College cultural festivals provide students a break from their monotonous routines and offer them opportunities to showcase their talents, attend workshops and activities but most importantly, they give them the much-needed chance to interact with fellow students and make memories. The faculty as well as students work together to make the fest a successful event, right from its inception to execution.
Most college cultural festivals were started because of the persistence of students who convinced their faculty to let them arrange a festival where all the students of the college could participate. A few years down the line, these small festivals became the talk of the town.
Today, college festivals are not limited to students but also see the presence of celebrities from glamorous fields like films, fashion and food, who perform and leave their impact on the students.
Adya Sharma, director, Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies (SCMS), says, “More than 500 students of SCMS help bring Sympulse to life.” She mentions that right from the beginning stages of research and brainstorming to the final five days of the festival, students look after everything, making the festival bigger and better each year. And she proudly adds that the professors are a driving force behind Sympulse’s success.
Cultural festivals held across the city colleges are actually of similar kind. Nandini Iyer, faculty advisor, Impressions and cultural committee, College of Engineering Pune (COEP), says that Impressions was a concept that the students themselves came up with and executed. “Cultural festivals have a great impact on the overall skill development of the students because they get first-hand experience of dealing with different situations,” she says. Such festivals give students a chance to develop their leadership qualities, manage finance and tackle problematic situations smoothly. Even though the core responsibility of organising the festival is given to the students, they are monitored by the faculty who guide them from time to time.
Today, we find colleges making use of social media to reach out to people before, during and after festivals. “Social media puts the college festival in light and makes it easier to reach out to a huge number of people, both young and old,” says Iyer.
There is a lot of hard work that goes into making a cultural festival successful. There are long hours of practising, getting things done but one always enjoys the overall experience. Apurva Dabhade, a member of the organising committee of Melange, the cultural festival of Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT), Pune, says, “The preparations for the fest start much in advance and I feel it’s not the exertion that happens during the preparation and execution, but a feeling of amazing team spirit and satisfaction, that stays with us.”
Siddhant Mehta, executive committee member, Sympulse, says, “The mix of different cultures in the committee is reflected in the events which are a part of the festival.” He believes that the committee brings in diversity and innovation to the festival which greatly helps in its sustainability. He proudly mentions that the entire fest has an organising committee of more than 500 members and participation of around 3,500 students from both India and abroad.
Juilee Katapal, who has been attending Melange at VIT, says that festivals are the best part about anyone’s college life. She believes, the energy and enthusiasm in the atmosphere contributes to the fun just as much as the art pieces that are put up. Talking about the themes that are picked out every year for Melange, she says, “The themes cater to everyone’s interests, be it technical, sports or even social, which makes it clear that the fest takes care of your personality development as well, apart from nourishing the techie in you.”
Tanaya Kakade from VIT says, “Participating in the competitions held in my college as also in other colleges, has given a lot of exposure to us.” She believes it helps the participants to get better and learn a few tricks from here and there.
Hashmat Akbari, a student from Afghanistan, currently in the first year, MBA, Neville Wadia Institute of Management Studies and Research, says, “I have been studying in Pune for a long time now and I have realised that the college cultural festivals are very vibrant. They showcase a country’s culture and students’ talent. There is something for everyone who attends these festivals, be it dance, music or even writing for that matter. There is a lot of diversity on display. I really like how traditions are upheld which really connects all the local students and gives an insight for the students hailing from other countries. I tremendously enjoy being a part of these fun and social activities and it is the only time the entire student body comes together to celebrate and socialise and make several memories. I always look forward to attending the cultural festivals.”
For Anne Passera, York University, Canada, attending a cultural college festival in India is amazing because it is a celebration of traditions as well as one’s cultural roots. She says, “You can see everyone genuinely having a great time at such fests.”
She mentions that there is always a lot of food, music and dancing happening at fests and the fellow students are extremely generous. Talking about the college festivals that take place in her country, she says, “The only cultural event that is celebrated on a very large scale is Canada Day.” She loves how everyone takes an equal initiative to participate in college fests here.
So, college cultural festivals are the best part of student life when they get to step out of the four walls of classroom and explore and showcase their talents be it leadership, management, crowd controlling or even performing.