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Behind the Scenes : Know Your Fest 01

Agitation, Bandh, Telangana Issue, Riots, Academic Delay, Procrastination of Exams, Delayed Results, Religious tussles. Yet college fests are back with novel forms and new concepts. Maximum number of Engineering fests in and around Hyderabad take place in the months of February-March; but exceptions always exist! A National/Regional level symposium consumes at least one or two months of hard work, time of students and faculty in-charges. Albeit working for so many hours, the awaited day passes away as the president vehicle in the traffic. Nevertheless, there still continue to be enumerable and enthusiastic students who work rigorously for the fest.

But the question of the hour is Why college FestWhat does it take to make it possible?  Here is an attempt to clear the 5 Ws 1 H and give an idea about the fest. A survey among the students has been taken from colleges in and around Hyderabad.

The grounds for conducting a fest in a college have many motives but to emphasize the top few reasons for fest to be conducted are:

1. To bring out the hidden talent in the students.

2. Look into world outside the college gates.

3. To learn time and finance management.

4. To bring in coordination among the students of all years and branches.

0th reason ‘Branding of the College’

Various Sponsors. Credits: Morle

Various Sponsors. Credits: Morle'La Wheermy

Functionality of Fests:

For an event to get noticed, their always should exist ‘Uniqueness’ or ‘Difference’ in comparison to the other fests. A college fest also requires umpteen hours of prior toil. To carry out an event certain rubrics and statute titles are to be maintained and followed.

Initially the skeletal structure of the event, the Budget is decided and interested students are requested to register for the coordinators’ team. For a fest to function there are various committees that are formed like: Core, Committees like Sponsors, Organizing, Event Heads, Publicity and Communication, Letter Work, External and Internal affairs and Volunteers.

The prominence is given to students who can work in parallel on more than two events at a time as the events should take shape from the outline. Various departments share few students. At this phase the entire process of functionality is divided into three heads. They are:

* Event Management: – Development of the events to presentation on the day of the fest. From paper to the end user application; perfect work which attracts people to the fest and which shows the events are better than the rest.

* Publicity: – Decisions on events to be publicized more, media partners to tie up, maximum strategies to get attention, how to get extra attention.

* Sponsors: – The critical zone of elimination. Uncanny Sense and Communication skills prioritized.  Every student faces in prioritizing who sponsors and who doesn’t.

Prakriti: Agricultural Fest. Credits: Morle'La Wheermy

Prakriti: Agricultural Fest. Credits: Morle'La Wheermy

The important zone of the complete fest is to zero in on who supports and who sponsors the fest. To approach the exact company/person which is directly related to the theme of the fest is very significant. Maintaining documentation of the sponsors approached is a good tactic. “Some politely reject our request and some make us talk for hours together or snub. The best way to start with sponsors is to do a lot of home work on who sponsors, where, how much and how does he/she get convinced, then pick up students who are good with the analyzed work and send them for sponsorship,” says Gaurav Kaushal, Student- Aviation, CMEC.

“To find sponsors for the fest is a mental work. It needs a lot of logic. We have to be very careful while speaking, one word in a wrong context drowns the complete idea of sponsoring,” says Akshay Neelakantam, Student- ECE, SVIT. One important aspect is, to find whether the sponsor we are approaching has sponsored any other event or not. In case of a positive response try to “Maskafy“.  “My college is not a renowned or deemed university; it’s not very popular, so initially it was scary to start off. Now after working on it, I feel it was a really excellent experience,” said Rohit Mishra, Student- ECE, SVIT.

With recession still affecting the economy, many companies point a direct “NO”. The businessmen and company sponsors have their own reason. “We always try to analyze the type of fest students organize and to get the best advantage and benefit for our company,” said Mr. Laxman Rao, Managing Director, S One Technology Private Limited. When asked about recession and its effect on the fests he says, “Basically before recession, all the decisions were taken by the local marketing dept but now everywhere the market is down, so even we have to try cost-cutting measures. We choose only such fests where we can get 99% benefit for sponsoring. We don’t sponsor just because we have money, right?”

“We mostly prefer fests where there is lot of female crowd who intend to look gorgeous. So in most cases we prefer such colleges where we apply our constraints,” said Shine Mathew, Marketing, Anoos Beauty Parlour. “The first thing we look into when we tie up with the college is the “BRAND” value. Most students tune into Radio channels at random. But in cases, where we are sponsoring them, they listen to our channel even during the advertisements. That way we gain more listeners,” said Sidharth, Ex-Marketing Incharge, Red FM (93.5).

Parakram: Sports Night or Sports Fest. Credits: Morle'La Wheermy

Parakram: Sports Night or Sports Fest. Credits: Morle'La Wheermy

“Stalls are the best way to indulge students to stay on the campus. Games stalls and Food stalls get a lot of profits. Our college has a lot of these every year. We even get celebrities for college fests which results in more crowd inflow. Stalls are also best parts of economy for fests. Arranging stalls is extremely tiresome though,” said Dinesh Rayala, Student- EEE, CBIT.

Publicity, in the present day, is mainly done by enrolling with media and radio partners, online social communities, by sending texts to friends, by putting on posters and banners in college and on college buses, sending students to put on posters in other colleges and thereby publicizing the event. Few with a mega budget put on hoardings too. Grabbing attention towards a fest is difficult. It requires a lot of talent and new ways to design the poster. It should be impressive.

The posters and banners are to be catchy. One has to create easy and simple ways to convey the content. “To make posters, we usually ask for ideas and draft themes from all the students and once we get them, we sit down and select the best. If nothing is good then we design a new one altogether. In most cases, these things come to the forefront at the 11th hour. I have been making the website for my college fest for the past three years. In case of website, the template design takes 15 days, and coding at max an hour or two, if the content is ready. Event heads have to give the description of their respective events, and then the description is given to those students who can make it more effective,” says Karthik Navuluri, Student, CVRCE.

The arguments on a small decision, the rebellion ideas against college for taking selected people, the open protest from specific crowd for not asking them individually to take part in the fests are some of the serious issues. Suharsh Raj from MVSR says “Passionate and interested students are always welcome. It’s not a one man show. One cannot expect such individual requests.”

Event management is a huge responsibility. Everything needs a clear outline and work in all the directions. “We design an event and we have to test it in all the possible cases. Many colleges come up with new events every year. So in order to keep students stuck to our events, we need to be more creative and appealing. The outlook is to be made very glossy. All the events are to be well taken care of,” says Aditya Venkat, Student – ECE, Aurora Engineering College.

Sahaya 2010 : A fund raising event and college fest. Credits:Morle'La Wheermy

Sahaya 2010 : A fund raising event and college fest. Credits:Morle'La Wheermy

View Point:

Most college managements do the fests for Branding of the college. Few follow it just because it’s in vogue. When questioned “How Branding happens?” most students answered, “It’s a simple logic, when our college gives us permission for fests, then we show our college in the best possible way. All those who attend the event look at the best ends of the college. All the students praise the management. The college can get students with better ranks in the college which increases the popularity.”

“We encourage students to have a fest because they will get to learn more things; which is the prime motto and they enjoy it too,” said Mr. Narasinmha Rao, Ex- Principal, SVIT. “We take the initiative of bringing out the potential and hidden talent of the students by making them organize the fests,” says Mrs. Meenakshi Dhondi, faculty in-charge, Gaia 09, SVIT.

Few students feel, “we get to showcase our talent, skill and working spirit when the fests are conducted.” Whereas a few others feel that, “Working for a fest we will learn new things like how to manage the finance and time, according to the situation.”

The co-ordination among the students is the key aspect to success. There also exist reasons for students to work for the fest like attendance shortage (as attendance is given to students who work for the fest), popularity (name in the poster, pamphlet), self-satisfaction, compelled by college, and Coordinator certificates which adds to the résumé. Scathing comments do prevail as critics always like to see things only from their perspective.

Preparing a model. Credits: Suharsh Raj

Preparing a model. Credits: Suharsh Raj

Mrs. Subha Sharma, a parent comments, “No festival is as big as a college fest for students. They sort of do everything for the fest. At the beginning it looks like a tough job which is hard to make real, but these students make it a perfect presentation by the decided date. My daughter started working on her college fest from 2nd year. Initially I objected to it, but then after viewing the work that they put into to make their fest, I am now proud.”

“When we started working, everything was confusing and vague. We had to design, code, test and make it work within a short span of two months. It was fun working with other students from the college. Most of the decisions are taken in the regular meets. We usually consider students who are regular to meets as “IN”, and exclude those who don’t and start working. It’s tough but fun,” says Shahbaj Sheikh, Student- IT, BVRIT.

Hopefully, this article would interest all those students, who want to be part of the fest but question themselves, “Why should I work for the fest and what will I gain?” And for those, who are already working, a few more ways of making college fests a sure-fire.

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