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The Whole World In Saint Petersburg

Recently, the third National Platform ESN Russia was held on the basis of the HSE University – St. Petersburg. Elvira Spasskih, the President of ESN HSE St. Petersburg, will tell you more about what is ESN and how this event was organized by #HSESPb.

- Elvira, could you tell us, what is ESN in general and how did it appear in the HSE University – St. Petersburg?

- In general, ESN is an international student organization, which is currently represented in 40 countries and more than 500 universities throughout Europe. Its main goal is to adapt and support foreign exchange students in a new country and culture for them. In St. Petersburg, it  "grew up" from the Buddy club. In July 2017 we were accepted as a section on the first National Platform (hereinafter NP) in Moscow, which was conducted by the section ESN HSE Moscow. At the same time, together with us, another section was adopted - ESN Plekhanov. In the fall, there was another NP in Moscow, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics became its organizer and we thought: "Hm, Plekhanov was accepted at the same time as us, and they are already organizing the NP, so why do not we organize the next NP in St. Petersburg?". And at the autumn meeting I presented the draft of our NP, which was unanimously supported by all the sections. So the National Platform arrived in St. Petersburg.

- And what is the National Platform? How does it go and what is the purpose of the event?

- The National platform is an event that is organized so that representatives of all ESN sections from the same country can meet, discuss topical issues of the organization and exchange experiences. It usually takes several days in the format of workshops and speeches of participants. During the NP, the section-participants will present the results of their work from the previous meeting, talk about successes and failures. The most important thing is the invaluable opportunity to communicate with colleagues, when you can find out what problems they had in their work, and how they solved them.

Organizing committee had an excellent NP. First of all, I liked that the organizers took care of meeting guests from other cities, and also conducted a city tour on the first day. 

Olga Konovtseva
ESN Ural Federal University

 - How was our NP held? How many participants were there, what are the main results?

- The event was held on March 3 and 4 in the building at Kantemirovskaya and was recognized by all participants, including the ESN leadership of Russia, as the best National Platform of all that was held in Russia. At the moment, there are 5 ESN sections in Russia (two in Moscow, two in St. Petersburg and one in Yekaterinburg), and all of them were presented on the National Platform in St. Petersburg. In total there were 43 participants from Russia, and visitors from ESN sections of Finland and Austria. The main results were that after long negotiations, we met with representatives of Pernod Ricard and agreed on the implementation of the Responsible Party project in Russia, implemented a new regulation on the adoption of new sections in ESN Russia, and also awarded to SPbSU the status of a candidate section in ESN. We also presented the logo of our section! Soon it will be available on our official VK and Facebook pages.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the organizational moments on the part of ESN HSE SPb. The details were carefully thought out, starting from the pre-purchased cornflakes in the hostel, to the equipment and size of the auditoriums that we reserved for our needs.

Irina Klimova
ESN HSE Moscow 

- Which difficulties did you encounter in organizing and how did you overcome them?

- The main difficulties were connected with the search for financing. Among other things, we also organized accommodations and meals for participants. Our task was to make everything as accessible as possible and kept to the higher standards, so that participants from different cities of Russia, as well as from abroad, could come to us. In this we were supported by the Center for International Cooperation of the HSE University – St. Petersburg. They allocated significant funds, without which we would not have been able to organize an event of this level. Personally, I want to thank Konstantin Platonov and Daria Zima.

Elvira has created a wonderful board, in which all are really interested in the work of the section and are active, easy to see that the team is very well functioning. I would like to note the hospitality and goodwill of ESN HSE SPb team - you are very cool!

Ekaterina Dobrovolskaya
ESN HSE Moscow

- Tell us about your emotions and impressions after the event, and what was most useful and interesting for you personally? Were there any funny cases?

- As an organizer, I was very worried, and I even wanted to be done with it. However, as soon as I met our guests from Yekaterinburg, and then from Moscow, all the nervousness was gone. I understood that nothing terrible would happen, we did a lot to organize this event and were ready for almost everything. Eventually the nervousness was gone and I was already enjoying what was happening. Moreover, there was a great opportunity to brag about our building on Kantemirovskaya. And even after such meetings, you understand how many really cool people are there in the world, whose values ​​of life coincide with yours. NP gives an opportunity to look at the problems of your organization from the outside and find a solution, because the participants give really useful advice. Speaking about some funny cases, on Saturday at Kantemirovskaya,directly in the middle of the ESN HSE Moscow performance, electricity was cut off throughout the building. And this just turned out to be something we were not ready for, especially since then we acted and wanted to present our new logo, but alas. Of course, it was hard to talk without slides, but we did it!


 During the event, local sections presented the results of their activities, established contacts with new potential universities and adopted the experience of their European counterparts. Thanks to the organizing committee for the opportunity given for networking.

Ekaterina Fedko
ESN Russia's national vice-representative

What was the feedback from the participants about the event?
- As I mentioned, everyone said that it was the best NP from all those conducted in Russia. Everyone said that there was a very high-quality organization, and I was told that I am a very charismatic president, which, of course, is the purest truth (it's a pity that no one even mentioned my modesty, haha). There were many compliments to our board, they said that we are very friendly and do quality work, which cannot be disagreed! I'm very proud of the board of our section, we really have a very good team, and most importantly, we can easily communicate with each other. In the future, we plan to grow and develop. Holding the National Platform is just the beginning of our great plans for the development of the organization!

The Responsible Party is a joint project of ESN and Pernod Ricard aimed at reducing alcohol consumption among foreign students.  It has been actively implemented in Europe for a long time.