The awards ceremony was held at the Smolny Cathedral, which in 1835 was consecrated as the Cathedral of All Educational Institutions. The event began with a religious mass, attended by heads, students, and cadets of St. Petersburg-based universities. All in attendance were congratulated by Alexey Demidov, the chairman of the Russian Union of Rectors (RUR) and the rector of St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design.
The awards, which are named after Saint Tatiana (the patron saint of students – Ed.), were presented to students and citizens of St. Petersburg by representatives of RUR in recognition of their contribution to the city’s social development. A badge of honor for guidance to youth was presented to Andrey Zlenko, the head of ITMO’s Student Initiatives Support Department.
“I work with students as a mentor and help them implement initiatives, primarily ones related to volunteering. For instance, we have a club system at the university that lets the students find like-minded peers and acquire useful skills. I often curate such initiatives. For instance, the Intelligentsia club – which organizes theater outings for students and staff. In my days as a student, I had already received a similar badge of honor. Now, it signifies to me a recognition of my value as a mentor. It’s important for the younger generation to have teachers they can rely on. Besides, I always try to be not just a guide, but a friend to the students,” says Mr. Zlenko.
Another badge of honor was presented to Evgeny Gubkin, a student at the Faculty of Control Systems and Robotics and head of People Need You, ITMO’s volunteering club.
The club was established in 2017 and is a member of the Russian Association of Volunteer Centers. In 2020, the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education named it the country’s top student volunteer club. At the moment, the club counts around 400 people as its members. The volunteers conduct events of various scale: university-, city-, and nation-wide, as well as international ones. Their other activities include provision of training for volunteers and coordinators.
Evgeny has been the head of the club since 2021. His responsibilities include coordinating the volunteers, processing and delegating event applications, and collaborating with the city’s other organizations. He also takes part in coordinating various major events in the city and has contributed to the White Nights International Marathon, the international conference Diaghilev: The Art of Producing. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow!, and the half-marathon The Northern Capital. His list of accomplishments also includes several ITMO-based projects, including a regional stage of the national school student competition, ITMO Family Day 2022, and others.
“This award is confirmation that I’m moving in the right direction. Volunteering is, first and foremost, something you do for the soul. I love helping people and providing them support. I got into volunteering three years ago as a first-year student. In that time, I’ve gained valuable experience; now, I can easily find a common language with others and I know how to organize a major event. It might not always be easy, but I have a large team of like-minded people with whom we always try to find a way out of any complicated situation. As for the future, we’re planning some major projects for first-year students, as they are the ones who can contribute most to the growth of our volunteering movement,” says Evgeny Gubkin.