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The Financial Express

From online to on-campus events

| Updated: March 04, 2022 22:51:04


From online to on-campus events

The year 2020 had been filled with uncertainties, surprises and an unexpected set of events. The world had been forced to shut down amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, the economy started deteriorating and furthermore people started working from home. Amidst all these the biggest drawback had been the uncertain shutdown of the educational institutions. The board exams from HSC, SSC to O and A levels had been cancelled and candidates were judged based on their predicted grades. Slowly but steadily students started online classes from home. They seemed to have gotten back to studies through this method but they certainly did not get the same feeling of on-campus classes. If we talk about universities, for example, most private universities started online classes a few months after the lockdown. But when universities remain open they are filled with events and activities, both extra-curricular and co-curricular. The events are usually organised by clubs and departments; and the members can be seen running around campus, lifting up banners, organising roadshows, bringing lucrative sponsors and using the notice board to promote their events. Furthermore, the events, are as diverse as it can get as they range from cultural programme, sports tournaments to even business competitions. But all these activities which seemed to make the students pro-active seemed to have taken an alternative route with the start of the pandemic.
Online events seemed to be a perfect alternative when it comes to transitioning into the new normal. It would help keep the students as well as the clubs pro-active during the uncertain time of the pandemic. But the biggest problem which most clubs would face is to get sponsors, as most companies themselves were facing a crisis due to lack of sales throughout the pandemic. Abid Hossain, the former President of NSU YEF, says, "Sponsorship and attracting lucrative partners would be a huge challenge in terms of organising an event online. But the key is to look for sponsors through which the student organisations will be able to get mutual benefits." The faculty advisor of MIBC Mahtab Muntazeri on the other hand has a separate set of belief. Sir says, "Rather than aiming for the usual sponsors we should rather focus on companies that have actually made more profit throughout this pandemic." Both the clubs have gone on to arrange two of the most successful business competitions in the form of Masters of Ideation and Marxcellence. Another important aspect of holding online competitions or events is the promotion factor. The usual or traditional promotional methods would include roadshows on different campus, banners, on-campus booths and much more tools which can not be used. Rather the shift has been towards the digital marketing front. The only tools which can be used to promote an event are the social media handles. The former General Secretary Chowdhury Wafee Dariat of Young Economist Forum (YEF), says, "Resorting to social media and using it as a key marketing tool, would be the perfect way to adapt to new normal and reach out to probable participants, this would not only benefit the student clubs but also the sponsored companies as well." YEF through the pandemic has been able to arrange three successful events -- Casecade, Econ-fest and Hult Prize -- at North South University by efficiently using the social media tools to reach out to its participants. The transition has not been easy in terms of conducting competitions, now the focus has shifted from class room sanity to zoom meetings, google meets and streamyard. Maintaining them and making sure there is back-up, if there is a power shortage or an internet connectivity issue can be a real challenge. The former President of North South University Debating Club says, "It has been a real challenge to maintain teams on different online platforms while conducting the tournament but it has also helped connect with international students which would not have been possible without the pandemic". NSUDC organised the country's first international online debate tournament, NSU Eranos. Overall the challenges were there but the students seemed to have adapted very much well to the online transition.
Mental health has been a growing concern throughout this quarantine as well. One of the biggest reasons is that students and people in general had to isolate themselves throughout this pandemic. But due to the online competitions and events, the students were able to stay proactive and efficient throughout the time. The faculty adviser of the North South University Debate Club says, "An idle mind is mostly a devil's workshop so it is very important to remain proactive and positive through out the pandemic; and the best way to do it is by enhancing one's skills and learning new ones ". Overall it can be said that even though there have been challenges, the adaptability to the online platform has been a successful one.

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