Elmo Nikula sitting at the end of a long metal bench smiling.

Welcome to the Student Union of the University of Vaasa!

Welcome to the University of Vaasa, new student! Elmo Nikula, the Chair of the Executive Board of the Student Union of the University of Vaasa encourages you to be active in your own Student Union. There are many different ways to be an active member - run for the Representative Council or get involved in an organization operating within VYY, there are many options for you to choose from!

Should I move to Loftis or Ahvenranta? When will I get my student overalls and how does the public transport work in Vaasa (tip: a bicycle will come in handy).

It’s that time of the year when we welcome all the new university students to our Student Union community! Congratulations to all who received a place of study. Whether you study economics, technology, administrative sciences, or communications, you are a part of the Student Union in the University of Vaasa, or more familiarly - VYY.


What exactly is the Student Union?

The Student Union is a public administration organization, which existence is prescribed by law. Roughly capsulized, section 46 of the Universitites Act states the following: 

A student union consists of the students of a university and is self-governing. The student union liaises with and on behalf of its members and promotes their societal, social and intellectual aspirations and those relating to studies and the status of students in society. The student union also participates in the implementation of the educational mission of the university by preparing students for an active, informed and critical citizenship.

The duties of the student union are in particular to nominate student representatives to the administrative bodies of the university, nominate student representatives to the student financial aid board of the university, and contribute, where needed, to the performance of the tasks relating to students' primary healthcare.

There are 14 Student Unions in total in Finland. Together the Student Unions represent about 140,000-degree students in Finland. They use their voice through the umbrella organization - the National Union of University Students in Finland or SYL. 

Thanks to the advocacy work of SYL, a student grant is added to the student's account every month, every meal in the campus restaurant receives substantial meal support, and the Student Health Foundation (FSHS) was established for student health care.


How does the Student Union work?

In the Student Union, the Representative Council is the highest decision-making body. The Representative Council is elected every two years and 30 members are elected. The Representative Council directs and supervises the day-to-day operational activities of the Executive Board of the Student Union, and decides on, for example, the membership fee, budget, and strategy, as well as appoint the Executive Board, and the Administration Student Representatives. The next Representative Council Elections are held this autumn, and it is important for you to cast your vote! 

The Representative Council decides on the bigger picture and general policies of the Student Union, but the Executive Board implements the decisions to the daily activities. The Student Union's Executive Board is elected every year. According to the rules, the Representative Council elects the formator of the Executive Board, whose task is to compile and make a proposal on the Executive Board based on the wishes of the Representative Council. Currently, VYY's Executive Board is divided into two sectors of the same size; the advocacy sector and the community sector.

The advocacy sector focuses on educational, social, and municipal policies, while the community sector focuses on events, supporting organizations, and business collaboration. The board is assisted by four full-time staff members, like the Secretary-General and other specialists, and various project staff throughout the year, such as coordinators for the tutoring project, Contact Recruiting Fair, and Boom City Appro. 

There are many tasks, but only one goal: that all students at the University of Vaasa have the happiest, safest, and most rewarding student life possible.


How can I make a difference in my Student Union?

  • Vote in the Representative Council Elections or run for the Council!

  • Get involved in a organization operating within VYY.

  • Apply to be an Administration Student Representative (or HallOpEd, abbreviated from hallinnon opiskelijaedustajat) in the fall!

  • Apply to the Executive Board, participate in the tutor project, or join VYY's event team.

  • Attend meetings of the Committee of Student Interests (or EVVK, abbreviated from Edunvalvontavaliokunta).

  • Come chat or say hi at the events, send an email to me at elmo.nikula@vyy.fi, or use the feedback form. (Anonymous feedback is also welcomed, but please note that it is not possible to answer it)

VYY exists for its members, which means that your opinion and wishes have a lot of importance. I recommend following us on Instagram or liking us on Facebook to stay up to date.


Have a fun and safe autumn!


Elmo Nikula

Chair of the Executive Board