“SUSU Students Must Visit Olimp at Least Once” ‑ Interview with Veronika Livonchik, Director of Olimp Sports and Recreation Camp

South Ural State University students are actively preparing for the spring exam session, which also means that summer is coming soon. Summer being just over the horizon also means that it’s time to think about how to spend the warm season in a fun and useful way. You don’t have to travel far for this or spend a lot: the SUSU sports and recreation complex invites all to choose the kind of recreation they want.

Olimp Sports and Recreation Camp is located in one of the most picturesque corners of the South Ural region, on the banks of the Bolshoi Sunukul lake in the forested area of Nepryahkino settlement of the Chebarkul District of the Chelyabinsk Region. The Olimp Director Veronika Livonchik tells us about what opportunities SUSU students gain when they decide to spend their summer at Olimp.

– Please, tell us about the history of Olimp camp – what did everything start with?

– Knowing many nuances of organizing summer recreation, I understand how difficult it is to put things together. 60 years ago there was a lake, a forest, a field, and the idea of creating a recreation center for SUSU students. In the beginning, students lived in 10-bed tents and had to deal with household activities themselves. This was probably a wonderful time which left our grandmothers, grandfathers, and teachers many remarkable stories to remember. Usually student athletes were the ones spending their recreation time at Olimp, it was a training camp for them.

– Who can come for recreation to Olimp?

– Today, all those willing may come to Olimp. Students come with their professors for practical training, sports teams come to prepare for the competitions season, student organizations work on plans of their events for the next year, student councils “beef up” their teams, and some people just come to enjoy fresh air, the lake, and the absence of everyday worries.

– Are there any unique things about coming to Olimp? Some bonuses, interesting session topics, maybe some traditions?

– Olimp is unique in and of itself. Each year, its supervisors work hard on creating programs of sessions so that students’ trips are as balanced as they possibly can be, memorable, and interesting.

It’s already a tradition that the first session is a gathering of student organizations. 13 days soaked in bright colors of events by the Cultural Committee, the Music Committee and DJ School, humor of the KVN Club, and free of fights and disagreements thanks to the Debate Club. In 2017 international students joined us, and we are very happy about it, because new and interesting acquaintances are made and traditions are formed.

The second session, traditionally, is a gathering of student councils. This is a fight between student leaders to be the best, the result of which is that every team grows and receives energy for the whole next year. This is the busiest session which leaves no one indifferent.

And now about some changes: the third session will be immersion into creative space which will touch all aspects of everyone’s soul. This session is for those who live for creativity, and it doesn’t matter in what field of art.

The fourth session traditionally opens doors for student athletes who are beginning their preparations for the competitions season, but this year they will be joined by students who want to improve their so-called “soft skills”.

Like always, there are many bonuses, but the main and most important thing has remained the same for many years now – it’s the cost for government-funded intramural students.

– Please, tell us the most interesting story that has happened at the Olimp camp.

– When I was preparing for the anniversary of our complex, I found out that the name Olimp was temporary. When the complex opened, they had to make signs with the name of the recreation camps. “Nauka” (Science) was a great name for the teachers’ camp, the childrens camp “Beryozka” (Birch) was named due to location near a birch grove, but they couldn’t think of a name for the students’ camp for a long time. The deadlines approached, and they decided to temporarily call it Olimp. The name stuck in student circles and, as a result, it lasted until this day without any attempt at changing it.

– In September, Olimp will be celebrating its 60th anniversary – what has changed? What plans or prospects are there? What do you want to preserve or change?

– Much has changed. We are trying hard to increase the level of comfort and recreation quality for students: we’re doing some repairs, changing furniture and infrastructure, improving the territory, and creating more comfort in the cabins themselves. In 2017 we opened a small gym, and in 2018 we want to open a game room, library, and museum. We want to show how new approaches and big desire can change our attitude to things that we are used to. But most of all we want to preserve the history and soul that reign in Olimp, so we are paying a lot of attention right now to historical research. Even back when I was still a student myself I kept saying said that every decent SUSU student must go to Olimp at least once, and now this has even become my motto!

Olga Vazhenina
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