Life on Campus
A UWC education emphasises experiential learning. The classroom is only one component of that experience, which extends to service learning, sport, creativity, student societies and life together in a residential setting.
By sharing dining rooms, common rooms and bedrooms with students from many different cultures and countries, UWC students have opportunities to learn about and share in an international experience that makes a profound and lifelong change in their understanding of one another. Since living together teaches us how to deal with differences, residential life in UWCD enables us to develop the essential life skills associated with living alongside those with whom we do not immediately have particular rapport as well as enjoying the company of those with whom we quickly strike up what prove to be lifelong friendships.
Let him that is afraid of being alone beware of community, and she that is afraid of community beware of being alone. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together (adapted)
The UWC Dilijan Student Council comprises of 8 Toon representatives, two selected from each of the four Toons (Vardenis, Maymekh, Arpa, and Debed), and two core members, selected from the whole school. The Student Council meets routinely once a week on a day and time determined by its members.
The Student Council:
- Serves as a full representational body of all students in the college, accommodating all voices, views and amplifying stances of “silent minorities”.
- Acts as the medium between the student body, the college staff, and the college leadership team.
- Addresses different concerns raised by students in daily, academic, and residential life and proposes solutions to them.
- Oversees the implementation of new solutions and proposals.
- Advocates for and builds upon the ideas and initiatives of the student body.
- Shares all relevant information between the Toons and Student Council meetings.
Roles within the Student Council:
- UWC Liaison
- Residential Liaison
- Policy Crafter
- Senior Management Team Liaison
- Health Liaison
- Extra-curricular Liaison
- Communications Manager
- Meeting Facilitator
Throughout the year we offer running training both on campus and following our favourite 5 km route to Cafe No2 and back. We had our first 'Couch to 5k' running club, which helped a group of new runners to have the confidence to take part in the Yerevan running festival. As a result, 2019 saw over 60 students and staff competing in the 5km, 10km, half and full marathons with lots of top 5 places!
The UWCD Choir is open to any student or staff member who wishes to sing. Singing in the choir can be used as a CAS experience or just for the love of singing. The choir rehearsals are once a week. We have a diverse repertoire that includes songs and vocal works from a range of styles and genres such as classical, popular and folk songs from various cultures. All of the singers are committed to quality music-making while having a great deal of fun at the same time. As one our members said, "singing in the Choir just takes away the problems of the day and makes you feel happy."
At UWCD you can play in a band or be involved in creating electronic music. These are student-directed groups which take many forms. We have a full rock band instrument set-up in the Band Room in the Toons and also in the Music Room. Many of our students play the guitar, bass, drums or keyboard and also sing. Others play instruments such as violin, saxophone and trombone. It is up to each group as to what style of music and what kind of pieces they want to play. Some groups are big while others are just duos and trios. Many students write and perform their own pieces, demonstrating individual approaches and exploring their creative potential. There are opportunities for bands to perform publicly at school events. There is some great music being made across the school in many ways, and we encourage as many students as possible to be involved.
Service is one of the most important components which students at UWC schools and colleges are expected to complete as a part of their IB Diploma Programme (DP). Since 2014 students of UWC Dilijan have initiated various service projects in cooperation with local organisations. The majority of them are ongoing and have been passed from generation to generation. Nevertheless, every new generation brings their own ideas of how to contribute to the development of Dilijan and the wider Armenian community.
In their desire to give back to the technical staff of the college, those whom the students meet every day for two years, the students initiated a project to teach English to the children of the staff – Dilinglish. This initiative received an overwhelmingly positive response, with almost 100 children signing up. The students divided the children into six age groups and recruited about 30 students as teachers. The lessons are held twice a week.
Orran Student Service Group is a bridge for professional collaboration between UWC Dilijan and the "Orran" NGO in Vanadzor. The NGO is committed to its mission of getting kids off the streets and engaging them in academic and cultural activities, as well as identifying and developing children’s interests towards a working careers. UWC Dilijan students contribute through organising English lessons and developing games for the children aged 6-18 from economically deprived families.
The Greenhouse project was pioneered by the first generation of UWC Dilijan students and passed to the next generations, becoming a continuing long-term programme. The Greenhouse aims to become a self-sustaining project to provide an opportunity for UWC Dilijan students and local youngsters to explore the agricultural and horticultural potential of the region and develop an interest in the cultivation of ecologically clean products. Maintaining the Greenhouse will be a joint experience for both the international students and young people from Dilijan.
Ceramics with the Community
The Ceramics with the Community project is aimed at engaging the community in collaborative artistic endeavours. During the weekly meetings in the UWC Dilijan ceramics studio, UWCD students together with 10 students from Dilijan learn how to work with clay, to paint and glaze their finished products and make souvenirs.
Science with Kids
Science with Kids is a social service CAS that aims at bringing young children close to the natural sciences. The main objective is to create scientific interest in the local youngsters and help them realise their potential. The CAS engages students from Dilijan schools giving them the opportunity to experience the joy of science.
Rhi-Zone is a sustainability-aimed project led by UWC Dilijan students, which provides a platform for unemployed women of Dilijan to produce and sell plain and souvenir inspired eco-bags in the Armenian market. The project aims at generating social awareness about plastic pollution through promoting the use of reusable cloth bags in Armenia, and enabling local women to use their skills to provide an income source for themselves and improve their economic and social status.
The college cafeteria is the place that brings together all the community members – students, teachers and staff – for healthy and tasty meals every day.
Diverse Food Meeting Different Dietary Demands
The cafeteria chefs have a difficult task in satisfying the food demands of people from over 82 countries, so they provide a rich and diverse menu. Vegan food, dairy-free food, boiled food, halal food (obtained from the only certified producer in Armenia), gluten-free food and cereal products are all available and are properly labelled for the college community to make their choices.
The cafeteria provides food five times a day – three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and two snacks taken to the college (one at break time and one in the evening). During the lunch and dinner times, the cafeteria serves around six types of salad, six garnishes, three meat dishes (plus fish served three times a week), three types of soup as well as vegetable dishes, rice, potatoes and pasta as sources of carbohydrates every day. Cookies and cakes are served once a day.
Dishes from National Cuisines
The cafeteria occasionally serves themed meals from various national cuisines during cultural weeks, which are very popular with our students and staff and have become a college tradition. For instance, the sushi day during the Japanese cultural evening and the seafood during the Mediterranean cultural week are among the most popular.
“In UWC Dilijan we have cultural weeks. During this week the students approach us and make suggestions of their national dishes. We then invite specialised cooks from our network in Yerevan to come and cook these dishes. They are professionals in their fields and have been certified on an international level”, says Cafeteria Manager Hakob Sulyan.
The staff consists of 28 workers (locals), 12 of which are cooks. All the cooks have their areas of expertise – some specialise in salads and garnishes, some in meat dishes, others in desserts and cookies. There is also a trained nutritionist who oversees the quality of the food. Cafeteria Manager Hakob Sulyan is a certified Food Protection Manager by ServSafe accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Sanitation and Hygiene
Sanitation and hygiene are taken very seriously by the staff and all the required standards are maintained. All the workers wear proper clothing and hats; the tables and dishes are disinfected and cleaned three times a day, after each meal.
Students Jobs in the Cafeteria
Students are regularly involved in the cafeteria. As part of their student jobs, they either assist in cooking or serving food, which they do with great pleasure.
There is a special Food Committee consisting of students and staff, which monitors food-related issues, discusses and improves the cafeteria service as well as proposing new menu items according to the needs of the students.
With faculty living on and around campus students have a powerful support network in place. We place a high priority on building relationships and the students increase their ability to forge relationships with people who come from very different places, speak different languages and have different values. Driven by a commitment to the social and emotional wellness of our students, the residential life programme provides students the chance to live the values that are central to the ethos of UWC community.
Students live in comfortable residences called “toons”, which in Armenian means “house”. Usually there are two or four students living in one room.
Toon Parents, the staff members assigned to the residences, support and maintain a safe and healthy environment for the students.
UWC Mission Statement and Sustainability
The UWC movement aims to make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. Respect for the environment is also at the core of the values that guide and shape the educational curriculum. We encourage our students to live locally and think globally. Our efforts in working towards a sustainable future are therefore guided by local initiatives, working closely with local communities, while at the same time linking them to the larger Sustainable Development Goals that the international community stands committed to achieve globally.
Engaging in Partnership
We make every effort to coordinate our work on sustainable development with the local community in Dilijan and Tavush Region. We also liaise with schools across UWC and other systems to learn about best practices and apply them here.
Energy and Water Saving Campaign
Our fossil fuel consumption on the campus is relatively high due to the harsh climatic conditions through prolonged and severe winter months. Added to this, the Tavush Region as a whole and Dilijan town in particular experience severe potable water shortage through spring and early summer before the snow in the higher reaches melts and flows down the streams to the reservoir that feeds the water supply network. Our Energy and Water Saving Campaign is motivated by the need to find reliable and sustainable long-term solutions.
No to Plastics
As a policy, UWC Dilijan is committed to phasing out the use of plastics on its campus. As a first step in this direction, the College caterer has been persuaded to replace plastic bags for packaging with biodegradable paper bags. Тhe next step is to stop using plastic lunch boxes to deliver meals to the Мedical Centre. They will be replaced with reusable stainless steel food containers. Moreover, the College has dispensed with providing bottled water in single-use plastic bottles. Students are now encouraged to bring their reusable water bottles to carry water on school trips. In addition, a project is currently underway to eliminate the use of household plastic bags from circulation and replace them with reusable cloth bags. The main goal is to turn the campus into a zone free from household plastic bags. It is planned to gradually extend this practice to the Dilijan community.
SmartApaga Compressible Containers
Till such time that we are able to totally eliminate the use of plastics on our campus, safe waste disposal of plastic products will remain a lingering issue. On graduation in 2017 two UWCD alumni – Cedric Solms from Germany and Misha Zamskoy from Russia – started a novel venture in safe waste disposal here in Armenia and the enterprise runs by the name of SmartApaga LLC. This venture aims at bringing together consumers, retailers, transporters and recyclers into one green community. It is a unique win-win programme where everyone can be rewarded for recycling. The list of organisations with which the school cooperates for waste recycling is under continuous review to ensure the best outcomes.
In 2022 as a first we installed solar panels connecting to the general campus power supply system. As a result, during the summer months, solar panels made it possible to cover about 10% of the total energy consumption of the campus. In the next stage we are planning to install street and outdoor lights supplied through solar energy. We plan to continue and expedite this work in order to use a wider range of renewable energy sources and reduce the carbon footprint created by burning fossil fuels.
Please see Our Green Campus page for more information.