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Primus inter pares

The Sechenov First MSMU hostels are about to become the best

Sometimes they say: those, who haven’t ever lived in the dormitory, have not been the genuine students at all. It is the environment, where yesterday's school people are becoming true adults, let along useful routine skills, group dynamics, prioritization of activities, making lifelong friends or fleeting romances…
The contemporary students are fairly exacting in terms of living conditions, they need a lot of things at hand that 15 years ago were absolutely unconceivable: wireless wide-band internet access, hi-tech gym, sheltered bike parking… However, all this has become available thanks to efficient interaction between the university management and the Board of Student Dorms led for three last years by 5-year student Yaroslav Zagorodnov, who has already lived in the Malaya Pirogovka hostel for five years.
Yaroslav outlines:
Today, there are four hostels within the University campus. Another brand new hostel is being built at the moment (recently the student activists have acknowledged the property to be a really advanced comfort structure). Two of the operating facilities consist of 2-3-room units featuring bathroom and kitchen. Two dormitories are of corridor type with well separate rooms, whilst the kitchen and two or three bathrooms are of general use. The unit layout is believed to be more comfortable, however, no matter where the students live, they are quite satisfied with the level of comfort they got after somehow short-term but fairly massive renovation. Everything promised by the University administration has been implemented.
What about the shower amenities?
Now these are the real shower cubicles in each unit, or 2-3 multi-sprinkle shower compartments per floor in corridor type hostels.
…And as to the furniture?
The rooms are fully fit out. The hostel at Pirogovka is furnished spic’n’span, the rest is fairly new.
Are there any appliances?
This year, the University reequipped Pirogovskaya hostel with new refrigerators – one for each room. There are certain limitations to avoid overloading the power supply, but the minimum list of each tenant features: computer, phone, tablet, and also microwave, kettle, iron, refrigerator per each unit, let alone the electric cookers.
What’s on the Internet?
Now, the wide-band access is an essential condition for normal studying, so the wireless Internet is available in all dorms.
Are there studying areas and gyms inside?
In some dorms there are both, not to mention a playground in the backyard, whilst for Pirogovka location the in-house gym is not needed, ‘cuz our University stadium, Petrel, is in immediate proximity. Yet the classrooms are not envisaged everywhere, since at the October meeting, the Student Board decided that shortage of housing stock urges rebuilding the studying amenities into dwelling rooms.
As for you, what’s the main task of the Dorm Board?
The body consists of 10 members, the chairmen of each hostel and two members of the local Councils, plus the Secretary. The first and foremost to ensure is protection of the rights of students living in dorms, as well as monitoring of the compliance issues. But perhaps the most important objective is to be an effective interlink between the University management and students. We are cooperating with the rector, vice-rector for public relations and educational work and the hostel wardens much intensively. Throughout the last three years we have proved our being feasible and efficient.
What questions and requests do the students address to you?
They keep in mind the permanent enhancing of living conditions. For example, just recently they have claimed for an area for bicycle storage. We settled the matter with the administration. Now, a new request to be considered has just been submitted: to preserve bikes under some shelter.
Our guys are well trained to be norm favouring, therefore we are quite capable of solving all the problems in a civilized way. Fortunately, of late, the troubles trouble us rather seldom.
What distinguishes the "sweet home" students from the "dorm" ones?
The majority of those, who live in dorms, are characterized by more active citizenship. These are the most ready-witted and sociable part of the student community: clubbing, discussing problems, studying, relaxing, celebrating together. One day, we failed to get tickets home and stayed in the hostel for the New Year holidays. Around the clock we feasted with 40 Chinese guys in the same room sitting on the floor, eating traditional Chinese food… And it was the best New Year party within my recollection! The dorms sustain the continuity of collegiate spirit: senior students share the university wisdom with freshmen.
But now, it’s getting even harder. The new generations are growing more and more individualistic. The only gadget we've had previously was a guitar, whilst nowadays they are each surfing the Net through diverse gadgets of their own. In any case, we are trying to get them involved into the community matters.
What is the vision of your Board for the near future?
We are going to join the interuniversity contest for the best hostel in Moscow. This year we decided to hold an in-house competition for the best room and the best hostel.
What’s the students’ attitude toward the supervisory inspections of rooms after renovation?
The administration always listens to us, hears us, helps us, and students understand it all, that’s why they are predisposed to meet halfway. Someone may say: my home is my castle! But it ain’t so: the hostel is a common home – today it’s yours, tomorrow – of somebody else, whilst and the other day someone had kept this abode for you. Let’s preserve it for the student generations to come.