UW Bothell: ‘This is my beach’

Over spring break, John Kim — ever busy on the University of Washington Bothell campus — was asked, “How come you’re not enjoying yourself on a beach somewhere?”

John Kim

Kim replied, “I guess this is my beach.”

Like the old saying about never working if you love your job, Kim dives into campus life — student government, clubs, administration — with a spirit that earned him recognition as one of the Husky 100, a select group of students honored for making the most of their college experience at UW.

Leading, working on campus

An Interactive Media Design major, Kim is working to graduate in June 2020. As a junior he was involved in student government as the director of outreach and marketing for the Associated Students of the University of Washington Bothell (ASUWB). That involved coordinating public statements and social media and updating the ASUWB website.

One outreach project was an ASUWB collaboration with the Student Diversity Center last fall that brought together influencers from several companies along with a number of UW alumni to network and share their backgrounds and work experiences. The opportunity to hear from and meet these professionals attracted about 180 students to the event in the Activities & Recreation Center (ARC).

Another project was the ASUWB’s successful effort to help fund the Health and Wellness Center, which is part of the United Way Benefits Hub in the ARC. It connects students to health, housing and financial resources.

In addition to ASUWB and his academic load, Kim works as a student assistant in UW Bothell’s Office of Planning & Administration. His work has included conducting focus groups to ensure that student voices are considered in administration plans.

He sees his role as helping build the campus community, he said. “I wanted to bring students together with administrators and faculty through just actively listening to each other.”

Learning to make a difference

Kim hopes the work will lead to more places on campus that are like the Student Diversity Center — places where students can gather and where their work is celebrated, such as the student art “gallery” in the hallway outside the Student Success Center in Founders Hall (UW1).

These are environments, he said, where students “feel like when they come in here, they’re home.”

Coming from high school, Kim said his transition to UW Bothell was slow until he met student leaders in ASUWB and became involved himself. “I would go into their office and see how passionate they worked, and that was really inspiring to me.”

It took a while, Kim said, to set goals and realize UW Bothell “is a place where you get what you work for.”

Goals for Kim in his senior year include becoming more active in clubs. He helped start the Digital Arts and Media Marketing club last year. It began with a group of friends who wanted to make cool videos. Then they decided to make videos to support the campus.

Being actively present

Kim has also started forming another club called the Interaction Design Association or IxDA. It’s for students who want to learn more about design.

His dream goal would be to return to UW Bothell as IMD faculty and teach “how to use design for positive impact in the world.”

Among people Kim thanks for his campus involvement are former ASUWB President Leah Shin and current ASUWB President Shugla Kakar “who really dragged me out of that shell and then allowed me to throw myself into these opportunities.”

Kim said he’s also thankful to UW Bothell staff he’s worked with, including Ruth Johnston, the vice chancellor for Administration & Planning, and Marie Blakey, the assistant vice chancellor for marketing and communications.

By being actively present on campus, Kim said he has met many students who are overcoming challenges, supporting families and making the most of their college experience.

“I hope in the future, more students from UW Bothell could be recognized for their amazing work.”

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