As an organization, part of the executive branch of the central government of Republic of Bulgaria, the National Student House has the statute of a governmental body under the Ministry of Education and Science. It is responsible for the execution of the governmental policy in the field of higher education, with focus on enriching the educational, cultural, and social experience of students beyond their universities / on-campus experiences.
The National Student House /NSH/ is located in the heart of Bulgarian capital – Sofia on “Narodno sabranie” sq. №10, among the Houses of Parliament, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Bulgarian Academy of Science and “Alexandar Nevsky” cathedral. It is situated on the square where the “King Liberator” monument raises. The building of the Student House is a public state property, officially proclaimed as an architectural monument of culture / cultural heritage. In 2018, 85 years since its establishment were celebrated.
The building was constructed in 1933. Two years earlier its foundation stone had been laid with the common efforts of all students, university lecturers and active part of the society. Long-lived concept was accomplished. After 30 years of campaigning and fund-raising, Bulgarian student society finally had its own home with a promising future ahead of it.
Nowadays in the National Student House there are ten public studios and offices, which provide a wide variety of services; there are four spacious halls for rehearsals – for student and youth performances; there’s an art gallery; multi-functional conference halls. Different student groups and organizations are headquartered at the NSH. These are the Academic Folklore Ensemble, the Academic choir “Angel Manolov”, Theatre – studio “Studentina”, the Student Computer Arts Society, the Bulgarian Student Union, AIESEC, the National Student Confederation, the National Assembly of the Student Councils in Republic of Bulgaria, National UNESCO Club for Scientific Expeditions, among others.
Part of the NSH is its Center for Academic Production (former Academic Center for Literature and Culture), which arranges events in the field of art and science, debates on of humanitarian matters, disseminates cultural and academic information, publishes books written by/for students and young university lecturers..
The Student House in selected dates and events:
- 1904 – Stilian Chilingirov-chairman of Student Club, with the support of the Minister of Education prof. Ivan D. Shishmanov, established a fund for construction of a Students’ Club, with initial capital of 10 000 lv., granted by the Ministry of Education. Sofia Mayor ceded a place for the building to be constructed.
- 12 June 1910 – On initiative of Toma V. Tomov , chairman of the Students’ Club. a citizen committee was established to lead the cause. Its statute was affirmed by order No 1516 (from 14 May 1911) of the Ministry of Education.
- 6 February 1931 – The XXII Ordinary National Assembly voted a law that ceded a new place to the Sofia University’s rector for the construction of the Student House. It had a surface of 1396,50 m2, along with buildings, situated on 33 “Aksakov” str.
- 30 May 1931 – Sofia’s Metropolitan bishop Stefan led an official liturgy to celebrate the lay of the foundation stone of the Student House building. A Students’ Construction Committee to the Bulgarian National Students’ Union (BNSS) managed a nation-wide fundraising campaign for the construction of the Student House. The International Student Association for Mutual Aid /ISS/, based in Geneva, granted 15 000 USD to support the cause.
- 1933 – Despite being incomplete, the Student House started operations. Students’ canteen „Mensa Academica“ and the editor’s office of “Studentska Borba” newspaper were situated at the Student House. First art groups and music ensembles such as the Academic Choir started their rehearsals. That’s why 1993 is considered as an year of the Student House establishment.
- Late 1930’s – King Boris III granted the request of the Bulgarian National Students’ Union, the Student House to be named after the newborn successor to the throne. It was called Student House “Knjaz Simeon Turnovski”.
- 1944 – 1952 – The building on 10 “Narodno Sabranie” sq. ceased being a Student House. The Russian Army Headquarters and the National Army Theatre were consecutively located there.
- 1957 – A Council of Ministers’ Decree (No 159a of 5.07.1957) for establishment of a Students’ House of Culture was pronounced; as of 1977 the institution was named a National Students’ House of Culture and was operated by the formal youth organization of the State, i.e. the Communist Youth Union “Dimitrov“ (DKMS). It coordinated the work of newly established Student Houses across the country.
- 1958 – The art groups of the reestablished Students’ House of Culture performed their first concert on the fete of May 24th. Among them were the renowned Academic Choir and some newly created formations, such as the Academic Dance Ensemble and the Student Symphony Orchestra. A student theatre, photo and video clubs, the Club of Young Writers-Students ”Dimcho Debelianov” were among the others to perform on the stages and work in the halls of the Student House during the communist era.
- 4 December 1991 – Council of Ministers Decree No 233 was issued for opening of a budget account under the Ministry of Education and Science to finance the Student House. The decree deprived the “Bulgarian Democratic Youth” association (successor of the Communist Youth Union) of the right to govern the Student House as a state property and granted the right to the Ministry of Education and Science in order to satisfy students’ social and cultural needs.
- 5 April 1999 – A Council of Ministers’ Decree No 65 for the establishment of the National Student House under the Ministry of Education and Science was issued.
- 2002 – 30th of May, which is the date of laying of its foundation stone, was proclaimed as the official holiday of the Student House.
- 2018 – The Student House celebrated its 85th anniversary and started a campaign for rebuilding its main concert/theater halls, destroyed after a fire in 2001.
Public centers, studios and offices, located at the National Student House:
- Academic Center for European Integration, established and managed by the National Student Confederation;
- National Center for Social Projects and Office for work with disadvantaged students, established and managed by the Bulgarian Student Union;
- Student Computer Arts & Media Center, established and managed by the Student Computer Arts Society;
- National Career Information & Development Center, established and managed by the Student Computer Arts Society;
- National Center for Student Collaboration, established and managed by the Assembly of Student Councils (NASC/NPSS);
- Center for Professional Development of Economics Graduates, established and managed by AIESEC Bulgaria;
- Student Center for Theatre and Performance Arts, established and managed by the Regional Balkans’ Center for University Theatre, i.e. “Studentina“ theater-studio;
- International Center for Programmes in the area of Education, Science and Culture, established and managed by the National UNESCO Club for Scientific Expeditions;
- Center for International Student Collaboration, established and managed by the Academic Association for International Development;
- Center for Academic Production of the National Student House.
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Hristian Daskalov is the Director of the National Student House. He is an author of the books „Academia 4.0 – University on the Blockchain“ (2018) and “Stakeholder Management in Higher Education, Research & Innovation” (2014). Expert on stakeholder management at the Brain Workshop Institute (Sofia) with vast research background, incl. as a consultant to the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy on the National Research & Innovation Smart Specialization Strategy (S3). Leading the Open Source University (OS.UNIVERSITY) ed.tech project, intended to introduce global education and career development opportunities, based on open source blockchain technologies. Holds bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Public Administration, as well as master’s degree in Project Management from the New Bulgarian University. An award-winning doctoral candidate at the Technical University of Sofia, Riga Technical University & Brno University of Technology.
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