Massive piles of printouts, devastating amounts of assignments. At the farthest corner of a bleak dormitory room, a tortured soul was blankly staring into his computer screen. Then at the bottom corner of the screen popped out an advertisement. It was an image he had already seen at least several times: BTS members happily devouring a plate of chicken. He never liked them or fancied their music. Yet at that moment, their elegant postures were inexplicably glorious, and this stunned him. No, he was definitely not into beautiful boys. Then came the moment of realization: it was the chicken sticks in their hands that he was infatuated with. BTS, whose name itself was now a sensation, was no more than a fancy stage prop next to the sticks. It was not their stage. Instead, the spotlight was owned by the plump drumsticks on the plate. He could imagine the crunches of that crispy breast in his mouth and the sweet sound was already echoing in his eardrums. He declared at last, “I had enough of this!” Then with a treacherous smile, he cheerfully asked, “anyone up for food?” There was no need for words. After a few exchanges of meaningful smiles with his roommates, an agreement was quickly made. “Chicken?” The other two fiercely nodded.
Most of the UIC students, at least once during the term, have those nights where the hunger is just intolerable. One simply cannot focus when the stomach continuously rumbles and grumbles, howling for something to bite. Delivery food can also be a delightful, refreshing replacement when one is tired of the monotonous pattern of cafeteria meals. Enjoying delivery food has become a routine for many Yonsei students and the existence of such a place as the “chicken stairs” in International Campus proves this notion. Also, ordering a box of chicken in Songdo is easy to the point that one must practice some degree of self-discipline to maintain both a healthy diet and a thick wallet.
Songdo, where the International Campus of Yonsei is located, boasts many decent restaurants that offer quick delivery services. The list of dishes one can choose from is simply remarkable: from classic dishes such as pizza, Korean-style fried chicken, hamburgers to more local ones including Jajangmyeon (black bean sauce noodle) and Jokbal (pig’s trotters). Every day and night, countless calls are made to these shops and one can effortlessly see motorcycles hurriedly bustling through the streets of the campus.
However, many controversial issues have arisen from this practice of delivering food into university campuses. One challenge is conspicuous right outside the corridors. The disposal of compiled food wastes can turn out to be overwhelming and these can culminate into severe consequences. Such piles of trash can disrupt the studying environment and degrade the aesthetic aspect of the entire campus, which directly links to the university’s public reputation. According to Busan Ilbo, the administrative board of Busan University of Foreign Studies banned any food deliveries inside the campus in 2016 as the enormous waste piles deriving from food delivery threatened the promotion of its “green campus.” Indeed, such concern is also applicable to the Songdo International Campus. During the midterm week, where the demand for nighttime snack reaches its peak, one witnesses the genesis of rubbish mountains upon the trash bins. As a result, the community rooms on each floor are permeated by the disturbing scent of the decaying mixture. Though there are cleaning crew tasked with their removal, thoughtless disposals could easily overwhelm them.
Another challenge is the traffic safety of the campus. Most of the delivery personnel, especially those under major food delivery platforms, such as “Baedal Minjok” and “Yogiyo,” are incentivized to transport the food as fast as one can since each successful delivery directly translates into profit. This has led to drivers prioritizing speed over safety and the resulting herd of motorcycles recklessly driving around the campus might endanger the students and faculty members. There was a traffic accident in Hanyang University in 2016 where a truck loaded with food supplies crashed at a sloping road. While there were no severe casualties, a passerby student was slightly wounded. Campus security is something that should never depend on mere luck.
In spite of all the drawbacks, it is with no doubt that the students ultimately deserve the freedom to select the meal they wish to have. While UIC has not yet experienced any significant disputes with school executives concerning the matter of delivery food, it is unquestionable that takeout foods are popular in the campus and the problems are inevitably present. Considering the precedents from other schools, the student body must appreciate the efforts of the cleaning crew and pay them their deserved respect. One can always start by helping to clean their surroundings after devouring their BTS-endorsed plate of treasure.