Pittsburg State students and community members had the opportunity to experience Korean culture at Korean Culture Day. Korean Culture Day was held from 6 to 8 p.m., April 3 at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, to celebrate culture with Korean students and non-Korean students alike.
The event is held every year and is put on by students to be open to the public. After traditional and modern Korean performances at the Bicknell Center, the audience was invited to attend a reception with an authentic, traditional Korean meal at College Heights United Methodist Church. The event was planned and put on by the Korean Student Association (KSA), which is headed this year by its president, senior Junhwan Kim.
“Our performances this year include a presentation about the Republic of Korea, Samulnori, which is the playing of a combination of traditional percussion instruments and Fan Dancing, during which each performer is wearing a hanbok, which is a traditional Korean garment,” Kim said. “Also, we will perform K-Pop singing and dancing and Taekwondo, which is an Olympic sport and a traditional form of Korean martial arts.”
The KSA considers this their main event that they work towards each school year and hope that it will continue to grow and evolve and garner more interest from the general student population.
“Pittsburg State has held the event every year starting about fifteen years ago,” Kim said. “Not only Korean students participate and attend, but any students who like and are interested in the Korean culture will participate. This year’s event has a total of forty-six students performing, twenty-eight of which are non-Korean students.”
Along with performances, the food was equally as traditional and representative of Korean culture. Covered by the $5 ticket, students and members of the community could enjoy both the food and performances.
“We serve Bibimbap and a Korean style beef and radish soup,” Kim said. “Bibimbap is a great representative of Korean food. It is a food that you eat mixed together after selecting the vegetables and meat you want and adding a Korean marinade called Gochujang. The soup is mild in flavor and is a wonderful soup for all ages, even very young children. Koreans like this soup and used to be only enjoyed by Korean kings.”
This event held a lot of importance to those that are involved in putting it on. For Kim, it held special significance this year as she looks forward to graduating after beginning school in 2010, taking time off, and returning to PSU.
“Personally, Korean Culture Day is very meaningful to me,” said Kim. “It represents a lot to me and I am finally graduating this May. So, it has been really amazing that I got to be the president of the Korean Student association in my final semester. This event is the last big event for me before I finally graduate.”
Kim feels that the future is very bright for the Korean Student Association and Korean Culture Day.
“The purpose of the association is to promote Korean culture the PSU family and its community,” Kim said. “The Korean Culture Day event is attended every year by more than 200 people. We practice and plan for several months to put on a good performance for them and a successful event. I anticipate that this will only continue to grow. I hope that our audience gets interested in Korea by attending our event and will help to spread the interest.”
Blair James, senior in international studies and geography, felt that Korean Culture Day was a great opportunity and encourages her fellow students to take part in the event next year.
“Obviously I am super interested in this stuff since I am getting a double major in geography and international studies,” said James. “But I think that a lot of different majors can benefit from attending all our culture days.”
Junior Connor Turk attended the event with James not knowing what to expect. However, after the event, he was surprised by how much he learned and enjoyed the performances.
“I am in diesel tech at PSU, so this really doesn’t have a whole lot to do with my major,” said Turk. “But I really enjoyed myself and it was really cool to see and learn about Korean culture.”
Kim was very proud of their inclusion to all students, and for students that were interested in getting involved in Korean Culture.
“Our events are always open to all students and members of the community,” Kim said. “Those who know nothing and wish to learn about Korean culture or those who have already been interested can enjoy our event or participate. This event is held each year on the first Wednesday of April and I am sure it will continue to be around at PSU for a very long time to come.”