The year 2023 has shown itself as quite an action-packed year so far. I am extremely excited about what this year will bring! The parliamentary elections are of course a huge topic nationally, and there are many thrilling things happening locally, as well. Tampere University will elect the president for the next five-year term. TREY is celebrating its fifth anniversary year and it will certainly bring many festivities.
Elections and influencing
The parliamentary election campaign of higher education students saw the light of day on Monday, and it holds the name Let’s raise students above the poverty line. In the campaign, the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) and the National Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (SAMOK) are calling for an increase of 100 euros in the monthly student financial aid. During the campaign, the student organizations want to bring awareness on the effects of a low income on, among other things, students’ well-being, mental health, and the progress of their studies.
In SYL’s parliamentary election programme, influencing goals have been set for, among other things, improving the status and livelihood of students, solving the ongoing mental health crisis, and securing funding for education.
Last year, TREY actively met with parliamentary election candidates together with the Students’ Union of Tampere University of Applied Sciences (Tamko). In these discussions, free and high-quality education, YTHS funding and the status of international students have been strong themes of discussion, in addition to those mentioned above.
This spring, the parliamentary elections will be visible all over: we will organize happenings on campuses, write opinion pieces to newspapers and have engaging campaigns on social media. I’m going to say the phrase that will be repeated many times in the spring: remember to vote!
Festivities and new spaces
This autumn, TREY’s five-year birthday is coming up! I started working in the student union during the merging year 2018 and the road so far has been quite a ride. I look forward to the anniversary party in October, when we get to celebrate in a big way what we have been through so far and more importantly, the bright future we have ahead of us.
The year of celebration will certainly bring with it other festivities and the development of operations to be even better. What is the theme of the Biggest Wappu in Finland for the anniversary year? What will the better than ever Newcomers’ Orientation be like? Is this the year when the student union cockade can finally be attached to the cap? Stay on this channel to get the answer to these tickling questions, among other things!
Let’s continue with the question line for a moment! Did you know that TREY has now moved every year of its operation? The central office of TREY’s board and staff has moved from the Pienteollisuustalo building in the city center to the Hervanta campus’ rakennustalo (apparently you are not supposed to translate ‘rakennustalo’ to building building) and from there to the main building. The service offices of both the city center campus and Hervanta campus have been housed in a few different locations. The most recent move took place last week, when our specialist in member services Helky and Hervanta’s service desk moved to larger premises in the main building. The concrete counter received as a gift from Blebeijit was moved by ten people, and the transfer of the counter concreted the beginning of yet another new era. Next up is arranging and decorating the new service office to make it cozy – so towards Ikea and beyond! The new, larger space enables students to also hang out in the space while waiting for their turn to receive a student card sticker, van keys or board games to borrow.
This year the University should show what is made of
The winds of change are also blowing at the University, as the president for the next five-year term will be chosen for the University in March. At the end of the year, there will also be turnover in the rest of the management, when the terms of office of the provost, one of the vice presidents and the deans end. The choice of the upcoming term’s president has understandably sparked discussion in the community – and that’s fine, after all, the president is in a significant position as the trendsetter of the university’s direction, and a community unifier or divider. The student union hopes that the president will listen to and unite our community and invest in work well-being, because after the growing pains of university mergers, the COVID-19 pandemic and cooperation negotiations, there is understandable fatigue, frustration, and dissatisfaction in our community.
I myself am a workplace steward of the student union’s employees and a member of our health and safety team, so it should be clear that I am also very interested in what is happening on the side of the university’s personnel regarding the status of employees and well-being at work. I am quite concerned about the results of the University’s latest well-being survey and the reports of the University’s workplace stewards. 54% of the respondents would not recommend our university as an employer, and less than a third of the staff feel that there is enough working time available to perform assigned tasks. The management must take corrective actions to earn the community’s trust again, to improve the University’s position as an employer, and to repair the damage done to our community by the pandemic, the cooperation negotiations, and the campus facility reductions. There is certainly plenty to do, and the student union is happy to bring students’ views to the development work.
Whatever joys, sorrows, difficulties or triumphs this year may bring, it is certain that the student union will be a vocal defender and guardian of the students’ interests. The only constant is change – and the fact that TREY will always be here for us students.
– The writer is TREY’s specialist in communications and advocacy, who in a few weeks has been working in the student union for five years, and wouldn’t change a day.
More in-depth reading:
Higher education students call for a €100 increase in monthly student financial aid (SYL webpage 24.1.2023)
SYL’s parliamentary election programme has been published (SYL webpage 27.4.2023)
Chief Shop Stewards’ Report on the Impacts of Co-Operation Negotiations: Increase in workload and ethical stress, weakened services (Intranet 7.11.2022)