HAVE YOU ever seen young patrol guards in their fluorescent windbreakers roaming around the campus at night? Carrying a drunk person, accompanying students, and patrolling around with their eyes setting out for any emergencies… These are the members of a Yonsei community that works with the sole objective of making the campus a safer place for all: the Eagle Guard. Established in 2012 and funded by Office of Student Affairs & Services, the Eagle Guard is a student patrol organization of Yonsei University that organizes and participates in daily patrols. The Yonsei Annals met with the members of the Eagle Guard to delve into their daily lives as the protectors of the campus.
Annals: Can you briefly describe what you do?
Jo Jun-hun (Sr., Dept. of Mech. Engin.): We are an independent patrolling team called the Eagle Guard. We patrol the commercial area of Sinchon, the pathways to the Yonsei dormitories, and the areas around the west gate. For the students’ safe return home, we provide a service to accompany students from their current location to their desired destination.
Park Chan-jung (Sr., Dept. of Russian Language & Lit.): From Monday to Saturday, from 10:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m, we help Yonsei students have their safe trips back home.
Annals: Why did you decide to join the Eagle Guard?
Chan-jung: While I was engaging in club activities, I used to see members of the Eagle Guard patrol late at night. I thought they were conducting a very meaningful work, and so I decided to join the organization.
Jo: At first, I entered the organization as my friend who introduced me said I could get a scholarship by joining. I was later impressed by how meaningful the activity was and was motivated to continue.
Jeon Sung-hua (Jr., Dept. of English Language & Lit.): I learned about the Eagle Guard through a friend in my major. I applied because I have always enjoyed walking and I felt that accompanying my classmates was a worthwhile activity. In the past, when I worked as the head of the student council, I always had to make sure that my drunk classmates got back home safely, so I thought that working as an Eagle Guard would be a similar job.
Park Shin-young (Jr., Dept. of Sociology): I have always worried about how there were many cases in which our school’s security had not been enough to keep the students safe. I thought the Eagle Guard was a suitable organization for providing services related to this problem, which is the reason why I applied.
Annals: What are some difficulties that you face while you are out on patrol?
Jeon: Because we patrol late at night, we get extremely cold even though we wear multiple layers of clothing during the winter. In such days, it is vital to put on a warm hat, mask, long coat, a double layer of socks, gloves, and a scarf. However, sometimes even after arming ourselves with such heavy layers, it feels like our hairs are going to freeze as soon as we take a step outside.
Shin-young: I think the difficulty arises when we need to walk for a long time and work even when there is an alarmingly high level of fine dust and even in cold and rainy days.
Annals: Why do you continue patrolling even in these dire circumstances?
Chan-jung: In the past, I received chocolate milk as a thank-you present from a person I once escorted. It was nothing big, but it is these little things, such as small presents and thank-you messages, that make me feel satisfied from doing this work.
Jo: Sometimes it is hard to walk long distances at night, but I like the feeling that I am making my neighborhood a safer place to live in. Also, since we patrol with a partner, I like how we get to meet new people through our organization. As I mentioned before, scholarships that are given after the service are also a good motivation.
Jeon: We patrol in groups of two, so naturally we talk about various topics while we walk. We relieve stress by discussing topics that vary from our daily lives to our personal stories. Also, we organize after-parties: sometimes even at 2 a.m. These fun little activities are what keeps me going.
Annals: What is the most satisfying part of your job?
Chan-jung: When I watch the people whom I accompanied return home safely, or when I get cheered on by students who I meet during patrols! If you see the Eagle Guard on patrol, please cheer them on!
Jeon: I feel most satisfied when I hear that the students who request our service say that they are really glad to have the Eagle Guard. The Eagle Guard's main task is to accompany the students back home, but previously there had not been much publicity about the escort service, which meant that we only had a few requests. However, since the first semester of 2018, the number of people who request for the service has been greatly increasing. It feels rewarding to hear students say, "The path looks too scary to walk alone. It’s relieving that I can ask one of the guards to walk me home,"
Annals: Could you share some of the funny or interesting incidents that have happened during patrols?
Chan-jung: When I was returning to the Eagle Guard room after my patrol was over, I saw a drunk person lying near the fountain, sleeping. We woke him up and checked that he was conscious before leaving the site. Other times, there are drunk people who are collapsed near the Baekyang-ro. We assume these people were trying to get back to their club room or the dormitory to get some sleep. These kinds of incidents happen quite often, and sometimes we have to bring the police to help us take care of the scene. So we would like to leave this message: please drink responsibly.
Jo: When I was patrolling around the Sinchon commercial district, I received a report that a drunk person had gone missing. I was given the information about what the person looked like and what the person was wearing, and with this, I began searching for him. When I had been searching for him for over one hour, I was contacted that he had returned home and was found sleeping soundly. I was so relieved!
Annals: Is there anything you want to tell the readers of the Annals? Maybe something that you hope more people will be aware of regarding safety?
Chan-jung: First of all, the existence of the Eagle Guard itself is for the safety of our students. I've heard a lot of stories about the fact that many people are reluctant to use Eagle Guard’s escort service because they are concerned that they will give us more work. However, we take pride in people trusting us to ask for help. Please don’t hesitate and contact us at any time.
Jeon: Also, if you find a drunk person who does not have a companion to help around campus, or if there is a disturbance caused by anyone, please call the police instead of the Eagle Guard! If you contact the Eagle Guard, the best we can do is to hand the case over to the police, so the reporting procedure will inevitably take twice as much time. Lastly, I hope you will continue to use the Eagle Guard’s escort service. We will do our best to make the Eagle Guard more convenient for all students of Yonsei. Thank you!