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As the cash flow from bigger brands drying up, DU colleges are cutting costs and finding other ways to fund their fest fun

Not all has been has been merry in the world of Delhi University's college fests.  Getting big brands to give you money for two 2 three days of extravagance at college, while preparing to compete with the student unions of other colleges for higher footfall, fancier celebrity performers and better security, has never been easy.  Student organizers say that over the last couple of years, fishing for sponsors has become harder.  The usual brands had found alternate spaces like reality television and cricket tournaments to launch their products and were offering sponsorship only in kind last year, forcing student unions to manage with smaller fest budgets last season.  This season, organizers say that even though the market situation is only slightly better than last year's, they are much better prepared to make the most of it as they have found alternative ways of getting enough money to organize grand fest.

     Ashutosh,  vice president of SRCC's students' union, says, "Crossroads is pretty well known to the sponsors, so even when the market situation is not conducive, the brand value of the college fest simplifies things a bit.  Plus this year, we are talking to e-commerce start-ups and other newer brands for sponsorship.  The more established firms might be slightly hesitant, but start-ups are still pretty interested in launching their products in colleges, and that to us, means good money."

NETAS are coming in support & for strategic partnership

KMC president, says, "As a student neta, you get some chances to build relationships with MPs.  If you act wisely, that contact building can help you a lot.  Although the fest was grand even last year, the fund-raising was very hard.  For this season, we had been building contacts with bigger politicians.  And that has helped us lure the sponsors.  Last year we had to manage with Rs.22-23lakh, but this year, the amount will go up to at least Rs.40-50lakh, Moreover, we have partnered strategically this year.

selecting a typical celebrities

Last year, almost every college was going for the same set of celebrities.  Everybody wants Mika, Honey Singh, Sonu Nigam & Arijit Singh to perform.  So, this year, our list has a totally different, atypical set of celebrities.  Ek celebrity ko bulaane mein hi Rs.20-30lakh lag jaate hain.

"The big names have been iffy about investing in fests in the last few seasons.  They prefer to invest in cricket tournaments now.  But instead of getting rejected by a brand your college always partners with, if you approach a rival brand, chances of you getting cash are higher.  Plus, as unions, we have become a little less picky and are open to smaller sponsors too." says Poonam kasana, the president of Miranda House's union.

Surhi Bansal, JMC president, says, "We don't even get college fund for fests, so sponsors are all we have.  With that support crashing, last year was hard.  But this year, we have decided to make up for at least part of the funding trouble with more stalls- goods,food as well as promotional - at higher prices.  Sponsors have to pay the college truckloads of money, but the investment of those who set up stalls is smaller.  We usaually have some 40-45 stalls, but this year, we will exploit the ground's capacity and have 60.  We will also be more accommodating of the bigger sponsors' demands. Last year, we had to bring down the budget to Rs.6-7lakh, but this year, it will easily be Rs.20-25lakh."


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