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SNU Recruits Students to Tap Donors

Posted April. 19, 2006 02:59,   


“Yes, we did it!”

The setting is the professors’ conference room of the College of Natural Sciences at Seoul National University (SNU) around 2:50 p.m. on Tuesday. Kim Mi-ae, a natural sciences graduate student of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, is rejoicing. She persuaded a parent of a natural sciences freshman to donate more than a million won.

Kim, along with five or six colleagues, pursued a donation rally targeting alumni and parents of students by phone.

A dedicated campaign-

Natural sciences students of SNU are campaigning for a university development fund. Such a campaign is very rare. Most donations until now have been based on relationships between donators and professors or one-time donations from corporations.

The students received a crash course in telemarketing from a consulting firm on April 14. Their greeting phrases and dialogue were shaped by elementary telemarketing.

Choi Seong-yeon (age 23), a chemistry major who took part in the campaign, says, “I did receive basic education, but it was not easy confronting a total stranger.”

The Department of Natural Sciences sent out letters and notices to 5,000 alumni and parents of students in the Dean Oh Se-jeong’s name on April 3.

In this letter, Dean Oh said that it is impossible to improve education and research on just student tuition and government support. He pleaded for them to support the university’s goal of becoming a top-notch global university.

One alumnus called to say that he would send in a few ten thousand won from his retirement pay every month. The college politely refused the offer because they are prohibited from receiving retirement money.

Need more funds-

International pundits ranked the College of Natural Sciences of SNU around 30th worldwide in education and research last year. Professors realize that the college must receive donations to improve the research atmosphere.

Chief Planning Officer of the College of Natural Sciences Kim Seong-geun says that in the U.S. the overall rank of universities almost match their rank in donations received. He points out that SNU receives about one fiftieth of what a top ten ranking American university receives.

The College of Natural Sciences is planning to collect more than 10 billion won within two years.

Donations come in various forms-

Old ladies who donate their lifesavings made from sewing for tens of years and old gentlemen who donate to universities instead of passing it on to his children always move us.

But universities can no long depend on such sporadic contributions. They have launched donation by advanced record system (ARS), alumni donation accounts, and donation insurance that rewards insurance benefits to universities.

Yeungnam University thanks generous contributors who donated more than 300 million with complimentary plastic surgery, funeral assistance and burial ground, medical fees, and health insurance.

Kookmin University is acting on the advice of a consulting firm and has started building a database of its alumni.

Se-Jin Jung mint4a@donga.com