K-Buzz hosts study night at new Kpop store

Students gather in Kpoppia for an afternoon of studying and relaxation before midterm exams at an event hosted by K-Buzz. // Photo by Sabrina Farley-Allen Student Publications

A new K-pop store, Kpoppia, opened its doors this past week right off of Tech’s west campus. To support the new establishment, Tech’s K-Buzz organization hosted a K-pop study night, complete with study space, K-pop music in the background and a deco card of K-pop idols activity to relax and take a break from schoolwork.

“K-Buzz is the main K-pop club on campus. There is also a club called Seoulstice, which is the dance team for K-pop. Lots of people have heard of Seoulstice, but we are on the smaller side. So if you don’t dance at all or are just interested in talking about K-pop, then K-Buzz is for you,” explained Grace Smith, fourth-year ME and club president.

This event is just one of many hosted by K-Buzz. The club hosts monthly general meetings and more expansive events.  

“Our general body meetings are basically just us getting together. We talk about aspects of Korean culture, recent comebacks within K-pop, new music that has come out recently, announcements, and we play some sort of K-pop or Korean-related game,” Smith said. 

Clara Clifton, third-year ME and ALIS with a concentration in Korean and K-Buzz’s Vice President of Events, elaborated on some of the club’s activities. 

“K-Buzz is basically a Korean pop culture organization. We get together, watch K-pop music videos, learn about Korean culture and Korean entertainment such as K-dramas. It’s just kind of a fun place to hang out with people who also listen to K-pop as well. It is a very welcoming and inviting culture to be a part of and just the K-pop realm in general,” Clifton said.

The members of K-Buzz each found their love for the genre and culture in different ways. For example, Smith discovered her love of K-pop during the recent
COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020. 

“I was on Instagram doing my normal thing, and I saw this video of this guy singing with Charlie Puth, and he was singing better than Charlie Puth was  singing, and I was like ‘oh my god who is this,’ and it was one of the BTS members Jungkook. So, I kind of fell into it from there, and over COVID-19, I got more and more into it, and I am the president of the club now,” Smith said. 

Although Clifton majors in Korean, her love for the culture and language began long before Tech. Though resistant at first, Clifton started listening to K-pop bands at the insistence of her friends, which quickly led her to find other Korean music groups of many genres. 

“Now I’ve moved into the Korean hip hop realm, the Korean rap scene type thing.  I’m also into Korean indie. It’s been fun, especially learning Korean, as I’ve been listening to songs and now understand them is really cool,”Clifton said.

She continued to speak on her connection to K-pop, including her favorite group at the moment, ATEEZ. “It is just an eight-member boy group. They are my favorite [group for] what you could technically consider K-pop. [As for] Korean R&B, I like DPR Ian and DPR Live,” Clifton said.

The K-pop study night was a special event since midterms approach for many students. Kpoppia and K-Buzz partnered to service students and garner business.

“We wanted to have a space for people to come to Kpoppia if they’ve never been. It’s a new business, and we wanted to support them. It’s so close to campus, so it’s super easy just to kinda hang out here. We wanted people to meet others who also like K-pop, study for their exams and get help in classes if they need it. [It’s] the first one we’ve had, so I am hoping it will turn out to be a good time,” Clifton explained. 

 Leyla Ulku, third-year EE, described her experience as a member of K-Buzz and her thoughts about the study night at the new store in Midtown. 

“It has just been really fun because I have made a lot of friends in this club over our general love for K-pop. It is cool, but it is also hard to find people who enjoy it a normal amount, so it has been fun to get to know people who are similar. I go to all the events, but I am excited to do some deco, which is basically a clear card holder and you can put anything inside like Pokémon cards or something, but for K-pop fans, they put little pictures of their idols and other stuff on it to make it look cute. It is just like a fun little past time,” Ulku said.

Similarly to Clifton, Ulku explained that she was first exposed to the genre from her best friend who pushed her to explore Korean music. 

“My best friend is Korean, and when she was in eighth grade she went to Korea, and she came back and was like ‘you will watch all of these music videos with me.’ Now, my favorite bands are EXO and NCT. I really admire their tenacity and just their vocal skill; it’s crazy,” Ulku said.

For future events and to expand the club, Smith advised to follow their Instagram  @kbuzz.gatech and their GroupMe, where the majority of their event planning is done. Ulku concluded, “I would love to see some new faces, and honestly, I feel like we’ve become a pretty close knit community. [It] would be incredible to expand it and just get new perspectives from people.”