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Amid pandemic, annual campus festivals go online

All News 08:00 September 05, 2020

SEOUL, Sept. 5 (Yonhap) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted what otherwise would have been a buzzy and exciting spring season, South Korea's universities are scrambling to find a way to resume some resemblance of normalcy in the fall semester by taking annual festivals online.

Most of the country's universities put off spring festivals, hoping that the virus slows down and they would be able to hold them in the fall.

As the plan is unlikely to be realized amid a second wave of coronavirus infections, schools have begun to look for alternatives to in-person events.

Students from Korea University and Yonsei University participate in an online event run by KT Corp., a major South Korean telecommunications firm, to beat the coronavirus blues on June 14, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Most notably, Yonsei University and its rival Korea University in Seoul will replace their sports competition with an online game event this year.

Last month, the two schools canceled the decadeslong annual tradition, originally scheduled for October, as virus infections showed no signs of easing. It marked the first cancellation due to a pandemic since it started in 1965.

These undated file photos show Korea University students (L) and Yonsei University students (R) during a sports competition held as part of their annual festival. (Yonhap)

Soongsil University has offered a series of online events to give comfort to students and "beat the coronavirus blues." Through the cultural and music sessions that went on live, students interacted with guest lecturers including Lee Nak-yon, leader of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), and singer-songwriter Zion.T.

"Campus festivals should change in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Oh Jong-un, president of the university's student body.

Kyunghee University is also planning a virtual event. "If we can hold an online fest successfully, we will be able to usher in a new trend of online festival culture," its student government said.

Ewha Womans University is set to air special festival clips on its YouTube channel and run a separate online flea market for students.

Other universities, which scrapped their in-person events and festivals for this year, are working to create interesting remote festivals that can boost a sense of community among students.

Seoul National University canceled its fall festival, scheduled to take place at the end of this month. Konkuk University already put off its spring festival indefinitely while Hanyang University also called off its fall event.

A professor prepares for online instruction at Dankook University in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, on Aug. 31, 2020. (Yonhap)
The campus of Korea University in Seoul is quiet in this undated file photo. (Yonhap)

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr
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