25 April 2023 Colleges Host Olympiada of Spoken and Written Russian

HWS welcomed 23 students and 11 faculty members from five academic institutions to participate in language competitions.

The Russian Area Studies program hosted the Olympiada of Spoken and Written Russian for New York State Colleges and Universities on Saturday, April 15.

The Colleges welcomed 23 students and 11 faculty members from Binghamton University, Colgate, Hamilton, Vassar and West Point. Representing HWS, Robert Maulucci ’26, Jacob Linares ’25 and Jackson Gellert ’25 competed and received a certificate of participation.

Students were drawn from first- and second-year Russian language courses and competed in a variety of events, which included reciting poetry, giving autobiographical monologue, reading an unfamiliar text, as well as a written grammar test.

Associate Professor of Russian Area Studies Christopher Lemelin organized the event and Associate Professor of Russian Area Studies Kristen Welsh graded the first-year written exams. 

Even though the Olympiada is framed as a competition, its mission is to engender a sense of achievement, self-confidence, and community among students of Russian.

“This is a great event that has grown significantly since its early years, and it was exciting that HWS could host its post-Covid revival," says Lemelin. "And the students deserve enormous credit for the extra effort they put into preparing for it. While the community and confidence building aspects are the more important goals for the Olympiada as a whole, I think the competitive aspect really motivates the students to do their best.”

The event concluded with a lunch and awards ceremony, where President Mark D. Gearan and Provost and Dean of Faculty Sarah Kirk gave remarks. The food at the luncheon featured such Russian fare as borsch and pelmeni (Russian dumplings).

The Olympiada was first held in 2001, with Hobart and William Smith serving as one of its founding members. Traditionally an annual event, this year marked the first time the Olympiada has been held since the Covid pandemic. 

Top: From left: Jackson Gellert '25, Jacob Linares '25 and Robert Maulucci '26.