From 12th of November to 11th of December 2004 our University held a great international project. It was called "Information Technologies in HIV/AIDS prevention and drugs addiction at the University". This project became a part of HIV/AIDS struggle all over the world and it turned to be a real contribution of our university to the complex program of HIV/AIDS prevention and drugs addiction in Ekaterinburg.
The project was patronized by United States-Russia Volunteer Initiative (USRVI), a program founded by IREX (the International Research & Exchanges Board www.irex.org, www.irex.ru).
USURT students and employees took an active part in the realization of this project in the collaboration with three American volunteers - Susan Farley, Wyatt Matthews and Theresa Chen. Volunteers had visited many academic groups and spoke about HIV/AIDS with students. They told our students about this problem in the USA, how they tried to solve it, what methods of prevention American young people used.
However, these meetings weren't totally devoted to HIV/AIDS prevention, other hot topics were discussed in terms of culture, politics, history etc. This unlimited communication was a valuable contribution to the development of Russian-American relationship: ordinary young people from two different countries communicated freely and eagerly.
1st of December 2004 was the Day of International HIV/AIDS Struggle. This day our university took part in All-Russian campaign "The Red Tulips of Hope". The aim of this campaign was to attract people's attention to HIV/AIDS problem and, especially, to emphasize its destructive influence on women. Everyone could contribute to this campaign making a red paper tulip, which symbolized Feminity, Hope, Life and Love. All participants were able to have a precise look at the leaflets and booklets containing necessary information about HIV/AIDS, methods of prevention and protection, some advise how to behave with HIV+ friends and relatives.
One of the parts of the project was a competition "HIV/AIDS and drug addiction through the students perception". There were three main issues: fine art, writing and text translation from English to Russian. The winners were from the Economic Faculty: Julia Grumantzeva, Natalia Borisova, Ekaterina Belova and Taras Vnukovskij.
During the realization of this project two trainings were held. Students learned how to estimate the situation and to solve the problems, to formulate and to express their opinion, and to work as a team.
Special thanks must be given to two Zhenias - Zhenia Kachalkova, first-year student of Electrotechnical Faculty, and Zhenia Kostousova, International Project Manager, for the project realization and for the organization of informal meetings and cultural program.
The project was successful. Our students have found new foreign friends, they've got a strong motivation to think about the burning HIV/AIDS problem and have practiced their English in the light and informal atmosphere.