“After enjoying a few snacks, let’s head over to the Viking ship!” “Yay! Wait, what?” Food, alcoholic beverages, and K-POP idol performances are aspects of typical university festivals. There are now flea markets, instant photo printers, mini train rides, Viking ship rides, and inflatable slides? Sounds like fun. This year, Sookmyungians worked together to add a little more fun to the annual Cheongpa Festival.
Most universities in South Korea hold school festivals during the spring semester. Sookmyung Women’s University’s festival is called ‘Cheongpa Festival’, and it is held at the end of May or early June. For the past three years, the Emergency Planning Committee was responsible for all festival planning and the main events were booths run by the school’s different departments, leadership groups, and clubs. Students sold various finger foods, light meals, and Sookmyung souvenirs. There were also performances by Sookmyungians and invited singers. The big difference this year was beer tents on campus. Before this year, the selling of alcoholic beverages on campus during festivals was allowed, which made it possible for university students all over the nation to drink on campus during festival periods. After the ban, many students worried that the school festivals would lose their attraction. However, Sookmyung Women’s University provided that would not be the case.
The 2018 Cheongpa Festival titled, ‘Live Picnic Life’, was the first Cheongpa Festival organized by the newly elected Student Council. RE:bound, the current Student Council at Sookmyung, was put in charge of organizing the first non-alcohol festival on campus. RE:bound put together replacement activities for the pubs that would have lined the walkways and roads on campus. There was a contest that collected concept ideas for the festival prior to planning, and the winner of the contest, who proposed the theme of an outdoor picnic, was invited to participate in the festival creation. In addition to the picnic concept, part of the campus was turned into a mini amusement park, bringing back childhood memories to Sookmyungians. Another major issue was whether to allow male visitors at the festival. A number of students signed petitions banning them from participating, so RE:bound established a ‘Girls Only Zone’. The modifications to the festival this year successfully transformed the Cheongpa Festival into a festival truly for Sookmyungians.
We Need Change
Although alcohol can add fun to a festival by lightening the mood, it can also bring about negative aspects. One major concern for Sookmyung Women’s University was male visitors. As mentioned earlier, there was a petition that called for the banning of male visitors from participating in the festival. Reasons behind the petition were concerns about possible crimes such as the installation of hidden cameras in bathrooms or pubs and sexual harassment. Although not all male visitors attend with ill-intent, it is not easy to separate the two types of visitors, and there is always fear of the worst happening. In particular, at previous festivals, men in suits wearing employee cards around their necks were commonly seen at the pubs ran by students, which only increased the negative view of them by students. Moreover, students felt their freedom to feel comfortable in their attire was being restricted because there was always the chance of falling victims to a crime. At one time, there were talks of enforcing a strict dress code at the festival to avoid possible crimes, but this was deemed an infringement of students’ freedom and an unreasonable solution to the problem.
Another concern was that the Cheongpa Festival would lack character and uniqueness. In the past, nothing differentiated Sookmyung Women’s University’s festival from the festivals at other universities. Sookmyung had to work hard to keep up with larger universities that host big events such as Yonsei University and Korea University, namely the Akaraka and Ipsilenti. However, many people know that just because one’s university is small, it does not mean it will not host a fun festival. Still, there was nothing happening at the Cheongpa Festival that made it different from other festivals. There were not many unique booths or activities that involved the direct participation of students. In other words, not all Sookmyungians were interested in or could fully enjoy the festival. Rather than focusing on the absence of beer tents, there was a need to look for something more that would make the festival better. Reflecting on the problems, Sookmyungians and RE:bound worked together diligently for change and solutions.
Make It Our Own
The 2018 Cheongpa Festival went off without a hitch, and it was well received by Sookmyungians. The biggest difference compared to previous years was the absence of beer tents on campus grounds. In the past, the festival hosted various pubs by departments and clubs at school, and they were vital parts of the university festival; however, the Ministry of Education announced that universities were to observe the law banning the sale of alcoholic beverages on campuses. Hence, Sookmyung Women’s University abolished the opening of beer tents in accordance with students’ opinions. According to a survey by The Sookmyung Times regarding satisfaction with the 2018 Cheongpa Festival, a respondent said the festival was just as exciting as the previous years’ festivals. Indeed, the new approach by the Student Council and the outdoor picnic concept for the 2018 Cheongpa Festival were big hits with students. In particular, the mini Viking ship and the huge air tube slide erected in the parking lot in front of the Student Union Building and the mini train that took students around Campus I were so popular that students willingly queued up to ride them. During the festival, the Amphitheater became a picnic zone only for women, the small hill up to Myungshin Building was crowded with Sookmyungians looking at the diverse items for sale such as accessories, stickers, and postcards, all handmade by students. One of the more popular booths was the photo zone event booth where students could print pictures instantly. It was located at the crossroads of Queen Sunheon Building. The photos will allow Sookmyungians to treasure the day for a long time.
This year’s Cheongpa Festival was better than festivals of the past for various reasons. Essentially, the Student Council managed most of festival activities, which had a positive effect on students’ participation and opinion of the Cheongpa Festival. According to the survey, the main dissatisfaction with previous Cheongpa Festivals was that there were more outsiders than Sookmyungians participating, so students didn’t really sense the festival was for them. However, the 2018 Cheongpa Festival gathered Sookmyungians together, and students claimed it was more lively and cheerful than those of the past due to the 2018’s unique attractions. While overall satisfaction with the 2018 Cheongpa Festival was high, there were some drawbacks. According to the survey, respondents would like to see changes in the way booths operated. Departments and clubs sold novel items along the hill that leads to Myungshin Building, but most of the booths sold similar food items, stationery, and accessories like earings, bracelets, and rings. The street in front of Queen Sunheon Building was transformed into a flea market, and all of the vendors there were invited sellers. The booths for these vendors were systematically organized and numerous than those operated by Sookmyungians. Also, respondents said they would like there to be a more equal distribution of booths between invited vendors and Sookmyungians at future festivals. They also wished the operating times to be extended to accommodate students who had morning classes. The survey also found that respondents hoped future festivals include more events, booth diversity, festival content, and top-class pop stars. The most important hope was that the Cheongpa Festival be a festival for all Sookmyungians. Therefore, to meet the wants of Sookmyungians for the next Cheongpa Festival, the institute that will oversee the festival should reflect on and take into account what the students want by collecting and examining data from satisfaction surveys, which will bring about another successful festival.
Made by Sookmyungian
In short, the 2018 Cheongpa Festival made all Sookmyungians look forward to next year’s festival. Especially, this year’s festival, led by the Student Council, saw more active student participation and higher satisfaction from Sookmyungians than those of previous years. The festival was a success because of the careful management and effort of the Student Council, but like all things, it could be improved by considering Sookmyungians ideas on booth and program diversity. Thus, it is vital to listen to students’ voice when planning begins for the 2019 Cheongpa Festival. Upcoming Cheongpa Festivals should also be festivals of Sookmyungians, by Sookmyungians, and for Sookmyungians.
Kim Hong Taeeun / Society Section Editor
Kim Shin Hyerin / Reporter