AUBG Spaces – The First AUBG Club to Become a Firm
AUBG Spaces. A nuclear club? No. Spaceships? No. Traveling? Sometimes, yes. AUBG Spaces is one of the newest clubs on campus, where everyone can find their space. Still, many of the students do not have a clear idea what is its particular purpose. Here is the story of a club which managed just for a semester to grow into an officially recognized firm.
AUBG Spaces was formed in the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester by Gavril Tonev and Hristo Georgiev. They are both AUBG students graduating in May 2016 with degrees in Business Administration, and Computer Science and Informational Systems, respectively. For both, however, computing development is the desired professional field.
Tonev and Georgiev admitted that AUBG lacked the opportunity to unite the students interested in technologies. According to them, there are some clubs which try to achieve that, but there is no concrete venue where they can discuss their ideas and projects equipped with the necessary technical supplies.
Hence, the idea for AUBG Spaces emerged. “We are creating the computer science community that AUBG lacks,” Tonev said. For them a real developer nowadays needs not only the knowledge of coding, but also the experience of being active on many other levels, including social interaction and knowledge in other aspects of that sphere.
“We act as a bridge between students with experience in some areas and students who want to learn a specific technology or concept,” said Stefan Ivanov, a third-year students who is also a member of the club. “This way AUBG Spaces facilitates a sort of small mentoring environment on campus which can only benefit both sides – learners get practical skills and educators get people with which they can work with in the future.”
In AUBG Spaces, Tonev and Georgiev have established three main directions of development, all of which focus on the practical side of the computer skills. Their main goal is to interchange practical knowledge with students rather than only the theoretical one which they receive in their courses. According to the members of the club, the COS and INF departments lack practical exercises. Thus, AUBG Spaces tries to organize workshops and group sessions, where they can catch up with that.
“With its many practical workshops and tutorials, AUBG Spaces has provided me with a pleasant environment for learning new skills and, more importantly, practicing the knowledge I have acquired,” said Nikolay Pohlupkov, a first-year student at AUBG and a member of the club.
Their second goal is to introduce students to official computer science competitions and challenges, where they can measure their strengths and weaknesses.
Last but not least, the aim of Tonev and Georgiev is to give the students the opportunity to attend computing conferences and official events, where they can learn innovative practices and trends.
The club does not have an official membership or recruiting process. Every student is free to attend any meeting which take place every Sunday at 7.30p.m. at ABF room 6307, and join a potential workshop or project. This is actually where the name of the club itself comes from. Spaces stands for the free space and the freedom everyone possesses to develop their skills and knowledge. Right now
there are about 20-30 permanent members.
“I met many people who are eager to help me learn new skills and motivate me to take on challenges that I thought were impossible for me. The best part of AUBG Spaces is that it is driven by the students and their needs,” said Pohlupkov.
Up to now, CSSU has been the only student club which has gathered computer enthusiasts on campus. According to the founders of AUBG Spaces, CSSU lacks the three aspects that they are trying to implement. Because of that, according to Tonev, the two clubs are planning to merge in the near future.
“What is for sure is that this semester we are having meetings together and we try to organize events together, as we believe that this is the way we could get more students involved in COS/INF events,” said Mihaela Dimovska, the current President of CSSU.
Since the beginning of the academic year AUBG Spaces has been quite active and has been hosting events almost every week. “We are trying to help other clubs as well in terms of their websites and internet image,” said Tonev. Most of the challenges they organized did not require specific coding or computing skills. A student may just have an idea and the members will help him/her to develop it.
As AUBG Spaces relies mostly on practical experience, the founders of the club have contacted different local companies which need some help with their technical organization. According to Tonev, the greatest benefit is that students work in teams for these projects and have the opportunity to exchange knowledge and ideas in comparison to the academic projects where they usually work on their own.
Because of the great interest towards the work of the club from outside companies, the members were forced to transform it in a whole new company in order to make their work legal and to start gaining profit. They rented an office near the Skaptopara campus, where they work together. Right now it consists of six people actively working on several projects and of several people who are being mentored in an internship style.
The newly formed company is called “Centroida” and the co-owners are again Tonev and Georgiev. However, not all members of AUBG Spaces are part of the company. For the most part, those who are able to code and are interested in becoming more professional have joined the company.
Since both of the founders are graduating, they hope to leave the club as a legacy to the university. They will be mentoring the current members of the club, but what makes them happy is that there are already many active and skillful freshmen and sophomores, who can successfully continue the work of the club.
“I can only imagine what they will achieve by the time they will be seniors,” Tonev said.
The future goals of the club are to have at least one or two events and workshops every week. They are also planning to prepare AUBG teams for several upcoming challenges and competitions.