On October 6th 2020, the 33rd General Student Council ‘Dawon’ launched Sungshin’s first online festival, ‘Dragon Valley: Crystals and the Search for Happiness.’ Tiding over the pandemic, Dawon managed to materialize the school festival by leveraging several internet platforms such as Zoom and YouTube. Not only was it carried out just as successfully as it did every year, the event presented a unique experience that we might never gain again. In 242nd edition, the Sungshin Mirror would like to cover 2020 school festival by reliving a variety of events that played out.
In the onset, the online festival took advantages of the internet to lower the barrier for students who have impaired vision or hearing. A stenography service was rendered through apps including Share Typing and Google Docs, which translated sounds into written subtitles. Alternative text service was also available in every content the student council published for activities. This service benefitted students by converting image contents into texts which could be automatically read aloud by a screen reader.
Although social distancing created a huge barrier for friendly communication, the festival overcame this physical limitation by hosting three days of the most dynamic online fair. Even by adding English instructions to event descriptions, the festival was acclaimed as a human rights friendly and barrier-free occasion.
Scheduled from the 6th of October to 8th, arrangements for the festival were fully packed with tons of lively programs.
One of them was the online flea market, which was opened for students to take part in as both sellers and buyers. All of the assorted products were handmade and sold by students themselves. With a total of 36 groups participating as vendors, a diversity of goods varied from stationery to pajamas. Everything was easily and indirectly exchanged through the internet, thanks to the student council offering their official Naver blog for a marketplace.
Moreover, two famed artists visited Sungshin for the festival. Rapper Lee Young Ji and singer HA:TFELT each honored the first and the last night. Students were captivated by their mesmerizing performances, and their enthusiasm was delivered beyond the screen. The celebrities diligently communicated with students by calling them by their nickname ‘Soojung.’ Both singers’ concerts definitely lifted up the atmosphere of festivity even higher.
Nonetheless, it goes without saying that the peak of the show was the revelation of a series of Sungshin’s original web drama ‘Everywhere and Nowhere, There We Are.’ All three episodes were sequentially uploaded on Dawon’s YouTube channel. Its realistic love story between two Soojungs played by excellent actors attracted fans even from outside Sungshin, and the comment sections teemed with favorable reactions from viewers.
Positive Responses From Students
The afterglow of myriad shows and programs lingered even after the curtain fell. Two Sungshin students generously granted their firsthand experiences of the online festival.
Joo Si Yeon, (the Department of Psychology, Class of 19) stated that, “unlike unfounded concerns and expectations about an online festival, the whole thing turned out incredibly. I was able to enjoy even more events since it was possible to participate through convenient and accessible internet platforms.” She added “I was gratified by the amazing quality of live concerts. It felt like I was watching an actual TV program.” Also, Kwon Min Ji, (the Department of History, Class of 16) a graduate student to join this festival, shared her thoughts saying, “My favorite part of the festival was the web drama. Inviting guest musicians for the first and last day was also an excellent choice.”
Being held during this isolating time, Dragon Valley: Crystals and the Search for Happiness offered an unforgettable experience. It will be remembered as one of very few successful school festivals that were powerful enough to conquer the fear of COVID-19.
By Cho Yoonji Cub Reporter (firstname.lastname@example.org)