In this March 3, 2016, file photo, Minni Kim, ‘17, works on his DJ workstation at his home. DJ Minni recently worked on a new research project called “Flow” about the music industry. (Mudassir Kadri/B&W Staff)

Student DJ Min “Minni” Kim uses Baker Institute project to creative alternative social scene

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Music is part of everyone’s life, but to Min Kim, ’17, it’s his whole life.

Kim, usually called Minni, played the guitar and bass in high school, eventually starting a club called Musical Lyrics Collaboration. He brought his classmates together to cover different songs and introduced them to instruments they never experienced before. This led him to realize his passion for making music.

At Lehigh, Kim decided to bring that passion to his new project for the Baker Institute, the university’s entrepreneurial think tank. His project, called Flow, is an event production and lifestyle brand focused on enhancing Lehigh’s music community.

Kim, who is a DJ, said he and his friends realized the music being played at social events wasn’t representative of music everyone enjoyed.

Kim wanted more than what students were getting from Lehigh’s social life and a place they could listen to music that really spoke to them. He said he created Flow for students to develop their creative expression.

“One of the main things I hated about going to parties or social events on campus is I felt a lot of friction,” Kim said. “You walk into a place, walking around, searching for the people that you know, and you feel like you’re in an uncomfortable environment. Flow is the complete opposite of that, its friction-less. You can walk into a place and talk to anyone. It’s completely fluid and flexible.”

Through a grassroots approach to event production, Kim crowdfunded an initial event to meet more people and showcase their music. By the end, Kim said people he had never met before asking him who he was and if he could play again.

He said at that point he knew he was on to something and seeing a lack of creative expression around campus motivated him to continue working on Flow.

“Lehigh is definitely a huge ‘work hard, play hard’ environment, which isn’t a bad thing,” Kim said, “but people are bogged down by the millions of extracurricular activities. And as a result, artistic adventures take a back seat and become more of a hobby as opposed to the main focus.”

Kim said he believes there has been an improvement from when he first arrived at Lehigh. He said surrounding himself with different types of people over the years helped greatly.

Aakash Phulwani, ’17, a friend of Kim, said he agrees Lehigh’s campus has changed for the better since Flow’s creation.

“I think that there have been sub-communities popping up around campus that share similar values and focus on building tightly knit communities to prove unique value to Lehigh students,” Phulwani said. “More and more students are taking that initiative to really impact the lives of people around them.”

Kim said he has involved himself in the dance community as a way to further his artistic expression and personal development.

“As the founder of (dance group) African Renaissance, (Kim) helped me with filming and photography last year as part of a project,” Phulwani said. “He has been fundamental to the technological aspects of the team as it relates to media and has also been key in creating an open culture at practices.”

Phulwani said crowdfunding events like Flow that are campus-wide go against the average student behavior on campus, and he hopes this type of culture continues at Lehigh.

“I think the main takeaway from Flow for other Lehigh students was the power of creating a well-designed community,” Phulwani said.

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