No brainwork at department fests?

Campus talk

The season of departmental festivals in DU colleges is back. Hindu, Ramjas, Delhi School of Economics and others have just finished with some departmental fests, while others are preparing for them in January and February.

Students, though, are complaining that, year after year, the money quotient in these fests is going up and the creativity quotient is coming down. There is more emphasis on getting sponsorships, organising for rock bands, dance shows, food etc., and less attention to ideating subject related activities and programmes. In short, they are becoming mini versions of the annual college fests and the essence of the subject, which the department represents, is not coming through.

Yashaswini Saraswat, student of Economics Honours, IIIrd year at Hindu College says, “Our department does hold subject related activities like a Mock Stock Exchange, Paper presentation on Economic issues, preparing Business plans etc., but these have been going on for years, and we have not come up with any new theme based activities.”

“Even in the other departmental fests, all the students’ efforts are channelled in arranging for sponsors and music bands. Even in their posters, the rock bands take centrestage. The time spent on thinking of subject related programmes is going down.”

Assistant professor at Lady Sri Ram College, Nivedita Ghosh informs Metrolife, “We realised this problem in our Sociology department in 2011. We were getting sponsors like brands in fairness creams which Sociology as a discipline is totally opposed to. As a result, we scrapped the departmental fest ‘Kula’ altogether and now we just have a series of lectures to mark it.”

Sunanda, a Journalism student at KNC, gives an interesting perspective, “This problem is more prominent in North Campus colleges as they get more sponsors. When you get more sponsors and money, the focus shifts to getting footfall to oblige companies; and the crowds do not come for academic events but rock bands.”

“On the other hand, in South Campus colleges, since we do not get enough sponsors and money, we try to make our fests attractive with interesting subject based programmes. If you look at the posters of South Campus departmental fests, there will always be more academic programmes than cultural programmes as opposed to North Campus fests.”
Abhinav Kakkar, student of BCom at Ramjas College explains, “Recently, an unsaid rule has developed in departments across colleges that whoever gets a sponsor for a fest, gets 15 per cent of sponsorship money too. As a result, every other student is running after sponsors instead of planning events.”

“I feel, if colleges put a cap on the number of sponsors allowed in a departmental fest or provide the required amount of money to departments, this problem can be curbed. Besides, students will also have to get conscious of that departmental fests have their own place. They should bring out the essence of the subject and not just become all mini college festivals.”

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