Association activities – a waste of time or the best thing ever?

As we approach the end of this year, many student associations have started preparing for the year ahead. Action plans and budgets are being drafted, and general autumn meetings get closer. Application periods for different tasks in associations’ boards and committees are often open in late autumn or at the turn of the year. Many of you might consider applying for some kinds of association activities.

Why is it worth it, then? The whole student community runs on the basis of volunteer work. All boards, working groups, clubs and associations are able to function because of the fact that students are interested in the chance to make an impact and to give their contribution to the community. For many association actives, the most rewarding thing is to see people really enjoy the activities they’ve organised. Volunteering in associations can count as a hobby in the same way that music or football does. Volunteer work is also almost always guaranteed to teach you many valuable skills, and you may even find friends for life! The best memories and lessons learned for us, the writers of this blog entry, have been through association activities.

Some examples on things we’ve learned:

-organisation skills and leadership
-teamwork skills
-self-confidence, presentation skills, decision-making
-how to combine cells in Excel
-whether or not it is advisable to use a smoke machine in a bomb shelter
-the significance of a ‘thank you’

Someone looking to join association activities for the first time might feel a bit nervous. Will I make new friends? Will it be too difficult for me? Do I have enough time? Many of these fears are unnecessary, because all association work is based on teamwork and even the smallest of contributions are important. TREY also gives support and counselling to associations, so even if you face challenges with your new responsibilities, help is near! You can always get in touch with TREY’s employees or members of the board.

TREY is also looking for people to join different groups and committees at the end of the year and in the beginning of next year. You can participate in organising the student union’s events in the event organising group Kollektiivi, or have your say on TREY’s environmental policies and operations in the environment working group. The application period for TREY’s Wappu project employees, Wappu directors, is also open at the turn of the year!

As you can see, there are lots of different things to do in the student community and almost endless possibilities. However, even though we want to encourage you to join association work with an open mind, the most important thing is for you to take care of your own well-being and to find the way to participate and contribute to the community that is the most suitable for you.

– Hilla and Jussi, volunteers sector