Appropriateness of Social Contribution
Appropriateness of Social Contribution
  • Reporter Kim Sung-hwan
  • 승인 2011.03.02 21:01
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A few days ago, I met a couple of freshmen and had a chance to have a conversation. The conversation began with simple questions about college life, such as average weekly drinking frequency or student clubs.

We then came to talk about freshman orientation. Talking about the orientation, I could find out their excitement and expectation to meet new friends and start entirely new lives. They also worried about the uncertain loads of work they will have to endure.

All these came to me as very retrospective and fresh since I once worried about and confronted the same issues. One moment, a topic one of the freshmen brought out caught my attention in an inconvenient sense. What it was was that POSTECH’s freshman orientation includes a day of voluntary service in welfare institutions; the student complained why he had to waste his time on such a useless, showy and temporary event.

I believe those temporary events are partly the obligation of us, Postechians, the future leaders of society. I also think that the efforts should be perennial and voluntary.

Cruelly, the social position of an individual is generally decided with birth. A person born in a wealthy family is likely to maintain with the status all lifelong and the same can be said of a person born in a poor family.

For people who live in harsh conditions, external factors such as social structure turn out to be more a foundational cause than personality. In fact, we came to be able to prepare and educate ourselves to be leaders of society in POSTECH, the leading institute of science and technology, for we were fortunate to be beneficiaries of the established social structure.

Since we are in comparatively better condition, we have more room to spare; as leaders, we have to find ways that no one is left behind. Along with approaching the foundational solution for equality of opportunity in the long term, we should give the unfortunate small short-term help that will come as a ray of light in the darkness in their everyday lives. The small contributions might seem temporary, but these small stimulations will later come as a huge external influence to the neglected people to be inspired.

Finally, the influence of less socially privileged people may begin to produce social output, and start to influence others who used to be in similar conditions. The outcome will be huge.

Social contribution is not an obligation. But we should feel guilty about the stability we are enjoying and always look for ways to share our bliss. I cannot force my philosophy on the readers, but I just wish, by reading this column, the readers, especially those who have been stingy on self-sacrifice, have time to reflect themselves.