Wow. We’re unsure what they’re feeding the students at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, but pompous jerky jerk Kevin Ost-Vollmers (an alumnus of rival school Gustavus Adolphus College) reports that he absolutely felt super old and inadequate after talking with Ellie Martin, President of the college’s Korean Culture Association (KCA). Seriously. Impressive. It’s not an overstatement to say that the students involved with the KCA are rockstars to the core; their support of the Korean Unwed Mothers Families’ Association (KUMFA)/HEATER fundraiser is right on.
“Um Ya Ya!”
P.S. The Korean Herald recently mentioned the KCA as well.
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: What is the Korean Culture Association (KCA) at St. Olaf? What do you do? How many members are there?
Ellie: The Korean Culture Association at St. Olaf College is comprised of students of all backgrounds. While we have members who are first generation Korean Americans, adopted Korean Americans and those who are non-Korean students, our common interest is in learning about and celebrating Korean culture. We work to bring opportunities for the community to learn about issues in Korea through educational events, and to present Korean culture through fun community events. We currently have about a dozen members, with a number of other students who have shown some interest in our group and our activities.
LGA: Nice. So, what is the Caf Fast and why have you chosen KUMFA/HEATER as the recipient?
Ellie: We feel that the issues surrounding Korean unwed mothers are inadequately addressed, and KUMFA’s efforts to address and mend these issues are very impressive. Since raising awareness is an imperative step in social change, we would like to contribute to KUMFA’s advocacy in this regard. We realize that, as South Korea is a major player in the international adoption scene, the stigma forcing unwed mothers to give up their children for adoption gives rise to larger social ramifications. For example, it is not uncommon for Korean-American adoptees to struggle with concepts of identity, home, and belonging, and this reality exaggerates the urgency of the situation. By donating funds from the Caf Fast to HEATER, we can help KUMFA in a pragmatic and meaningful way.
The Caf Fast is a one-day, school-wide event in which a St. Olaf organization can donate the money from the fast toward an organization of their choice. On this day, students are welcomed to skip a meal in the cafeteria, and the monetary value of the cafeteria food is then forwarded to the designated organization. The Caf Fast is limited to one organization per semester, and currently we are waiting to hear the results of our application. Since this opportunity is not solidified, we are also planning on raising funds for KUMFA during the first week in January 2012.
Our week of KUMFA awareness and fund-raising in January will include three parts. First, we will sponsor a school-wide dance featuring both Korean and popular Western music to foster enthusiasm for our cause. Next, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, our organization’s adviser, will introduce KUMFA and their need for support in a formal presentation. The presentation may include a live Skype conversation with a representative of KUMFA or a mother from their program, and students will be welcomed to ask questions and offer donations at the end of this event. Lastly, we will donate the profits from our paper flower sale in the first week of January to KUMFA. We are very excited about this project, and we hope to offer a positive and constructive discourse between KUMFA and the St. Olaf community.
LGA: (Wow, when did St. Olaf students become so awesome..?) Is there a message you would like to send to the mothers and children involved with KUMFA?
Ellie: We would like the mothers and children of KUMFA to know that KCA is keeping them in our thoughts, and that we fully support their efforts for a better life. We hope that, with KCA’s and KUMFA’s help, they will soon find the understanding, acceptance, and resources necessary to thrive in Korean society. 화이팅! and 사랑해!