Cultural festivals at Delhi University (DU) are something which every student looks forward to. Endless music and dancing, impressive cash prizes, big celebrity names––DU fests are usually the works. However, this year conceptualising the fests has become a monumental task, owing to the demonetisation-induced cash crunch.
“Usually, by now we would have at least 30% of our work sorted but this year we aren’t anywhere close to arranging sponsors for out fest,” says Sachin Saipawar, Student Union president, Kirori Mal College. “In fact,our regular sponsors haven’t even responded to our requests yet.”
Another problem is locking in smaller vendors, as all transactions happen in cash––as Arshad Muhammad, treasurer, student union, St Stephen’s College points out. “The situation is so bad that this year, getting our college sweatshirts got delayed by three weeks as people didn’t have enough money to pay their staff,” he adds.
We had hoped to raise at least 25% of 1.5 crore we are aiming for by now. The situation has become so worrisome that even the teachers are sympathising with us. - Bharatendu Verma, SRCC
Generally, the budget of these fests go up every year, but this the students’ union and volunteers are finding it tough to meet even half the expected budget. Bharatendu Verma, president, students’ union, Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), says, “A lot of team members have gone into the field to pitch to restaurants and other businesses but there has been no conversions. We had hoped to raise at least 25% of 1.5 crore we are aiming for by now. The situation has become so worrisome that even the teachers are sympathising with us.”
As of now, getting banks to sponsor our events also appears impossible as they’re busy changing notes. - Hindu College, student union member
As most college unions are grappling with the situation, some are trying to think of ways to nail a big sponsorship. “Since most colleges are facing similar issues, we’re looking for smarter ways to modify our pitch so that the proposal appeals to our sponsors and our conversion rates go up,” says a Hindu College student union member. “As of now, getting banks to sponsor our events also appears impossible as they’re busy changing notes.”
In fact, the prize money budget has also been slashed drastically. “Generally, getting a celebrity is the big attraction. And a fest is considered as big only as the celebrities you get. So, we will have to slash the prize money,” says Neha, SRCC.
However, this idea hasn’t gone down well with many.. “We are organising a cultural fest. If the prize money of cultural competition is slashed for a celebrity who will only attract unruly crowds, why even organise a fest,” rues Rahul, a dram soc member.