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The university’s festival culture has been changed by COVID-19, and now it is online!

 These days, it is impossible to meet many people offline because of the pandemic caused by the corona virus. So, the way of untact communication between people is becoming commonplace. Untact means avoiding contact with people, and it is a compound word of 'un-', which means negation in 'contact'. As a result, social and cultural interaction are naturally cut off. Furthermore, people's psychological pain is intensified and complaints are getting bigger. In particular, university freshmen are not experiencing proper campus life due to online classes. In fact, offline festivals at universities are also not being held even though many students call the festival the flower of campus life. Accordingly, many universities are holding online live festivals using untact communication methods. Last year, Inha University also tried to hold the festival in parallel with online and offline methods. But the offline festival was canceled. However, E-sports competitions and club performances held online proceeded as scheduled. In addition, other universities also held school festivals using online platforms in line with the norms of the COVID-19 era. Through this article, let's look at examples of those universities in detail.

 

 First is a description of festival culture in Korean universities. University festivals are one of the cultural events in universities and they are mainly held in May. They usually use the name ‘Daedong festival,’ which means harmony with lots of people. In fact, each university has a different festival name because they can make their own names by themselves. For example, it is called the Biryong Festival in at Inha University, Ipsilenti festival at Korea University, and Akaraka festival at Yonsei University. During the university festivals, additional events such as club exhibitions are held by students in the school. Famous celebrities are often invited to perform at university festivals. Both students from other schools and local residents can attend the university festival to enjoy together. Festivals give students great vitality as the festival are considered a symbol of campus life. These interactions and cooperations arouse students' love for their school and play a big role in promoting friendship.

 

 As the pandemic caused by the corona virus continues, the nature of university festivals also have changed significantly. In 2020, all universities had online classes because of the corona virus. Most university events were held online or in a smaller than usual scale. Because of this, many universities initially postponed the festivals within the university to the next semester. However, as the COVID-19 did not calm down and gradually worsened, offline university festivals could not be held in 2020 or 2021. As a result, many students tried to hold university festivals online to restore the university festival culture that was taken away by COVID-19. So, the appearance of festivals by universities has also changed significantly from offline to online in line with the pandemic situation. As a result, online festivals for each university were created based on various online contents such as talk concerts, online markets, and E-sports.

 

First of all, in the case of Inha University, the Biryong Festival was held offline before the COVID-19 crisis. But the festival was naturally canceled due to the pandemic situation. In 2021, there were various issues related to the hosting of the Biryong Festival, so let's understand this in detail through the following article. The following is an explanation of the progress before the offline Biryong festival was canceled. The student council planned to hold the Biryong Festival for three days on November 16, 17, and 18 in 2021. For two days on the 16th and 17th, the festival was held offline at Inha University’s playing fields, and on the 18th, the final of the E-sports competition was scheduled to be broadcast online. In the case of this Biryong Festival, the booths were scheduled by dividing the time into three parts. Specifically there was A time (12:00-14:00), B time (14:30-17:00), and C time (17:30-19:30) on the 16th and 17th. This was decided because many students could not gather in one space at a time due to the COVID-19 quarantine guidelines. The place was planned to accommodate 400 people each time. In addition, only students who are enrolled or on a leave of absence at Inha could purchase tickets through pre-ticketing for the Biryong Festival. Ticketing by time and date in the Biryong Festival was held through Google forms from 8 p.m. on November 8. It was processed through various channels such as the student council website, Inha Square, Everytime, and student council SNS. If the number of pre-bookings through ticketing was less than 400, on-site reservations were also permitted from 9:00 a.m. on the day of the festival. Both pre-booking and on-site reservations were only for students who were vaccinated. Students who wanted to be in the festival had to be vaccinated for the second time at least two weeks before November 16. However if they were not completely vaccinated, they had to submit a negative PCR result from within the previous two days. Pre-booking for the Biryong Festival was held at 8 p.m. on November 8 and closed at 8 p.m. on November 10. In fact, a total of 10,170 students participated in the pre-booking for the Biryong Festival as of 5:30 p.m. on November 9. These figures were officially released by the student council. The ticketing results were scheduled to be uploaded on November 11th onto the website of the student council. Also, there were various photo zones, club booths, and performances by celebrities that were originally planned for this Biryong Festival. The artists in the following list were invited to the Biryong festival. This was officially unveiled by the student council. On November 16, singers Cheese, 10cm, Ozone, Car the Garden, Ben. On the 17th, famous artists So Soo-bin, Stella Jang, 2F (Shin Yong-jae, Kim Won-joo), and Lim Chang-jung were confirmed.

 

 However, on November 11, 2021, the student council officially announced that it would cancel the offline Biryong Festival. Actually, it was scheduled to take place for two days, beginning on November 16. Jeon Seung-hwan who was the chairman of the student council, in a statement that day said, "I realized that there were insufficient methods of overcoming the risks caused by the recent increase in COVID-19 and that I could not provide enough students with opportunities to participate in the event." Even before the announcement of the notice, various questions related to the festival were raised at Everytime, which is the community of Inha University. First of all, the problem was that the allocated budget was vast despite the inability to participate in the offline Biryong Festival except for 400 people per hour for a total of 2,400 people. If the students did not succeed in getting a ticket, they will not be able to watch the performance or participate in the booth events. So, many students responded that they were not convinced that the festival (offline Biryong festival, E-sports competition, and club performance filming) would cost 300 million won. In addition, the fact that the student council carried out the project without being approved for the offline festival project was also important. Originally, the project of an independent central organization could be implemented only with the approval of the general assembly. The extraordinary general meeting of delegates for the approval of the festival project was scheduled for November 14. But, the announcement of Biryong festival was already underway on November 6, before the assembly had a change to approve the festival. The offline Biryong Festival project conducted by the student council was therefore suspended. But the E-sports competition and video filming of club performance project were carried out online as scheduled, because they were officially approved by the general meeting of delegates.

 

 On November 18, 2021, the finals of the online Biryong  E-sports Competition was held as scheduled. A total of 37 teams participated in the "League of Legends" event, and the final two teams advanced to the finals after preliminary rounds from the second of that month. The teams participating in the final were "Coding Hada lol Kim" of software convergence university and "4K" of engineering university. The game was played in the best-of-five series, and the game streamer "Cltem" Lee Hyun-woo, "Dangun" Kim Eui-jung, and "Kkokogat" Ko Soo-jin were in charge of the commentary. In the final round, the final victory of the Biryong match with a set score of 3-0 was 4K, and the runner-up position was won by "Coding Hada lol Kim."  At the following awards ceremony trophies and 1.5 million won in prize money were delivered to the winning team, and 600,000 won to the runner-up team. 4K team leader Kang Hyun-hoo said, "My personal goal was to go to the finals, but when I got on the final stage, I wanted to win," adding, "It was good to have a fun experience with my teammates." Coding Hada lol Kim’s team leader Jung Gun-woo also said, "It was an experience that I've never tried before," adding, "It's a pity that it's a semi-win, but I don't have any regrets about doing my best." In addition, he thanked the team members, saying, "For about a month, I had a hard time practicing, but we were able to finish by encouraging each other to do well." At 3:30 p.m. on the same day, music videos for each club were first released on the youtube channel of the student council ahead of the final of the E-sports competition. The released music videos were created by Ases, a cheering club at Inha University, and POP MUSIC, Lives, Gaero, Comance, and F.L.EX, a performance club at Inha University. They have an average of more than 1,000 views on the youtube channel.

 

 Next, let's look at the responses of the student council, the general assembly, the supporters of the Biryong festival, and the enrolled students in order to understand the issues of the Biryong festival. Jeon Seung-hwan who was chairman of the student council explained, "We hurriedly pushed for the Biryong Festival as With Corona was decided, out of the desire that the lack of the festival would hurt student cultural activities if it could not be held for two years." In addition, he said, "We had to discuss a lot with the students in the process of planning and processing the festival, but I don't think the students understood the festival because it was unilaterally promoted by the student council." Jeon Seung-hwan, president of the student council, said, "At the previous extraordinary general meeting of the delegates, some of the expenses for offline festivals along with the budget for online festivals was approved, but what students perceived as unauthorized projects was a mistake of the student council, which lacked communication with festival participants."


 Regarding the proceedings of the Biryong Festival, Kim Young-kwan, the head of the emergency committee, said, "I was embarrassed to hear the contents of the project through promotion of the festival even before receiving official data related to the festival." In addition, in the summary of the interview with the general department released along with the statement, he said, "I understand the urgent situation of the general department, but it seemed that they should only approve projects that were already decided in the general committee." The president recruited supporters and asked for cooperation from clubs for the offline Biryong Festival. However, supporters and club members who were preparing for the festival complained about the sudden cancellation of the offline Biryong Festival. A member of a club said, "I was angry at the attitude of making plans and continuing to change words after doing things," adding, "I didn't feel that we were given appropriate consideration and respect while preparing for the festival in such a short time." He then expressed regret over the cancellation of the Biryong Festival, saying, "This opportunity of festival performance is rare while club activities are suspended, but I hope students pay more attention to it."

 

 According to the responses of university students on Everytime, a community site of Inha students, there were many comments showing regret over the cancellation of the festival, such as "I had a hard time getting a ticket but suddenly the performance was canceled." On the other hand, there were some students who responded positively to the cancellation of the festival, such as "I was worried that the quarantine rules would not be followed well in the pandemic situation," and "I was dissatisfied with only a limited number of people who succeeded in getting tickets."

 

 From this passage, let's find out in detail how the festival culture of other universities have changed since COVID-19. First are the cases of Korea University and Yonsei University, followed by Soongsil University, and finally Kookmin University.

 

 

 On June 12, 2020, the Online Live University Festival was held at the Sinchon Yonsei University Open-air Theater at 6:30 p.m. The festival video was broadcast live on KT's official YouTube, Facebook, Olleh TV channel, and Seezn, and was also delivered live through various online channels such as cheering clubs and "Yeongo TV" the YouTube channel at Korea University and Yonsei University. Broadcaster Park Myung-soo and basketball player Woo Ji-won and Shin Ki-sung from each school were jointly in charge of the event. A program was held that reconstructed the traditional cheering festival of the two universities, including rival matches and harmony cheering matches between Korea University and Yonsei University. In addition, the online festival provided a variety of fun events and attractions such as hip-hop club performances and online participant quizzes. The online cheering festival consisted of three parts: "Harmony," "Competition," and "Finale," and the first part began with students who participated online and cheering clubs from both schools singing cheering songs together. Part 2 was a traditional cheering club showdown between the two schools, adding to the fun by broadcasting the favoritism of MCs representing each school. The third-part finale ended with joint support from the cheering clubs and online participants. Park Kwang-seo, vice head of Yonsei University's cheering club, during the online festival, said, "I was thinking about online contents to promote the campus cheering culture, and KT proposed an online festival. I'm happy to hold the first online cheering match between Yonsei and Korea university with KT."

 

 Soongsil University invited celebrities from various fields on August 19, 23, and 30, of 2020. There were politicians, businessmen, and artists on behalf of the university festival who per present for an online talk concert. At the first event, Rep. Lee Soo-jin (Seoul Dongjak) gave a lecture on the theme of "Ask Sung-sil, District Councilors," followed by Rep. Lee Nak-yeon and Lee Joon-seok, Supreme Council member of the United Future Party. On the same day, Zion.T and EXID Solji presented a music concert. At the second event held on the 23rd, Sandbox CEO Lee Pil-sung talked about the direction of youth in the post-COVID-19 era. Then Yeom Han-gyeol, a researcher at Daum Soft Big Data, gave a lecture on big data. After than, on the same day, Apink's Jung Eun Ji appeared in a music concert. In the third event held on the 30th, broadcaster Tyler talked about the idea that people should embrace diversity in the future, including conflict and hatred, and a 10CM music concert was held. The Soongsil University Student Association explained that the event was organized to present various opinions and solve questions through talks. The main topics for the event were on the grievances, employment, post-corona, community development, and politics of Soongsil University students caused by COVID-19. Oh Jong-woon, president of Soongsil University's student council, said, "Even in the untact era, we should be in contact so that we can get closer to students," adding, "We will do our best to make the case of Soongsil University a model for other universities."


 In May 2021, Kookmin University held an online dance competition in celebration of the Daedong Festival. This event drew more attention as it was led by the university headquarters, not the student council. This dance competition actually revived the stagnant campus atmosphere due to COVID-19 and made students happy. The evaluation was conducted in the form of students posting their own dance videos on Kookmin University's official YouTube channel. The evaluation was based on the number of views and likes at 50% and the judges' score at 50%. As a result, as of the application deadline, a total of 13 teams participated, including 2 graduate teams and 11 undergraduate teams, and the cumulative number of views exceeded 25,000. The students who participated in the contest said, "Despite the COVID-19 situation, it was a meaningful experience to leave good memories of their school days." The student community Everytime responded, "Looking at the concept of a dance contest led by the university headquarters, the school is changing a lot." The student council of Kookmin University hosted the untact song festival "Summer Night Us," which included free performances including singing and dancing. This untact song festival was held in a way that determined the winner by voting on videos of less than 8 minutes that was submitted through Instagram. In addition, there was "Let's go see the stars," a new concept-type online permanent street where students can sell their own goods and artworks or buy other students' items in the market. This event was also very popular with students.

 

 In conclusion, COVID-19 has changed a lot of the campus life that many students dreamed of as well as the university's unique festival culture. Therefore, many universities are holding online university festivals by using online platforms in line with the COVID-19 era. Beyond the existing festival format that was held offline, untact festivals have emerged with new contents such as online markets, talk concerts, club performances, and E-sports competitions. Thus, it is difficult to hold university festivals offline due to situational restrictions caused by COVID-19. But I really hope that the pandemic will end as soon as possible so that we can enjoy the festival vividly offline again.

 

leeyeji02  leeyeji02@naver.com

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