HSE Students Work Miracles Using Technology
Students of the HSE Bachelor's programme in Business Informatics have developed an eye-catching, user-friendly website for the ‘Soulful Bazar’ project, a large-scale charity fair traditionally held in Moscow on the eve of the New Year. This year, the “Charity Tree” New Year celebration will be held on December 22 at the Expocentre off the Krasnopresnenskaya embankment.
It all started when second-year student Ekaterina Drobyshevskaya and third-year student Anastasia Menyaeva took part in the all-Russian summer school ‘The Digital Transformation of the Charity Sector’, which was held in early July 2019 at HSE MIEM. The school focused on developing IT solutions to help non-profit organizations (NGOs) work more effectively. The school’s programme included not only intensive workshops, but also discussions with potential customers and developers of digital services.
‘I am a committed computer enthusiast, and I am fascinated by the opportunity to work miracles using technology,’ says Ekaterina Drobyshevskaya. ‘Listening to Inga Moiseeva, the head of Soulful Bazar, I realized that this project is a real miracle. And it takes just a little magic for the miracle to happen.’
Ekaterina is the leader of the team developing the new, official website of ‘Soulful Bazar’; the team includes two more students - Anastasia Menyaeva from HSE and Anastasia Kamaeva from Ogarev Mordovia State University. When she started the project, Ekaterina had very little experience in front-end development, and she had only just completed her first year of studies. However, she is convinced that nothing encourages you to use your imagination and stay committed more than strict deadlines and your own enthusiasm.
The student team has been engaged in expanding the functionality of the ‘Soulful Bazar’ website and changing the design of its main pages. ‘We managed to find a time-consuming, but low-cost solution by using free plugins,’ explains Ekaterina. ‘Most of our time was spent on finding and learning how to use suitable tools that have nothing to do with our university curriculum.’
What’s most important is that the site has become more user-friendly. According to Inga Moiseeva, the long text on the landing page has been eliminated, and now a potential donor does not need to study brief descriptions of all NGO partners to find information about what’s being collected. He or she simply selects the desired recipient on the interactive picture along with a specific donation category and the site automatically redirects the donor to the appropriate list of items.
‘I can’t express how grateful I am to the site developers,’ says Inga Moiseeva. ‘I want to thank them for the result, for the process, for the experience, for the opportunities - for everything! I believe that our patrons and NGO partners, for which this project was initially done, will also appreciate this work.’
On December 22, from 11 am to 7 pm, you can bring clothing, food and other gifts to the ‘Soulful Bazar’ located in Pavilion 2 of the Expocentre on the Krasnopresnenskaya embankment. All day long, volunteers will accept and sort these items before sending boxes full of gifts to the various charities. Last year, 1 million roubles worth of gifts were collected under the Charity tree. Let’s hope that this year, thanks to a much-improved website, even more donations will be collected.
In honour of International Volunteer Day, which was celebrated on December 6, HSE News Service spoke with HSE student organization leaders about their volunteer work. It turns out that HSE students are very active members of their communities: from painting with children in local orphanages to helping out at animal shelters, students participate in a wide range of volunteer efforts—and have fun while doing it.
A New Year's fair, information about non-commercial organisations, masterclasses, lectures and an obstacle demonstration with a guide dog: just some of the events that occurred as part of HSE’s contribution to the International Day of Charity, which took place at HSE Central atrium on 11 Pokrovsky Boulevard.
HSE University recently held the ‘Magic World’ inclusive charity festival at Bauman Garden in Moscow. The guests included children from four orphanages sponsored by HSE, as well as anyone else who was interested. The HSE News Service provides a summary of the festival’s activities below.
On June 3, a meeting with Chris Thaller, Head of Creative Projects at Runtastic by adidas and founder of the Parley Foundation, who is involved in a project to gather and recycle oceanic plastic, will take place at HSE University.
On June 8, the conference ‘The State and the Charities: Together to a Common Goal’ took place at HSE. It was organized together with the Agency of Social Information, the Donor Forum, and the Blagosfera Centre. Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister of Russia, and Tatyana Golikova, Vice Prime Minister of Russia, took part in the conference.
Practically all events hosted by HSE Lyceum are accompanied by a charity fair organized by the student group, Charity Market. Money made from the market is donated to the animal support fund ‘Pick up a Friend’ and to the Kozhukhovsky Shelter, with whom Lyceum students have been cooperating for several years. The HSE news team has the latest news their interesting extracurricular projects.
A project by ICEF student Evgeny Pasnyuk started out as a fairly unsuccessful attempt to collect money for charity, but now his water branded ‘Simple Good’ is available in shops, cafes, and food courts across Moscow. Evgeny is confident that social entrepreneurship in Russia is only starting to develop, and that it will get easier in time.
Altruism based on individual values is changing Western society. People in Western countries have seen a rise in individualism for quite some time, and this in turn helps to create generations of people with altruistic mindsets. Christian Welzel, Chief Research Fellow in the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research (HSE and Leuphana University of Lüneburg), teamed up with researchers from the University of Lausanne to conduct a study showing the connection between emancipative values and prosocial behaviour. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.