What Are the Problems of the Spring Festival and What Do Students Really Want?
What Are the Problems of the Spring Festival and What Do Students Really Want?
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  • 승인 2013.05.14 20:50
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Festival season is upon us. Many departments and clubs are busy organizing their pubs and finding people to work their tents. The General Student’s Association is in charge of festival activities. They commit money into booking top singers for the festival. However, students who look forward to the festival often have an empty feeling. That’s because there are too many pubs, and the performances of the top singers end after a few minutes. Therefore, The Observer looked into the problems of the Daedong Festival, listened to the students’ opinions and interviewed YU alumni from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.

YU Daedong Festival
The Daedong Festival is one of the biggest campus events. It represents YU and takes place over 3 days in the 3rd week of May. The YU festival began as part of the Chunma Celebration in the 70’s, the Chunma Festival in the 80’s and the Chunma Daedong Festival now. Daedong largely involves socializing. During the festival, each department and various clubs mainly organize pub tents. There are also performances by students, singers, E-sports game competitions, the Chunma song competition, health running, and other activities. Although the Daedong Festival has a long history and organizes various activities, there are many problems which need to be addressed.

Problems of the Daedong Festival
One of the biggest problems with the Daedong Festival is that there are too many pub tents. Each department or club does not let their members accentuate their unique characteristics, and all the tents are just cookie cutter images of each other. Students feel obligated to open a pub tent during the festival. In addition, some students are required to work in the tent and student fees are used to run it. The tent locations are also a problem because some departments and clubs are assigned to areas where there are many trees and sidewalks. Each department keeps the profits from their respective tents. However, we do not know where the money from the pubs will be used. For example, the Biotechnology department was suspected of embezzling the profits made from the 2012 Daedong Festival. There are many students in the Biotechnology department, but their profits were noticeably lower than other departments. Although they paid 10,000,000 won for food and drink overhead, the profits were reported as only 400,000 won. The fact that there is no accounting balance sheet compounds the problem. There are also problems in event planning and participation. Fifty percent of the festival budget is used for booking top singers. However, students do not know how much is actually spent. Singers come in for the finale of the Chunma song competition. Too many people from the general public come to see the top singers, so YU students cannot enjoy the Chunma song competition due to overcrowding. Moreover, the stage is set up at the front of the main gate. This causes traffic jams. Another problem is the danger created by the festival. On the day of the festival, there are more fights among students than at any other time. These incidents occur even though the General Student’s Association and YU security guards actively patrol the campus to maintain security. The campus is too large to cover effectively even though they work extra hours. Women are generally in more danger than men. In a frightening development, gangsters from Gyeongsan came and fought with students during the 2012 festival.There is also the issue that the campus gets trashed during the festival. Students dump food waste in toilets or just on the campus grounds. There is a shortage of cleaning staff. Toilets are a big problem as well. The main stage is near the amphitheater. Thus, many students use the toilets in the amphitheater. However, there are not enough toilets and they become very dirty.

Finally, traffic becomes nearly impossible. Heavy traffic can be found at all campus entrances on the day of the festival. This means that school buses cannot circulate well. Although the festival lasts until dawn, school bus times are not extended. Furthermore, many people from the general public use the YU school bus, so YU students are not able to use them.We interviewed a representative of the General Student’s Association and heard student opinions regarding the problems we listed above.

Interview with
Seung Hyun Yeo,
Senior, member of the General Student’s Association
Q) What is the actual cost of the festival?
A) We use money from the YU budget and student fees. Additionally, many companies and businesses near YU donate money. Some people think that too much money is used for booking top singers. However, if we consider all the students at YU, we have to spend that kind of money. That’s because the more popular singers that come to the festival, the more students feel excited.
Q) How do you choose the singers?
A) Each festival has a concept. The last festival’s concept was youth and club parties. We consider the concept and then choose singers. Last year, 2NE1 was selected. They made the atmosphere more exciting like a club party. Even though the performances end in a few minutes, students can enjoy them together even if it is just for that moment.
Q) What is the most commonly cited problem?
A) The most serious problem is hygiene. Due to the pub tents, hygiene problems are serious and we hire extra cleaning staff during the days of the Daedong Festival. It is still beyond our capacity. We don’t expect students to use toilets like kitchens, we just hope they will be more conscientious about cleaning.
Q) Are there any new events planned for this year?
A) There are many foreign students on campus. Many people have the opinion that the festival ignores foreign students. I want to make special areas or events that focus on foreign students.

Student interview
Nam-Eun Kim, Junior, Philosophy,
Mi-Ri Baek, Sophomore, Economics
Q) In your opinion, what is the biggest problem with the festival?
Kim A) The biggest problem is that the Daedong Festival seems like a big drinking party. Therefore, people only stay within their group of friends. This causes many students to feel left out.Baek A) I think that the biggest problem is the traffic. I want to enjoy the festival more, but I have to leave early. The shuttle bus schedule is not extended during the festival. Secondly, attendance at the pub tents is mandatory for students, but many professors don’t accept that as an excuse for being absent. I feel bad that I have to work so hard for my department’s pub, but my grades are negatively impacted because of that.
Q) Do you oppose spending a lot of money to book famous singers?
Kim A) Although it is a problem, it’s good for boosting up spirit. However, students can even get hurt while trying to find a good spot to watch the performances. They usually end after a few minutes. It is a waste of money. I hope really fun singers are booked to perform, instead of top singers.
Baek A) I hope the General Student’s Association handles the situation well and listens to students’ opinions.

The Observer met with 3 YU alums to hear about what the festival was like during their time at YU, and discussed the current festival’s problems.

Interview with alums
In the 70’s
Tae-Woo Kim, YU the ninth president General Student’s Association
He entered into the YU business department in the 1970’s. He was the ninth president General Student’s Association as well.
“The general atmosphere and the environment of the 70’s were poor. In spite of this situation, we still had a festival and top singers came, too. The atmosphere was exciting, but it was also very restrained. The biggest difference between the 70’s and now is that when I was a student we did not have pubs on campus. If we wanted to drink, we went off campus. I went to the pub with only 500 won. Even though I didn’t have much money I was able to eat a lot of food and drink. There was social dancing, too. That memory was special. This event was popular. Many departments held symposiums as well. Finally, during my school days, the Yushin movement was active. At that time, YU became a base of the movement. Students weren’t able to express their true opinions at that time. The reason is that professors participated in the festival too. In those days, students had strong respect for professors. If we expressed our thoughts, it was considered rude.”“However it has changed a lot now. In order to make a better festival, I think students shouldn’t try to gain profit through the events. If the festival is related with money, the festival goes bad. I hope students make their own festival culture for the 21st century.”

In the 80’s
Seung-Heui Park
Professor Korean language & literature at YU
He entered YU’s department of Korean language & literature in 1986.
“From the late 70’s to the early 80’s the university was based on social justice, equality and freedom. Therefore, the Daedong Festival became special in that culture. In the 80’s, there were a lot of pubs as well, but it was not event oriented. We expressed ourselves through our bodies. For example, students put on plays and ‘Madang’ plays. This helped us to express our opinions. It truly became a place of culture.”“One difference between the 80’s and now is that now more top singers and events are organized. The present festival is centered on the outside, but the 80’s festivals were oriented on the students. There were active communities in each department. There was a Pungmul band called ‘Min Wha’ in our department. Although pungmul bands are unpopular now, at that time, they were needed. Students had strong thoughts about preserving traditions.”“In order to improve the festival, it must be oriented around the students not top singers or events. The present festival must allow students to have fun together and be a place for communication.”

In the 90’s
Joo-Yeol Baek
An Observer reporter in 1992

He entered into the YU business department in 1992. “One special thing I remember is we had a tug of war. Having a tug of war with a thousand people made the spirit of unity stronger. After that we did things we couldn’t do in class: for example, mock trial.We discussed political problems on the stage. We also examined mock politicians. Everything was put together by students. It was very fun and satirical.”

Top singers and pubs are needed at the festival. However, you must ask yourself if you are satisfied with the fact that the festival does not seem to be for students, and that good memories are often stained by excessive alcohol. There are many positive aspects of the festival, but more performances and events should center on the students. Change is hard. To make the festival better, we must make our own culture. If you try to change the culture, it will not seem impossible.

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