After holding a chapel door open every week since first semester, one student recently stopped appearing in front of Edman Chapel. His mission was a success because the chapel door was finally fixed so there was no need to hold it open anymore. However, there is a lot more to his story than a student bringing attention to a simple maintenance job.
To some he is known simply as the chapel-door-holder. Other students call him by his nickname, Sunny-D. His real name? David Kysung Seung. Seung is a freshman student from Portland, Ore. living on the fourth floor of Traber Hall, and he has never missed a day of chapel. Although Seung is currently undecided for his major, he aspires to become either a writer or a janitor.
Since the beginning of first semester, Seung diligently held open the farthest right door of Edman Chapel every morning. After noticing that the mechanism to prop the door was broken, Seung took it upon himself to serve his fellow students and hold that door open as long as it was necessary. Seung never expected that the problem would persist throughout the frigid winter temperatures into the following year.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, Seung woke early to show up at the front of Edman before the majority of students began to appear. His weekly routine consisted of propping open the doors, holding the last door open and greeting students as they passed by him. On the other side of Edman’s doors, chairman of the Far East Broadcasting Company Billy Kim was one of Seung’s favorite guest speakers and he also enjoys any praise and worship event in Edman.
Freshmen Katie Richardson is one student who appreciated Seung’s presence and dedication every morning. She characterized Seung as “very servant-hearted,” while noting his ability to “encourage the other students through his continual volunteering — especially in the cold.”
When interviewed, few students were aware that the door was not able to stay open on its own. In an interview with the Record, Seung laughingly admitted that students and even guests frequently assumed that he was a paid employee hired by the college to open the door.
Other students believed that he was trying to encourage others by setting an example. Whenever Seung was asked why he was holding the door, his usual response was simply “because the door is broken.” Although he never experienced any harassment or hostility when holding the door, the curiosity of other students was obvious to him.
Like any figure of distinction, Seung has some critics. One sophomore student described Seung’s deed as “not necessary, but it was a nice gesture.”
Another student showed his confusion by just asking “why?” Seung explained that although students could have used the other functioning doors, the farthest right entrance “was the most convenient and had the biggest traffic flow — plus, I’m good at holding doors.” He never allowed any judgment towards him to discourage his presence in front of the chapel and instead, he learned to shrug it off.
On Seung’s dorm floor, his friends and floormates were not surprised by his daily thoughtfulness. Interviewed T4 residents shared how inspiring Seung can be whenever he encourages the floor to make someone’s day better. One floormate remarked, “Seeing his handsome face every chapel morning just made my day.”
Seung recently organized a surprise birthday party for Richard Van Dyke, also known as Chip, the floor custodian of Traber Hall. Seung passed a birthday card around his floor, brought the dorm’s attention to Chip’s birthday and presented Chip with a homemade cake he baked himself. On Feb. 1, the celebration occurred smoothly as students took turns sharing what they admire about Chip and his service to the dorm. Seung humorously shared his appreciation for Chip by saying, “Traber is just a dirty box of boys without Chip.”
On Jan. 27, the farthest right door of Edman Chapel was fixed and can now stand open by itself. Someone with the right connections finally talked with Seung and placed a maintenance order for the door. Seung felt mixed emotions on his last day holding open the door. “I’m glad it’s finally fixed, and I’ll miss helping out,” he said while acknowledging the students walking inside.
Chapel is important to Seung as he views it as an opportunity for the campus to unify and worship as one body. For students who will miss seeing Seung every Monday, Wednesday and Friday before chapel, they can find him holding open a door to Blanchard Hall on the right side of the building. Like the door to Edman, he has been holding a Blanchard Hall door open right after chapel since the first week of school. Seung explained that he holds doors out of “respect for my peers and professors.”
Even though he holds the door until there is nobody in sight walking towards the building, Seung has never been late to class. He has also reassured students that if the chapel door ever breaks down again, he will be back.