Every year after the midterm examinations, Korea University (KU) holds one of its biggest events of the year, Ipselenti-Jiya Hamsung (Ipselenti). KU students put their hearts together to sing, to dance, and to roar a cheering song. The primary goal of this festival is to unite students of different backgrounds, beliefs, and dreams using the pride in the name of our university. However, Ipselenti involves a huge number of people, which in turn gives rise to many problems during the preparation.
In KU, Ipselenti is directed mainly by the KU Cheerleaders. Various clubs and colleges also set up drinking spots and perform on their own stages across the campus. In this process, all kinds of problems can occur. In fact, every year after the festival, a series of reviews are written officially and unofficially in official statements, wall posters, posts, and comments on the KU Bamboo Forest Facebook page.
Of the many issues, the line-up of the musicians who will perform on the main stage captures the most attention. Performances are regarded as the crown jewel of the festival, but there have been questions whether inviting idol singers is worth the cost. For example, in 2017, fans who came to the festival to see the singers were not willing to participate in other activities such as KU cheerleading, and eventually spoiled the mood for other KU students. “It is a festival for KU students, not a concert. There should be restrictions on outsiders to make sure KU students are able to enjoy what is theirs,” commented Kim Min-kyung (’15, Media and Communications).
This is the reason the line-up is kept confidential, so that fans of certain singers will not occupy the stadium. However, it is usually an open secret, and fans cannot be stopped from coming. Even without an official announcement, rumors that a certain singer is coming encourages their fans to buy a ticket; these fans will just throw the ticket away if it turns out the rumor is false. For example, in 2016, a rumor spread that BigBang was coming to Ipselenti and the fans rushed for tickets. When the rumor was revealed to be false, a great number of tickets were thrown in the trash, leaving so many other students bereft of the opportunity to enjoy the festival.
Still, it is difficult for the organizers to give this up because the musicians are the most anticipated part of the festival. “After all, it is a rare opportunity to see those popular musicians,” said Yun Sun-woo (’18, Interdisciplinary Studies). There is a certain allure that school club bands just cannot replace, and KU’s Ipselenti is often compared amongst the students with Yonsei University (YU)’s AKARAKA in terms of visiting stars. The students still wish for a more prestigious line-up.
The problem of uninvited guests is related to the ticket sale issue. In 2017, the main complaint from the students was that the stadium was just not large enough. KU students were not the only one present; young middle and high school students, fans, and those living around Anam also attended, and the total number of visitors was beyond what the stadium could handle.
Later, it turned out that the problem occurred because too many tickets were sold by the KU Cheerleaders. While YU strictly limits the number of tickets due to its lack of space in the stadium, KU has a huge sports area—Green Field— which can hold more people. It is enjoyable to have a lot of people together during the festival, but the large crowd size often results in accidents.
In this sense, safety issues are of the greatest concern. In fact, in 2017, the overwhelming number of attendees resulted in a chaos. Crowd control was insufficient for those waiting in the main and reentry lines, and there was so much pushing and pulling within the stadium that many students complained.
NEW PROJECTS FOR 2018
In midst of chaos where people are all mingled up, the disabled students face difficulties in enjoying the festival. Since 2014, Korea University Disabled Association (KUDA) has been conducting the “Barrier-Free” campaign to prevent disabled students from being excluded from Ipselenti. Their physical disabilities often make it difficult for them to pass through a crowded stadium or conduct fierce cheerleading movements. Moreover, the discriminative attitudes they face often cause disabled students to give up coming to the festival in the first place.
From 2018, this campaign, which has long been focusing on preparing appropriate spaces for physically disabled students, is widening its target to festival content. By collaborating with the Korea University Students Union, KU Cheerleaders, and KU’s broadcasting networks, KUDA will provide subtitles for cheerleading song lyrics and the commentary by presenters on the stage. “When the campaign first started, not many people were even aware of the term “Barrier-Free.” Now, although there still needs some improvements, the students, various clubs, colleges, and school administration are offering great support,” said Choi Hyun-ho, the president of KUDA.
Just as rights are followed by responsibility, happiness can be guaranteed with effort. Ipselenti is surely the pride of KU students in the sense that all students, regardless of their background, can unite as part of KU. However, because it is the center of attention, being loved by many people, the festival holds great significance and responsibility. A university festival is not only about enjoyment, but also about unity. In this process, no individual group should be isolated, and more discussions should be made on making Ipselenti a festival for all. With great expectations and a few concerns, the success of Ipselenti lies in the hands of us, the KU students.
▲ Photos from the 2017 Ipsilenti-Jiya Hamsung. Photographed by GT Photo Division.