ON LAST Dec. 5, Collabo was elected as the 53rd Students’ Union of Yonsei. As its name implies, Collabo promised to truly collaborate with students by providing effective services that can directly improve life on campus. These services cover not only education but also other daily issues concerning part-time jobs, meals, and so forth that influence the quality of college life. Among these daily issues, residence issues are probably the biggest real-life problem for many students seeking to reside near the school. To alleviate their concerns, Collabo has come up with three types of residential services that can help students in a variety of ways, from choosing the right house to living safely in their rented houses.
Zip-bo-sem, the housing counsel center
Every February before the new semester begins, Sinchon is full of students looking for housing. Although school dormitories exist for students who live outside Seoul, their capacity is much too limited to satisfy the full demand. For many students who are concerned about getting involved in troublesome issues while looking for a place to live, Collabo provides Zip-bo-sem - a housing counseling program – in collaboration with Minsnail Union* and CO-OP GOODS Student Council. Zip-bo-sem mainly serves students with three services, which are “housing counseling,”“good reality dealer matching,” and “fellow-traveler service.”
As most students have never looked for their own houses before, many of them do not have even the basic knowledge about real estate. This ignorance has constantly undermined them. For these students, the housing counseling service provides them with information about various kinds of residences - studio apartments, boarding houses, rental houses, dormitories and so forth - that have been gathered through many years of archiving. In addition, it should be noted that this is not a brokerage service – it only provides students with residential information.
Secondly, the good reality dealer matching is for students who worry about being cheated by a dishonest dealer. According to Yoo Sang-bin (Vice President, Collabo), the Students’ Union has made a checklist of services that a dealer should provide and matches students with dealers who meet these requirements. He said, “Although this service has been provided since the term of office of the 51st Students’ Union, Collabo is trying to improve the service by constantly updating the checklist.”
Lastly, the fellow-traveller service arranges Zip-bo-sem counselors to accompany students, who registered for the service, when signing a lease. If students previously often missed unfair or inappropriate language on lease contracts and had to deal with disputes without professional help, counselors now provide helpful advice on such problems that students face. Yoo said, “This service has also improved since its first implementation last year. Whereas the counselor used to simply accompany students without sufficient information about the lease, now we have arranged a list of articles that should be checked before finally signing the lease. We are trying to improve on the expertise that we lack, as we are not real estate experts.”
Zip-bo-sem opens in February and August, when many students look for a house to live. Yoo said that the service is officially closed after vacation because there has been very low demand during the semester. However, he added, help can be offered if there is any request. By using the Zip-bo-sem service, students will worry less about getting disadvantaged because of limited information and experience while looking for a room.
Easy move with Moving Collabo
If Zip-bo-sem helps students to find the right home, “Moving Collabo” helps them to move into that house. It is provided in association with the postal and delivery service at the end of each school semester, when many students move out of their current residences. A similar service was also provided by Focus On Story, the 50th Students’ Union, but the service was limited to the moving between rental houses in the Sinchon area. Now, students moving out of Yonsei International Campus (YIC) dorms to Sinchon, as well as those moving from Sinchon to Sinchon, can use this service. Before this service was provided, most students used the dorm parcel service. Although this service enabled the delivery of luggage to other places as well, students had to wait a few days for the luggage to arrive at their homes. In contrast, Moving Collabo delivers the luggage in just a few hours.
Moving Collabo service was already provided at the end of the last semester and winter semester to help students move from YIC to Sinchon. A demand survey was also conducted beforehand in order to provide the best service. According to Kang Soo-rim (Soph., College of Communication), who used the service when moving out of a YIC dorm last semester, “although the delivery was a bit delayed because of an unexpected accident, the service was overall very convenient as the delivery truck delivered the luggage straight from the dorm to the boarding house in Sinchon.”
The Students’ Union is also planning to help students who move from one part of Sinchon to another before the semester begins if there is enough demand. Similar to Zip-bo-sem, Moving Collabo is provided primarily at the end of the semester and during vacations as there is not much demand during the semester.
Eagleguard for your safety
Eagleguard is an autonomous patrol group that patrols around the dormitory in Sinchon Campus, the West Gate and the East Gate in order to ensure the safety of residents in the Sinchon area. However, because many students either do not know about Eagleguard or are not sure exactly where the Eagleguard patrols, they often feel uneasy when they have to return home late at night. In order to make sure students can safely return home, Collabo is planning to promote the Eagleguard service through various methods.
According to Lee Hyo-ju, (Director, Cooperation and Support Department, Collabo), Collabo has come up with three ways to support Eagleguard. The first one is making a map of the patrol zone and distributing it both offline and online. She said that the map is almost completed and will soon be publicized. Secondly, Collabo plans to cooperate with the Seodaemun-gu police so that patrol cars can accompany Eagleguard. With patrol cars, Eagleguard can tighten security by speeding up the patrol. Lee said, “Although we need to find out which zones the police patrol car can legally enter, we have received a very positive response from Seodaemun-gu Office regarding this idea.” The last one is putting stickers on Eagleguard’s patrol zones. According to Lee, the Students’ Union had first planned to install signs, but resorted to stickers instead after receiving Seodaemun-gu Office’s response that signs are not allowed to be installed. By following these stickers, more students will be able to pass through Eagleguard’s patrol zone and return home safely.
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Except for a relatively few number of students who already live near Sinchon, quite a lot of students need to find a place to live nearby the school. As novices who have just entered adulthood, students often feel at a loss to cope with residence issues all by themselves. But they are not alone; these three services provided by Collabo will help students settle these problems and prove to be a great “Dobby” for them.
*Minsnail Union: A civic group that works to assure the housing rights of young people by promoting non-profit housing models