Come October and Mumbai colleges are all set with their college festivals. Hoardings advertising a certain fest, television commercials publicising a certain other one and social media brimming with a spate of posters, information, graphics about these festivals — this sight hasn’t been new for the city. In fact, these festivals become bigger and better every year with increased student participation, dedication and with all the brainstorming.

A place to let your creative horses unleash, these college festivals are not the yield of a week’s toil. In fact, preparations begin a quarter year before. Students bury out of books and gear up to mobilise others who’d willingly spare time to work for the festival. In many city colleges, a rigorous session of interviews is organised on the basis of which students good at organising and co-ordinating are selected to form the organising committee.

“The workforce for Vaayu is selected through one-on-one interview. The applicants register online and then are called for personal interviews,” says Saakshi Tody, the marketing head at Vaayu 2, the cultural festival of NMIMS (Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies).

The work usually begins with approaching sponsors. “We call up companies by way of tele-calling. The selection of the same is on the basis of upcoming sectors. We approach them based on the value they will be able to provide to us and the methods in which we can integrate their brand with our activities.” she explains.

Through Vaayu 2, the students of NMIMS College aim to bridge the gap between students and those in power. Therefore, the theme of this year is Youth-led Media and the festival will start from November 28 this year to bring together fun with purpose.

The theme

“The theme for a college festival is of utmost importance as it should be trending with the current scenario and students must be able to relate to it,” says Harshveer Jain, core group member, head of competitions of Mood Indigo, IIT Bombay’s cultural fest.

These days, everyone wants to be a part of city college festivals but creating awareness is a major hurdle. A team in the organising committee of every college festival deals with publicising the fest to a wider audience. Neha Kapoor, a co-ordinator of team PR in Kaleidoscope, Sophia College’s annual inter-collegiate festival, says “The difficulty lies in selling the brand. One has to carefully mould and devise a strategy to match with the media house we would want to associate with. That’s how we work it out.”

Talking about her experience as the Executive Committee member of Kaleidoscope 2012, Anupriya Khemka, another student of Sophia College, says “There is a lot that I get to learn from being a part of the organising committee. Other than executing and leading all the teams, I have also developed a lot of confidence. Two years have brought a tremendous change in how professionally I have learned to deal with people.”

Decision-making

That’s not all. Palash Kulkarni, another core-group member of Mood Indigo who handles PR, marketing and publicity, believes that working for the festival has helped him take decisions faster. “After all these months of organising, I have learnt to think rationally, keep emotions far aside and follow a logical flow of thought to reach to the correct decision.”

It is not only about the organisers who give a lot and take equally from the college festivals. Performers and artists who actively participate in these festivals get a better platform to showcase talent.

Richa Gidwani actively participates in most of the dance events held in various college festivals across the city. A junior diploma holder in Odissi dance form, Richa believes that college festivals have helped her explore new forms of dance like contemporary and Bollywood dances.

Similarly, Sakshi Parikh who aspires to become a professional photographer believes that these college festivals provide a platform and pose a challenge to explore new forms of photography.

The writer is a student of BMM-Journalism, Sophia College for Women, Mumbai.

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