Although the history of TREY only begun in 2019, the student unions of Tampere have long and eventful pasts.
The merged student unions
TREY, the Student Union of Tampere University, was born when two student unions of Tampere were merged in the beginning of 2019. The merger of the two student unions, TTYY and Tamy, into a new student union begun in 2017, when the Tampere3 project passed to Parliament. As the new university begun its operations on 1 January 2019, the new student union had also prepared its foundations. Tamy and TTYY had started preparing for the merger in the spring of 2017, and had hired a joint merger coordinator, who started working in September 2017. The first phase of the merger was to construct the joint action plan project called Yhdistyneet ylioppilaskunnat, which both student unions accepted for 2018 in their fall meetings.
The major policies of the merger were drawn by the Council of Representatives of both student unions, whereas the everyday integration was coordinated by a steering group called “Viisikko”, consisting of secretary-generals and chairs of the executive boards, as well as merger seminars organised between the offices. The employees of the merger project were the merger coordinator Jari-Pekka Kanniainen and the brand coordinator Rosa Lehtinen.
The first milestone of spring 2018 was the new student union’s historic Central Election Committee’s constitutive meeting, which was held on 12 January 2018, and it was the first official meeting of the student union.
During 2018, the student unions increased cooperation, for instance by organising joint events and collective communication. Significant events were the first joint Organisations Kick-off and Newcomers’ Orienteering. The administrations, regulations, office procedures, member services and various other matters had to be gone over one by one thoroughly. Both student unions have long traditions and ways of operating that have formed during the decades, and they now had to be brought together in the best possible way.
The starting point for the preparatory work of new student union was hearing the community’s voice and building the new student union based on that voice. During 2018, a wide collection of data was gathered; the expectations for the new student union were investigated by carrying out workshops, questionnaires and interviews for students and associations, as well as the council, board and employees of the student unions of the time. Based on this data that represented the community’s will, TREY’s brand and first strategy were drafted.
The first Representative Elections of the Student Union of Tampere University were held in September 2018. A whopping 424 candidates ran, and they formed 26 electoral alliances and 3 electoral rings. The turnout of the election was 38.92%. The first Council of Representatives came to order in the council chamber of the city of Tampere on 9 October 2018 in an eight-hour meeting, where the Council of Representatives decided on the most important rules of the student union. During September 2018, in five meetings, the first council decided on the student union’s name, regulations, standing orders, member fee, policies and strategy and many other matters. The preparatory work was executed by the old student union offices and the Preparatory Committee nominated by the Council of Representatives, comprised of three board members of both TTYY and Tamy. The merger coordinator operated as a secretary in the meetings of the Council of Representatives, Tamy’s Secretary-General Sanni Pietilä operated as the secretary of the Preparatory Committee and TTYY’s Secretary-General Jukka Koivisto operated as a secretary in the Administrative Committee, comprised of the members of the council.
In the fall meeting of the council, on 11 November 2018, the first Secretary General, Venla Monter, and an Executive Board of ten people were chosen for the student union. Paula Sajaniemi was elected as TREY’s first Chair of the Executive Board.
The creation of the new student union was celebrated in December with TREY’s first event, TREYHEM. The third joint employee for the student union, Helmi Mäntysaari, was hired to organise the event. TREYHEM brought together students and associations of Tampere to Kuivaamo. The event had different activities and programme organised by the associations and TREY’s new visual look was introduced for the first time. The night went out with a bang with a performance by the band Gasellit.
The new Executive Board, Secretary General and other people of the student union started the new era of the student union on 1 January 2019 in Rakennustalo on Hervanta campus. At first, the service offices still remained in Teollisuustalo at Tamy’s old office and in the main building’s hall in Hervanta at the old office of TTYY. The city centre service office was later moved to the main building of the campus.
Tamy’s history begun on 22 November 1925, when the Civic College’s student association started its operations. Every citizen who had indicated adequate requirements for studies, regardless of their educational background, could apply for the Civic College. This was new in Finland.
The student association changed its name to student union in 1926 and the Civil College its name to the School of Social Sciences in 1930. During the first decade of activity, the societal tensions of Finland could be seen among the students, especially between the socialist and patriotic clubs. Correspondingly, the war time brought students closer together. The strong political atmosphere of the 1930s took a turn after the war to unified activity in the spirit of reconstruction.
In 1945, the School of Social Sciences’ student union (YKO) faced the School of Social Science’s Ylioppilaat (YY) as a competitor, and it became the student union in 1949. These two student organisations worked side by side until 1971, when the student body merged with the student union.
In the 1950s, the School of Social Sciences begun to look for new facilities and considered moving away from Helsinki, because the number of students was increasing fast and the University of Helsinki was competing for the same students with their teaching schedule. The most tempting of all cities ended up being Tampere, and the decision to move was made in 1956 and the teaching begun in 1960.
During the move to Tampere, many student-owned institutions, like TOAS and Juvenes Oy, were established and are still active today. The student union improved its own administration in 1962 by establishing a Council of Representatives, the highest decision-making body.
The School of Social Sciences changed its name to University of Tampere in 1966. Simultaneously, the student union of the School of Social Sciences became the student union of the University of Tampere, Tamy for short. In 1960, the needs for development of the everyday life of students and supervision of interests led to actions that were considered even radical. One example was the payment strike in 1968, when the students protested the quick rise of the tuition fee. The increase was reversed. The strike also had effects on the renewal of the university’s administration, because in 1969, the students had a representative in all bodies of the university. Having student representation in the administration was ahead of its time because in cities such as Helsinki, the students only got a similar status in the beginning of 1990. The nationalisation of the university in 1974 was also a change strongly driven by students.
From the beginning of the 1960s until the end of the 1970s, a strong political tone affected the politics of the Council of Representatives, but at the turn of the 1980s, independent groups started to gain support. The number of candidates and the voter turnout decreased in the 1980s, as various one-matter movements and other external activity outside the university attracted active students. Solidarity, peace and development cooperation were emphasised in the international activity beginning from the 1980s. The organisation of the Women’s culture days begun in 1982, and in environmental politics, the focus was on preserving the architectural cultural heritage of Tampere.
The student-owned Yo-talo offered plenty of recreational activities: at the end of the 1970s, there were activities and events for every day of the week. Yo-talo brought together various cultural people. Tampere Film Festival, which is still organised annually, originated from the movie club Monroe that started at Yo-talo.
Halfway through the 1980s, the activity of the student union was embellished by big projects, such as building University of Tampere’s academic sports service centre Atalpa and Radio 957, of which Tamy was the main owner from 1987 to 1992. The radio project created financial issues, because running a commercial radio was a more difficult business than expected.
The purchasing power of the student financial aid decreased all through the 1980s. Tamy kept social affairs matters in the limelight with projects such as the subsistence days of 1989, where basic income was a topic of discussion and people were instructed on how to apply for social assistance. In the 1990s, the depression and scarcity hit the students hard. The most central goal of students was reached in 1992 when the Act on Financial Aid for Students came into force, and the loan-orientated nature of the financial aid was decreased.
In the turn of the millennium, environmental matters were emphasised in Tamy’s operations. In city politics, better cycling possibilities were promoted and at the university, the principles of sustainable development and responsibility were implemented.
At the beginning of the 21st century, a nationally significant topic of conversation was the limitations on study time, which were opposed strongly. In 2004, about 10,000 students marched in Helsinki and before that, a crowd of thousands marched in Tampere. Parliament finally decided on the limitations on study times in 2005.
Many people influential in politics, culture, science and art have been a part of Tamy. During its history, Tamy has been involved in influencing many benefits and subsidies that might even be self-evident to students today. It has also boldly taken a stand on societal matters locally, nationally and globally.
TTYY’s history officially began on 29 September 1965, when 78 students gathered in the new lecture hall of the School of Commercial Training in Kaleva, Tampere to select a board called Tampereen teekkarien raati from their midst. Back then, TKY, the student union of the Technical University, also operated as the student union of TTY’s current form. The form of the board that was selected was, therefore, a preliminary stage of the student union, TKY’s local office.
The first representative elections of Tampereen teekkarit were held in 19-20 November 1968. Back then, the Council of Representatives had 35 members. Tampereen teekkarit made even further progress in 1969, when it got its first (part-time) Secretary-General. The association was later authorised to send one observer representative to SYL’s union meetings, and two to STOL’s (the union of technical students of Finland).
The student union of the Tampere University of Technology was founded with a regulation in November 1972. The activity of the technical students of Tampere was so independent at this point that the change to their own student union was very controlled and almost unnoticeable.
The instability of the world in the ’70s brought with it a political wave, which could also be seen in the increase of parties in TTKY’s Council of Representatives. For the more political list of candidates, the goals included strong stands on the matters of the world and Finland. At the same time, TTKY also became more active than before in national student influencing through SYL.
In the 1980s, the independent had the majority arrangement in the activity of the Council of Representatives again, but at the same time TTKY had a crisis: Almost no one was interested in the student union anymore. The crisis culminated in the representative elections of 1985, where the number of candidates was exactly the same as the available seats in the Council of Representatives.
The student union’s office was moved to the main building at the turn of 1997. Before moving office, the opening hours became fixed as the familiar 8.30-16.00.