Same old AUBG? Well, not quite.
Change is in the roots of improvement. People, places, institutions – everything gives way to time and change. The same applies to the American University in Bulgaria. Even though it may seem that AUBG has remained the same in its outlook, this year again has seen some shifts.
The most prominent among them is the construction of the new sports facilities on campus. A soccer field, volleyball and basketball courts, two tennis courts, a badminton court, two tennis tables, and an open air gym, all of which have sprouted behind the ABF building, are a good gain for both current and future AUBGers.
“The project was on the university campus map for quite a while,” said Maksim Sviridenko, a third-year student and a player in the AUBG Soccer League. ” It is perfect time for the league to make use of it. The field itself is ready, but there are few things missing: seats for fans and a dome. It is completely different from what people are used to as it requires more skill and ball control, especially given that people will have to play in different weather conditions.”
The new sports facilities are expected to be opened on the 25th anniversary of the university, Sept. 30.
Another change that surprised the students is the location of the bookstore. The place in ABF Center that used to host it is now called “Aspire,” an innovation hub serving the purpose of promoting the entrepreneurial spirit and bringing students and guests together to work and help each other on different projects.
“I find the location of the new Aspire hub to be suitable for its purpose,” said Dimitar Bratovanov, a third-year student at AUBG. “The fact that it is in the ABF student center helps create the feeling that the hub is a working area, not a study environment.”
As for the bookstore, it’s new venue can be found in the basement of Skaptopara II. Multiple signs and a guidance video sponsored by the university have been created to ease students in finding its new location.
” I would say that its new location is not an ideal one. Its no longer as easily accessible to outsiders as it used to be,” added Bratovanov.
Next on the list is the change of the meal plan’s fee for the Class of 2020 students. Starting from the Fall 2016 semester onwards, the meal plan is set at $300 per student – $200 more than the sum higher-grade students are paying for their semester-long university food services. The decision taken by the board of trustees last academic year has also resulted in an increase of the total expenses for the new students on campus.
This year’s innovations at AUBG have been particularly fruitful in the Journalism and Mass Communication Department. The latest modernization of the media-oriented BAC building is the newly renovated and ostentatiously equipped media studio. Located in the basement, the studio offers high-tech lightning equipment and a diverse array of video and photography tools.
“The studio provides a functional space for the development of high-end graphics and CGI-related projects,” said Lynnette Leonard, department chair of the JMC program.“Students can also make use of portable screen that could be mounted to the walls, two computers for editing and a professional green screen backdrop that could be used for student clubs’ photo shooting, like the ones of Olympics.”
The members of the Documentary club and of InFocus magazine were the first to get a few hours inside the new facility. They were delighted with the improvements and acknowledged the efforts of the university to bring advanced media working space for AUBG students.
“The media studio can be of great use for JMC students, especially those interested in photography and video journalism,” said Diana Elagina, member of the InFocus team. “This year, in the JMC 444 Documentary Film class, we learned how to set up an interview in the studio. We used the lights in the room and saw how each light produced shadows on interviewees’ faces.”
Fatme Tsiko, a second-year student and the vice-president of the Documentary club, is also grateful for having the new studio at student disposal. “Last year with the DOC club, we worked on Global News Relay, and if there was no studio, we couldn’t have participated. It gave us the equipment we needed and a secluded place where we can comfortably work,” said Tsiko. “The media studio will be a key element for this process. It feels great to know there is a place on campus where we can work on our projects. I’m sure this will help us in terms of quality of the videos we make and it will save us time.”
The media studio is now open to all students willing to take on video or photography-based projects. Upon obtained permission from the department chair Dr. Leonard in a week’s notice, students will be allowed to use the facility to their interests and projects.