In Conversation with the Ukrainian Society | Interview
Anastasiia Pustovachenko, the President of the Ukrainian Society at the University of Aberdeen, sits down with The Gaudie for an interview. Sharing details about The Ukrainian Society’s journey so far including their message on the ongoing war and their role on our campus.
By Sara Aku
Photo by Sara Aku
What is the Ukrainian Society’s role on campus?
“The Ukrainian Society on campus plays a crucial role in promoting and celebrating Ukrainian culture, heritage, and traditions. It serves as a cultural hub and a support network for Ukrainian students and anyone interested in learning more about Ukraine.
“By organizing collaborative events with other cultural societies, the Ukrainian society promotes intercultural exchange and understanding. It seeks to break down stereotypes and build bridges between different communities on campus.
“The Ukrainian Society provides a support network for Ukrainian students who may be far from home and facing the challenges of studying in a new country. It offers a sense of familiarity and comfort, helping students adapt to university life and create lasting friendships.
“Through events like bake sale fundraisers, the Ukrainian Society also endeavors to support charitable causes related to Ukraine or the local community. This involvement showcases our commitment to making a positive impact beyond the campus borders.”
How was last year for the Ukrainian society and what are your hopes for next year? “Last year was an incredible journey for the Ukrainian Society. Since founding the society last February, we have been dedicated to promoting Ukrainian culture.
Through various activities like football nights supporting the Ukrainian team, movie nights showcasing Ukrainian cinema, collaborating with the Polish society on a pub quiz, and joining forces with the Art Society to share the captivating works of Mariia Prymachenko, we were able to engage and connect with the community. Additionally, we hosted a bake sale fundraising to support causes related to Ukraine and its people.
“We aim to continue organizing diverse events and activities that will further showcase the richness of Ukrainian culture next year. Our ultimate goal for the upcoming year is to significantly increase awareness of our society's existence and attract more participants.
“We hope that our efforts will foster a sense of belonging among Ukrainians in our community while also creating a space for people from various backgrounds to come together and appreciate Ukrainian culture.”
How does the Society collaborate with the Ukrainian Student Union and the Ukrainian Embassy?
“In June, the Ukrainian Society signed a memorandum of collaboration with the Ukrainian Student Union (USU) formalizing our relationship. The agreement outlines our joint efforts in promoting Ukrainian culture, supporting Ukrainian students on campuses across the UK, and organizing events and initiatives together.
“The fact that the collaboration is supported by the Ukrainian Embassy in London is a testament to the importance and recognition of the USU's work. This support not only adds credibility to USU’s endeavors but also opens doors to potential resources and opportunities for us.
During the anniversary of the USU, we found out about their cooperation with the Legacy Ukraine. With the help of Ukrainian societies, we plan to share their Legacy Ukraine - book that includes stories of the most impactful and outstanding people with Ukrainian origins with the deans and heads of schools throughout UK universities.
Together with the Ukrainian Society of University of Glasgow, we attended a meeting at the Ukrainian Embassy in Edinburgh and engaged with the consul. During this meeting, we discussed the challenges and issues that Ukrainian students may face while studying in the UK. This dialogue helped raise awareness of the specific needs and concerns of Ukrainian students, potentially leading to better support.
“The collaboration with the Ukrainian Student Union and the Ukrainian Embassy has been a positive experience for our society. This partnership has enhanced our capacity to organize more impactful events and initiatives while also fostering a sense of unity among Ukrainian students across the country.”
How does the Society feel about the support the University has offered for Ukrainians? “The Ukrainian Society is grateful for all the support University of Aberdeen has provided during this difficult time. Offering free accommodation and one-time financial help last year was undoubtedly a significant gesture of support during a challenging time.
It helped alleviate some of the financial burdens that Ukrainian students have faced due to the ongoing war in their home country.
However, the absence of this support this year might leave some Ukrainian students feeling disappointed or concerned about their financial situation. The University stated that its hardship fund may be seen as an alternative means to help Ukrainian students facing financial difficulties, even if it may not fully replace the previous support.”
What would you like to say to the students and staff at University of Aberdeen about the war in Ukraine? “As you may be aware, Ukraine has been in the midst of a challenging war, causing immense suffering for millions of civilians. Families have been torn apart, homes destroyed, and communities displaced. The humanitarian situation remains critical, and the need for assistance has never been greater.
“Your generosity and compassion can make a significant difference in the lives of those affected. Your donation, no matter how big or small, will directly contribute to providing crucial humanitarian aid. “Please consider making a donation today through United 24 or the Prytula Foundation. Together, we can make a meaningful impact and support Ukraine in its journey towards recovery and peace. “