours?
A. We do not get any benefits from DKU. We try to proceed with projects independently without the school’s help. If we get involved with the school, then students would take our efforts for granted. This is why we always try to solve everything by ourselves. When we really need help or cooperation, we submit a project proposal to the school, but that is only in unique circumstances.
Q. What is your ultimate goal?
A. Our ultimate goal is to make a second and third FIXER. We want more Dankookians to start taking initiative to solve problems for the common good. The role of changing the world is not for special people, but rather for ordinary people to do what they can and should.
Dankookians all experience similar inconveniences during their campus lives. Some Dankookians only stop and complain about the inconvenience, while real fixers take the initiative to look for solutions. If you think something is wrong and it makes you uncomfortable, do what you can to solve it, even if it’s really simple. After a few attempts, you will realize that you can make a real difference in the world. If you have an idea like FIXER, don’t just think about it, take action and do it!