The Biggest Wappu in Finland started on Thursday 15 of April and unfortunately there have been shortcomings regarding following the COVID-guidelines during the first week of Wappu. During last week and the weekend, many groups of students gathered at the Hervanta campus front lawn, and the guidelines and restrictions given by the University and Regional State Administrative Agency, such as the safe distance of 2 metres, were not followed.
The Biggest Wappu in Finland is an event ensemble organised by the Student Union and we take responsibility on our part that Wappu is organised in a safe and responsible way. We will examine our own actions regarding, for example, the sale of the Wappu overall badge. The events of Wappu are organised according to the restrictions and guidelines and taking part in them is therefore safe on the organiser’s part. However, this also requires that each participant contributes to the safety of the events. The guidelines and restrictions of the University and authorities have to be followed during Wappu as well. Mostly, we students have acted in an exemplary way and we thank you all for that.
Wappu is pivotal to our sense of community and the prevention of loneliness, and we hold it in great importance that Wappu can be organised despite the prevalent situation. The pandemic has lasted for over a year and it has had a painful effect on students. We understand the need for encounters with fellow students. However, none of these is reason enough to violate the COVID-regulations and to cause possible harm to one’s health.
There have been many discussions regarding the way students act during the pandemic and now it is our time to show that students can be responsible during Wappu. Unofficial gatherings represent our community, along with events, and the way individual students behave can reflect on how we students and our student culture are perceived.
During the pandemic, students’ access to campus areas has been limited according to the University’s COVID-guidelines. The Student Union’s mission is to protect the interests of students. We advocate for students in the University community’s pandemic group, for instance, and our aim is that students are taken into account in the University’s guidelines. Breaking these guidelines can lead to limiting the access rights of students further and closing the association rooms, which would have a negative impact on the students’ well-being and the activities of our student associations. The indoor areas of the University can only be used for necessary activity and for example the activities surrounding Wappu events are not reason enough to enter the campus facilities. Following the safety guidelines is important so that students can access the campuses in the future as well, since the ability to be on campus supports the studies, association activities and well-being of students. How we as students act has a great impact on how and when the campuses will be reopened when we recover from the pandemic.
We hope that all students follow the guidelines of the University and the authorities more closely in the future so that we all can continue to celebrate Wappu safely. Celebrating Wappu and taking part in the Teemutour is possible in a remote way, so take that chance! Wappu is the best time for students and when celebrated safely, it is the glimpse of light we need during this situation.