Advocacy sector’s autumn
Elmo Nikula, Chair of the Executive Board
The autumn of the Student Union has been quite hectic. We started out in a demanding situation as new assembly restrictions were imposed in August. It forced us to postpone Boom City Appro once again and make huge changes in our tutorproject.
When restrictions were lifted, we shifted gears and ever since autumn has been full of events, statements, collaboration with other organizations in Vaasa, and participating in various levels of university’s administration.
Representative Council elections took place in October-November, with polling percentage rising to the highest in decades. Great that university democracy is alive and evolving, and thanks to everyone who voted!
At the General Assembly of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) and the General Assembly of the Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL), great new Board members were selected to represent us, students, for next year.
Thank you to all students this year on behalf of the entire Student Union, and good luck for 2022!
Roosa Kesonen, Campus and Municipal Affairs, Sustainability
In the autumn we were active with the advocacy work after the municipal elections by meeting with the council groups. During the meetings, we made contacts with new municipal decision-makers and sought to influence the city’s strategy. In November, VYY made a statement on the cancellation of the campus line.
On the campus development, the focus has been on associations’ facilities. Together with the associations, we collected information about the current facilities and future needs, which have served as a basis for advocacy work towards the University.
We decided to move the calculation of the carbon footprint for next year for many practical reasons. The carbon footprint will be calculated during 2022 as an integral part of everyday activities, and it is made possible by the work we have done this year. The Committee of Students Interests met three times during the autumn.
The World’s Happiest Students campaign continued successfully. We organized a Dill Macaroni pop-up, Happiness Night, Happiness Walk, and 1000 Reasons for Happiness. In the end, the campaign strengthened cooperation between the student communities in Vaasa and showed that smooth cooperation is possible even with language barriers.
The World’s Happiest Students campaign brought together all the student communities in Vaasa.
Vilja Tallgren, Educational Affairs
In Educational Affairs, the main focus this autumn has been in returning from distance learning back to the campus. We have discussed and succeeded to widen library and campus open hours. We researched the current state of used teaching methods and published a statement about teaching methods used in spring 2022.
I have also continued working with the system renewal. Especially implementation of Tuudo and the future plans of Moodle. It has been great to work with the IT team and be part of the planning of the future Moodle front page.
In addition, together with the subject organizations, we have drafted a proposal for the schedules for exams, and we are hoping to get official guidance on announcing the exam schedules and the time for the re-examinations. I am also collecting data on study credits from trusteeship positions in other universities, and I will make a proposal about the credits available and the reasons for them.
During the autumn we met with the council groups of the city of Vaasa, and gave them a reminder about our student union and students in Vaasa.
Wiktoria Ripatti, Social Affairs
This autumn's big project has been updating the equality declaration. The Committee of Student Interests addressed the topic at a meeting where we got valuable opinions from the associations. Results of the equality survey were worrying: 2/3 of respondents told that they feel lonely always, often, or sometimes. Over 20 % don’t feel like they belong in a community, and 7 % of respondents have encountered harassment. Only 40% knew about Student Union's harassment contact person. Answers will be taken into account while updating the declaration.
We took part in Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL) general assembly. We got an “OLL trophy” prize for the work we have done for the sports services of the University of Vaasa.
In communication, I have mostly made content from events and helped our communications specialist by publishing content on the weekends.
Lauri Tuohiniemi, Specialist in Students’ Interests
The autumn semester with all the different aspects of advocacy has been very hectic and more eventful than I could have expected. Even though I have more than a little experience from higher education institutes and the annual cycle of student organizations, this semester went by so quickly that only now, at the end of the year I notice that the semester is truly ending.
Overall, this semester has had lots of new things and ideas going on. We have worked on creating a carbon footprint calculator, and next year we will be able to calculate our carbon footprint. We have improved our communications about the harassment contact person activity. We have also applied for continuity for the Mikä neuvoksi -wellbeing project and we are currently waiting for funding decisions from the education ministry quite anxiously.
My first year working for VYY has been very fun, rewarding, and full of action.