With Chuseok, or the Full-Moon Festival, already past, fall, the season of “high sky and fat horses,” is at its midpoint. This means that the time for fall festivals at universities has come. The main purpose of having university festivals is to encourage friendship among colleagues in an atmosphere full of youth, passion, romance, and joy. However, this culture of friendship has been changing into culture of consumption.
Commercialization in university festivals is directly related with the culture of consumption and causes most of the problems. One program that cannot be missed in festivals is many departments opening up the pub with various themes. This then often results in indiscreet drinking culture and suggestive touting or posters in order to gather a lot of customers to make money. Recently, there was a controversial incident at ‘H’ university festival pub which had a theme of crime prevention. One of the main set menus was named after the diabolical murderer, Oh Won-chun. After this was embroiled in a controversy, the person concerned issued a formal apology and the university cancelled the festival immediately. It is clear that this case was the result of students using provocative phrases and advertisements in order to make as much money as possible.
Spending a huge amount of money on having popular singers on stage at festivals is indeed a very much problematic issue. According to the statistics, more than 50 percent of the operating expenses of university festivals are spent on inviting celebrities to come and give performances. This is due to the competition among universities to attract more visitors or to obtain advertising effect. Maybe the universities are just following the trend itself. It is true that having singers’ performances to encourage students’ active participation can be effective at some extent; however, people sometimes forget the essence of the festival and focus too much on watching the show to see the celebrity desperately and making profits. This is the reason why numerous universities nowadays are competing over inviting famous celebrities despite the money they have to put in to do so. There was even a national university that spent over 100 million Won to invite famous singers.
What could possibly be the starting point of these issues? The corporatization of the universities caused the commercialization of university festivals. Ever since the corporatization of the university has taken its place, universities are longing to have bigger and more glamorous campus buildings to attract sponsors and they raise the tuition fee for the new construction. This then gives a tremendous impact on students due to the reduction of student welfare. Not only students but also the workers are the victims of such trend. What more is there for students who see this vicious circle of commercialization in university can do? They imitate. They follow out the system of profitability seeking. It is hard to admit but a very unfortunate reality.
In order to solve or alleviate the problems of these bitter issues at university festivals, having ownership mind is essential. It would be a good idea to have student pre-survey about the festival programs so that the students can be the key role in advancing the festivals, not the popular singers. Moreover, a mature sense of citizenship will better help students to fully enjoy festivals and find the sincere spirit of youth.
Park Bu-yeon email@example.com
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