K-Soc: Best Overall Society

The winning society of “Best Overall Society” discusses how they pulled off such an incredible accomplishment

Winning “Best Overall Society” is no easy feat, but winning “Best Small Society” too only boosts the achievement. This success requires consistent work, dedication, and planning from the committee. Korean Society (K-Soc) rightfully claimed the title of “Best Overall Society” at the Central Societies Committee (CSC) awards night for the 2022/23 academic year. When speaking with Matas Martinaitis, K-Soc chairperson 2022/23, about their success at the CSC awards, he recalls the events of the night: “We made the most out of the moment in each other’s company until the announcement for the ‘Best Overall Society’ started. The suspense was palpable, and while none of us believed it at the time, there was that small sliver of hope that maybe, just maybe, a small cultural society could take home the coveted award for the first time since… maybe ever? I can still hear the deafening silence followed by ‘THE KOREAN SOCIETY!’. My jaw dropped, my heart was pounding, and my legs turned to jelly.” While the group knew their hard work would be recognised, they were still flattered by the award. Looking at their success, “how did they win” is not the question, but rather, how did they manage it all?

The Society started strong with a “Kommittee” (the term coined by the K-Soc committee) night out. After the initial event, they continued their momentum with great society collaborations and weekly film screenings. Events such as food tours, weekly Korean lessons, and origami making were all promoted within the first term. In the second term, their hosting skills only improved. Beginning with a Seollal Dinner in January, week after week, they brought food tours, dance classes, Korean films, games, and more. For this year, Alison Zobenko (public relations officer 2023/24) says: “We shall resume our language and dance classes as well as continue to expand on different aspects of Korean culture in all celebration, art, history with the different perspectives of the individual Kommittee members.” 

Being able to host events that continuously have a great turnout is the dream of every society. Key factors of this consistency include variety, coordination, and advertisement. K-Soc provided a variety by alternating the subject matter of their activities. Martinaitis spoke on being able to provide such a wide variety of events: “In short, the Kommittee’s willingness to explore topics of Korean culture less familiar to them paired with their never-ending enthusiasm to not only curate but enjoy great events with their friends, is what made this year so much more varied and diverse than any other.” Ensuring these events go well is crucial to their success. Martinaitis states that successful turnouts can be “split into two parts, the first being ensuring a good Kommittee turnout at events, and the second a good member turnout at events.” Behind the scenes, the Kommittee is booking rooms, calling venues, making posters, and finding elected staff to work the date. Even though the events went well, there were still obstacles to face.

Martinaitis adds: “In terms of challenges, the biggest difficulty was planning the events sufficiently in advance to keep the Society’s cogs turning optimally. With so many events, everyone needed to know what was going on and when it was going on.” Communication was vital for this Kommittee. Once the idea is in place and the event has been organised, the Kommittee must promote their hard work! This is frequently done on Instagram, which is incredible (if you haven’t checked it out, you really should @tcdkoreansoc). Audience engagement can make or break a gathering, and K-Soc is no stranger to an art-filled post to boost engagement.

Along with Instagram, K-Soc also uses their weekly email to their advantage, including upcoming events along with book and film recommendations for the week. Through promotion and variety, K-Soc helped to ensure their member turnout. “For member turnout, events were diverse in themes but consistent in timings and structure. Events would regularly be posted at least two weeks in advance to allow for accessibility requests to be made, a suggestion box was used to organise more sought-after events, and food was promised in some events, and we know how attractive free food is, right?” commented Martinaitis when discussing their strategy for ensuring a good turnout.

The specialty of K-Soc is that it is so vast yet so well done”

While their fantastic hosting skills did shine through, K-Soc also actively promoted Korean Culture. By having language classes available to members, they opened an entire country and culture up for learning. Weekly Korean film screenings helped to bring society members in for a laid-back time to enjoy creative cinema. The specialty of K-Soc is that it is so vast yet so well done. Not only did K-Soc have an excellent Kommittee for the academic term, but they also had great members! Constantly engaging and promoting the society helped bring more people in. Martinaitis will not resume his position as chairperson for the 2023/24 academic term. However, he does feel that he has “passed the torch” onto the new Kommittee: “I hope that the Korean Society does their best as they have the past four years I’ve been with them. As long as they do that and have fun along the way, the experience will be far more valuable than any award will ever acknowledge.”

Photo sent by K-Soc PRO Alison

The new Kommittee certainly has a legacy to follow, but with years of dedication and hard work behind them, the future is theirs to grab. Current K-Soc chairperson, YunKyung Kwak , states that: “This year, we hope to focus on opening events and discussions that will not only give our members a good time, but also help inform them of Korean culture more.” He concludes his statement by noting that the expectations are set high for the 2023/24 academic year:  “We will work just as hard to live up to the expectations of our members when joining this society,” he says, “We can’t wait to open another amazing year with our members and hope to give everyone a great yet informative time!”