HAPPY KAIST Aims to Make Students Happier
'HAPPY KAIST' Aims to Make Students Happier
- Various events such as the Strawberry and Cherry Blossom Festivals and Happy Hour are scheduled - Priority placed on voluntary participation of students - Expected to provide spinoff opportunities ....................................................................................................................................
On April 11, a yellow vehicle with the driver's seat was empty was slowly moving toward the KAIST main administration building. When the car stopped in front of the building, a tiny unmanned aerial vehicle (a miniature drone) was launched from the car's roof and travelled into the sky, transporting a box of strawberries. The drone flied across the lawn ground in front of the building and delivered the strawberry box to a group of students who were sitting on the lawn and thren returned to its original position.
KAIST's annual Strawberry Festival has been upgraded. The event, under the theme of "Strawberry delivery using UAV", grabbed the media spotlight with a gimmick displaying high-tech features from order to delivery.
The state-of-the-art delivery method is indeed exciting. First, if a customer orders strawberries on a campus lawn via a smart phone app, the customer's current location is sent to the central system of the unmanned vehicle. The car with an unmanned aerial vehicle on its roof then delivers strawberries, or approaches the nearest possible location so that the drone can deliver the fruit to the customer.
The Strawberry Festival, lauded by the media as an event worthy of the university's reputation, was organized as part of the "HAPPY KAIST 2014" showcasing a series of cultural events intended to create a new culture and tradition for all KAIST members. From the planning stage, it was designed as a festival "by the students, for the students, and of the students." That's because for the festival to become a sustainable and successful event, students' voluntary participation is crucial.
The "Happy KAIST 2014" consists of cherry blossom and strawberry festivals, (both in April), HAPPY Hour (June), and a concert in harmony with science and KAIFUN, both scheduled for October. The main concepts of those events are aimed at showcasing technologies developed by KAIST members and exploring innovative ideas for commercialization.
For example, the aforementioned strawberry festival displayed the unmanned vehicle and aerial vehicle, and the cherry blossom festival under the theme of "Cherry Blossoms: Light and Fantasy" provided an exquisite view by installing outdoor lighting for the trees. The festival, which ran from April 4 until April 8, took place along the road in front of the KAIST north dormitory. Around the cherry blossom tree road, media art works created by students from the Department of Industrial Design at KAIST were on display.
"'HAPPY HOUR", due to be held ahead of final exams, is to convey a joyful message and provide gifts such as snacks to students. This event has been conceived to boost the mental health of students and reduce fatigue of students who are preparing for exams.
The concert in harmony with science, scheduled for October, will offer a forum for students from different fields of disciplines to join forces for common tasks. The collaborative process and results are presented in the format of a lively talk, and awards are bestowed upon the groups that have produced outstanding results. Also, some of the ideas proposed during the event are uploaded to KAIFUN for commercialization. If the students suggest the total amount of money required for commercialization, KAIST members or alumni can donate the desired amount of money.
Park Seung-bin, Dean of College of Engineering, who oversees the HAPPY KAIST 2014 events, summed up the significance of these events as follows: "If a number of islands are connected, they will constitute a fantastic marine park."
There are innumerable islands at KAIST. Each professor and student represents an island. Like the islands, laboratories and research outcomes are scattered across KAIST. An individual island above the sea is just one of many islands. However, if these islands are connected, they will turn into a wonderful and gorgeous marine park. Unexpected results will emerge. "Happy KAIST" is a new cultural movement to connect these islands and find the links between the islands.
The driving force of the movement is neither faculty nor staff but rather students. Thus far, painstaking efforts have been made to make students happier. A variety of programs, events, and festivals have been offered for them. Have they made students feel happier? The question remains unanswered. The main reason is that students have not taken the initiative in those events.
Park said, "Strictly speaking, it is no exaggeration to say that the events of the past served the happiness of faculty and staff, not students. Students feel happiest when they do what they want to do. Faculty and staff simply only have to help them." The key is spontaneity. Indeed, this year students are taking a major role in organizing these events from planning and preparation.
There is also a key point in the "Happy KAIST" that goes unseen: making ideas and convergence more prevalent. For example, the scene of an unmanned aerial vehicle delivering strawberries motivated even students and faculty who are not associated with wireless technology to come up with something relevant.
Actually, each individual who watched the unmanned aerial vehicle deliver strawberries may have his or her own ideas. Some may consider how to utilize the vehicle while others may contemplate technology to track the vehicle or ways to provide wireless charging.
Dean Park defined the ultimate goal of "HAPPY KAIST" as follows: "If students can be happy for themselves, if they can be connected to something new and get new ideas from these experiences, then this might be appropriately dubbed a spin-off." In this sense, 'Happy KAIST' is not a one-off event but a cultural movement intended to inspire creativity and a challenging spirit."
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