About five years ago, Furman boasted a small club dedicated to the appreciation of Korean pop culture that disbanded when most of its core members graduated. More recently, two students have revitalized the club: Alexia Charles ‘23 and Dayna Thomas ‘24. The club is once again recognized under SGA (Student Government Association) for student involvement.
“It sort of started when we participated in that year’s International Dance Festival,” said Thomas, one of two dance captains for the club. “We performed with some Japanese exchange students and connected with an interest in Korean culture. Some other students knew there used to be a K-pop Club and enjoyed K-pop as well, so we restarted the club just for fun.”
In time, the club expanded their vision of Korean cultural appreciation. They brought Korean foods to meetings, discussed Korean culture, and hosted K-drama watch parties. But Furman’s K-pop Club has centered on dance since its conception.
“It’s a structured space where we can come together and dance. We’ve participated in the FUISA (Furman University International Student Association) talent show and dance festival in the past, and we look forward to doing so again,” said Thomas.
With ever-expanding interest on campus, the K-pop club has exponentially grown since it was refounded. As a result, the club has been innovated to accommodate its members’ varied interests in Korean culture – beyond just dance.
“There are two sides of the club,” said public relations chair and treasurer, Kayla Moses ‘24. “There’s the dance side and the cultural side. You don’t have to have any experience to come dance—we built the club so that we can just come together and dance in a way we love. It’s all made to support beginners, to build that skill.”
Meetings convene twice a week and offer people different ways to connect. One meeting is dance-focused and hosted in the Physical Activity Center (PAC) on Sundays—the time of which changes each semester—with a second rehearsal made on a flexible, weekly basis. The club also hosts cultural nights, such as going out for boba or hosting a party for Halloween.
Korean Organization Recreational Events (KORE) is the cultural half of the club, included for people who want to know more and be involved in the club but may not want to dance. KORE exemplifies the club’s core values of engagement and inclusivity and serves as a caring atmosphere for anyone and everyone who shares an interest. These meetings and events are discussed by the club case-by-case.
“People may see the ‘K-pop’ title and it scares them,” said Thomas. “Until recently, in the west, there has been an embarrassing stigma. This is part of why the group was refounded.”
Both Moses and Thomas acknowledged how hard it was to find an encouraging environment for their interest before the club was refounded. At its heart, the K-pop Club has created a place of enthusiasm for its community.
“You don’t have to like just K-pop,” said Moses. “Any interest you have that may not be accepted anywhere else can be accepted here.”
The club is currently setting their sights on expanding their community with more performances and members. They have established a number of co-sponsorships, most recently with Furman University Student Activities Board (FUSAB) for homecoming. They are also planning on joining FUISA’s fashion show in November.
Likewise, the club leaders are on the lookout for off-campus opportunities. A lot of festivals centered on Korean culture and music have been hosted in the Greenville area and nearby in Atlanta, so they have been planning on extending their reach to attend - and possibly perform at - these local or travel-dependent festivals. According to Thomas, members have attended these festivals in the past independently, but now they are trying to participate at the club level.
Through constant evolution, the club has been able to gain as many members as it loses to graduating classes and boasts great retention of its members since refounding.
“You’re always meeting new people,” said Moses. “I know I joined last semester through word of mouth, and because the K-pop community is so tight-knit we’re always grabbing new people.”
There is no shortage of ways to be involved with Furman’s K-pop Club and no end to the appeal of such a caring and dedicated community.
To get involved, you can follow or direct message them on Instagram and TikTok (@furmankpop) or email any of the club representatives through SyncDIN.