In the 300 days since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, air raid sirens have sounded more than 18,000 times throughout the country. Millions of Ukrainians live under the constant threat of rocket attacks and a persistent lack of electricity, heat, and water. To many outside of Ukraine, it seems unbelievable that UCU could continue to hold classes and educate their students in this challenging environment. Yet, they do.
Despite all the hardships, UCU has never considered halting instruction. The need to educate leaders for the future is more urgent than ever.
“Our entire faculty and all our people are ensuring the world-class educational level at UCU is continuing 100%, regardless of the brutal, harsh realities of war. Our students are now on campus, and we are doing everything possible to give them the opportunity to study.”
– Sophia Opatska, UCU Vice-Rector
UCU is resolved to continue to provide outstanding education and to offer its students safety and stability during this time of upheaval. Despite the dangers and difficulties, the students themselves are filled with inspiration and purpose.
Staying Safe during Air Raids
The safety of students, faculty, and staff is the top concern of the University. At the sound of the air raids, staff moves the classes to university shelters, which are located in the basements below UCU’s buildings. To ensure that there is room in the shelters for all participants, classes are conducted in two shifts throughout the day. Professors and students carry on their studies despite these disruptions.
Coping with Rampant Power Outages
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters worldwide, UCU has generators that provide alternate power for our shelters and the first floors of all buildings. In addition, in order to handle the constant shortage of heat, light, and internet, the university adjusts its schedule to take advantage of daylight hours as much as possible. Professors have worked hard to create lesson materials that are independent of computers so they may continue teaching when the internet is down.
“We have learned to work without light and the Internet, but as people, we cannot survive without safety and empathy.”
– Nataliya Oboznenko, academic director of the UCU Business School
The Benefits of Service Learning
UCU has also expanded its service learning model to incorporate humanitarian relief work. Students from the social work program are assisting therapists as they heal wounded military personnel, others serve as medics in Lviv hospitals. Students along with their professors in the Law school offer legal clinics for internally displaced persons. This type of dynamic learning allows students to expand their education through real-world experience while serving the wartime needs of Ukrainians.
“People in Ukraine are extremely united. They’re helping each other in any possible way. Volunteering became the second part-time job for almost everyone. This unity will definitely help us to overcome all the fear and suffering of this war before and after our victory.”
– Kristina Bohdanova, UCU graduate student
Certainly, more challenges face UCU on the road to victory. Nevertheless, faculty and staff have been unflagging in their spirit and will continue to educate their students, uplift their fellow citizens, and press forward to the inevitable triumph of a free and prosperous Ukraine.