COVID-19 has changed the way students engage in volunteer work. Since its founding in 2013 the SNU Global Institute of Social Responsibility (SNUSR) has sent volunteer groups each break to developing countries such as Laos, Vietnam and Uzbekistan, but this year it canceled all of its overseas programs. Instead, the institute launched ‘SNU Digital Corps’, an online aid initiative with five different components.
Firstly, Team ABC (Assemble to Beat COVID-19) aims to support people with disabilities, such as auditory or developmental disorders, who may have difficulty accessing information about the disease. The team created an animated educational video that provides basic information about and precautions for the prevention of COVID-19. The video is offered in six different language versions-- Korean, English, French, Vietnamese, Khmer and Swahili— and distributed by organizations for the disabled in each respective country.
Team ‘Together ON-AIR’ aimed to reduce the digital divide that COVID-19 has worsened, by helping children and adolescents from educationally marginalized areas produce videos. Mentees would choose their own themes and receive help in the production process from SNU mentors. This activity provided youngsters an opportunity to learn and boost their self-esteem. A final closing ceremony allowed the mentors and 220 mentees to present their productions to the rest of the team.
Meanwhile, Team ‘VR ON-AIR’ created intriguing new projects that utilized fourth industrial revolution technology. The team made a virtual online field trip for students whose school field trips had been canceled due to the virus. They filmed landmarks of Seoul in VR, producing content such as ‘Visiting Seochon’, ‘Having Fun at an Amusement Park’ and ‘Being a Virtual SNU Student’. Their content hopefully served as a consolation to non-local students deprived of their Seoul tour.
Team ‘SHOUTING’ collaborated with Uzbek students in conducting an online campaign to improve health literacy on diabetes, one of Uzbekistan’s biggest health concerns. Team ‘D-Sign’ joined with local Vietnamese college students to create educational videos on the fourth industrial revolution.
In the initial stages, SNU Digital Corps was concerned about the limitations of online-only communication. Contrary to these concerns however, students were already fluent with the new media, and actively exchanged opinions via video calls and messengers, leading to meaningful results. The final video productions are available on the SNUSR YouTube channel.