The Campus of South Ural State University is preparing for the new academic year. In nine student dormitories repairs are being performed in rooms, public places, roof, and overhaul is being performed for engineering networks, and pressure testing of the heating system. On September 1st the refurbished buildings will welcome freshmen and students who will be back from summer vacations, and the vivid “dorm” life will spring to life again. Director of the SUSU Campus Lyudmila Zadorina shares on good traditions and interesting novelties.
– Our Campus is the oldest in the Chelyabinsk Region, our university’s first dormitory is already more than sixty years old. We did polling, wishing to find out which system, corridors or blocks, is the most convenient! And, you know, opinions split almost in halves. Each systems has its pluses. In case of a corridors system, for instance, there are more intersections, more communication. The staff observes if everyone keeps their rooms tidy. We have everything for studying and keeping fit. A student council is functioning in every dormitory. And there is a general Campus Council. My phone is on 24/7. Working hours never stop. If there is any problem, we quickly solve it.
– What sporting events are held at the Campus?
– Of course, we pay much attention to sports. I myself used to be a handball player. I rebuke students who do not attend Physical Education (laughs). The dormitories feature shaping halls, and weight-lifting halls. We can say that our Campus is among the most sports-active campuses in Russia. Uralsky Sokol (Ural Falcon) Club was created at it, which is member of the Association of Sports Clubs of Russia. Meanwhile, we’re always in the leading positions. Using only our own resources, we hold competitions in 15 sports between the dormitories. Students enjoy participating in the competitions, and their supporters cheer for them very well. It’s a sports gusto! We even have a night league. For basketball and volleyball competitions we are provided halls from 09.00 p.m. till midnight.
Early in September the general Student Council will organize a “Ropes Course” to introduce freshmen to life in dormitories. We create teams of freshmen athletes. Each dormitory has its flag, each team has its chant, and we will be making new emblems. Everyone feels patriotic and proud of their beloved dormitories. It happens that group mates live in different dormitories - so it excites competition between fellow students.
– ...And obviously, not only on sports grounds? Please, tell us about mass cultural events.
– Every year Miss Campus and Mister Campus contests are held in the Activity Hall. These are always preceded by big preparation, castings. A beautiful girl not just participates in the competition…She represents her dormitory. Students all together prepare performances, and sometimes with a lot of people participating in mob scenes, and cheering from the audience. Girls sometimes get upset when they do not win the title. I must confess that I would have awarded the Miss Campus bands to all of them, but I only get to count scores at these contests. The members of the jury are invited from outside, and students look for sponsors on their own. It’s our tradition, once the contest is closed, we go to a night club (those aged above 18, of course), have fun and dance. By the way, the Campuses very own dance studio has been functioning for many years now.
We had (and hopefully will still have) a very good KVN team called Hostel. For many years we’ve been participating in various contests, and all Campus dwellers cheered for our team. When students graduate, the teams ceases to be, but then it forms again with new members.
Also, guitar music evenings are organized at the dormitories. It seems that all students would prefer Internet surfing, but they enjoy attending such evenings. They still need live communication. They also like watching movies together. Through social networks they agree on the movie and the time, and gather in the hall in front of an overhead projector. And they even hold discussions and disputes after that.
I’m always ready to listen to every student. I keep telling them “If you come up with some idea, even the most unexpected one – you’re more than welcome to come and share it”. If it has a zing to it, we will try to make your idea come to life.
– Are Campus rules strict?
– After 11.00 p.m. everyone has to keep quiet. Every two hours we make rounds. Rooms for studies are open 24/7. The main principle of our work is ensure safety of kids who live in our dormitories. We have CCTV cameras on each floor, and fire alarms everywhere, we hold briefings and make sure students are aware of the fire safety regulations. This year we’ve even compiled a guide on “How to Behave in the Kitchen”. That is, in essence, we offer students an algorithm to life.
– And how for international students adapt?
– Russian students are supportive of foreigners. Sometimes we offer students from different countries to live together with their fellow countrymen, but usually they ask to put them in rooms with Russian students, to learn new language quicker, and get a closer look at our country’s culture and daily routines. It feels like international students join a family. Students spend free time together and have much fun. And they learn the language quickly, they show good results already in just over one month.
For international students we had the fire safety regulations and house rules translated into English, Arabic, and Chinese, and soon there will be a version in French. By the way, students of the Institute of Architecture and Construction developed the design project of Dormitory No.3 for international students, which was approved by the Rector. The recreation zones and halls will undergo bright transformations.
Each dormitory has a Student Council, which promptly resolves all household issues and conflict situations, if any. The enthusiasts prepare introductory events for freshmen, and holiday shows. We have an interesting life and friendly atmosphere at the Campus. We even have our own flag, featuring nine planets. We have a big creative team of young people.
To our events we invite our university’s alumni. They are happy to come and participate in His Majesty Campus contest. “It feels like no time passed at all,” shares her impressions one of the graduates. “Any minute I may earn a praise or a rebuke from Lyudmila Nikolaevna, or she may send me off to go organizing something again...” I am indeed trumpet-tongued (laughs).
– I have a feeling that you are the one who’s also always in a hurry… You activity is indeed to be envied.
– That’s because students are always interesting! We’re all constantly in a hurry (laughs)! All the issues are solved promptly. I keep telling my elder colleagues: “We don’t have retirees here. Only people young at heart work here.” And we also usually follow up on the academic successes, kids have come to study here after all. We do a regular “data selection” for each dormitory after every end-of-semester examination: who of the students get only “A”s and “B”s, and who did not pass which exam. This information is passed to the heads of the dormitories, and we have individual cards for each student. When parents cone, they can see the whole picture of the academic excellence.
A dormitory teaches everyone how to be independent, and responsible, while we never leave anyone without support. “One Team, One Family” is the all-time slogan of our Campus…I can’t buy apartments for all students, but before graduates are awarded their diplomas I present the best of them with аn “I Love Campus” key charm for their future home keys. So that they remember our Campus, which has become their home, and their unforgettable years that they have spent in the dormitory.