Anton Matveev, a St Petersburg University graduate, told us how student initiatives for organising events become full-fledged projects. He explained how the Department for Youth Affairs of St Petersburg University helps university students to implement them.

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Did you get any support when you contacted the Department for Youth Affairs?

It happened all the time. First of all, they provided information support. The personnel from the Department for Youth Affairs helped me to understand what was of interest at that time, which projects were in progress, and which could be launched. Our colleagues helped us with mailings. They made it possible to reach all students both within the framework of one academic and research unit, and also throughout the University. I do not recall any specific unexpected or acute situations, since they always arise while organising any project. At such moments, one could always come to the office of the Department for Youth Affairs, consult, make a decision, and find out what previous students had done. They also provided serious assistance with finding sponsors for the events, as well as with running them.

What problems did you contact the employees of the Department for Youth Affairs with and how quickly were they resolved?

The subjects of my inquiries could be divided into several large categories. The first one is work with the Department for Youth Affairs from the point of view of external companies. For a year, I worked as an ambassador for Changellenge. It was always possible to contact the Department for Youth Affairs and ask them to help to disseminate information – online and through printed materials – or to coordinate the running of events. The second category is communication as a project participant. I had the opportunity to work in almost all the organising committees that existed at the Graduate School of Management of St Petersburg University (GSOM SPbSU). If necessary, one could talk about everything from finding suppliers to developing a communication strategy with the administration. The third category of inquiries was connected with projects that I managed myself. As a supervisor, I defended student initiatives, sought advice how best to launch them, which student to choose for a team, and so on. I would rather call the fourth category mutual communication than inquiries, since it was connected with organising Doors Open Days and working with applicants. It was a pleasure to help the Department for Youth Affairs with these as I gained experience myself and tried to inspire applicants.  

Was there support for student initiatives to organise events?

I happened to attend events to protect student initiatives both as a decision-maker (as part of the student council) and as a project leader. I must note that the Department for Youth Affairs did not create any obstacles; decisions were made by student management bodies. Of course, the department staff expressed their opinions, but the initiatives were not simply blocked – time resources of administrative staff and premises were allocated to discuss them. It was enough to prove that the project could become popular and there was a team ready to support it afterwards. Each year, the list of approved initiatives is updated, some ideas fade, but new ones appear.

What university festivals, contests, round tables or conferences in which you took part during your studies stood out to you in particular?

Definitely what stuck in my mind above everything was Management Career Week. I was head of its organising committee several times. Of course, in this case, interaction with the Department for Youth affairs was not as close as during the preparation for the annual Peter Drucker Award Ceremony. Over two years of participation in the project, I observed over and over how the Department for Youth Affairs is meticulous about this event. It helps students in creative self-fulfilment, and to search for new ideas and sponsors. Of course, interaction also took place in work on other projects, among which I can single out GSOM Family Day, the conference ‘Management of the Future’, and a number of sporting events.