Well, hello there!
A year ago I was frustrated with the activities of our student union, it’s transparency and necessity and the details concerning these matters. In order to get some answers to these burning questions and because I was so pissed off, I decided to apply for TREY Board. In this blog post I will go through these questions I had and also some themes I found from Jodel. You can think of this blog as an interview with myself, as a rant or whatever rocks your boat. As long as you read it. :D
“Why doesn’t TREY have an anonymous feedback channel?”
We had, actually. But the messaged that we received through this feedback channel were mainly inappropriate, void of any actual content, or spam outside the community. At worst, people were sending literal death threats aimed at individual board members. I think it goes without saying why we aren’t using that channel anymore. :D
If you have feedback on the activities of the student union, and you want your feedback to be considered, please write it down appropriately. Please contact the board member or specialist who is in charge of the matter in question, or alternatively send a message to email@example.com email address. We also ask for feedback separately about our events.
“People at TREY do nothing but stand around looking important and do nothing that is actually useful.”
I actually agreed with this statement before I applied for the board myself. The student union’s work is done behind the scenes preventively well in advance before the shit hits the fan. For example, as the university promotes its projects, the students’ voice is heard through the student union already in the preparatory phase. TREY is like the IT department of student activities; when things are working as they should, people start questioning if it’s even necessary. When something doesn’t work, the same happens again.
TREY’s office has about 25 people working in the board and on an employment contact. This small group of people is mainly seen during the year facilitating events and trainings, at anniversary cocktail events, in press releases and on social media. So, it’s true that the kind of events where TREY is present can seem overly official and rigid. We have developed the everyday communications especially on Instagram but of course there’s always room for improvement! If these things feel important to you, you should definitely apply as TREY’s communications board member.
“I pay 65€ for the student union membership but I get nothing in return. You should stop wasting money and focus on things that actually benefit all students.”
Most of TREY’s activities are not directly visible to the student. We develop education and teaching, housing, mobility, health care and sports opportunities, manage and organise tutoring, support and train student associations, organise events and member services, guide student culture to become more equal and accessible, maintain relationships with the city, university, SYL and other student unions, make the long-term structure for the entire student life in Tampere and baby-sit the university. Additionally, we grant our student associations with operational grants.
It’s also important to remember that there are no easy and simple solutions that benefit all students, since our student community is so diverse. If you feel like something is missing in our activities, you should apply for TREY board and make a difference in the things that matter to you.
The membership fee is determined by the Council of Representatives. Take part in financial politics; apply for the Council or talk about your concerns with your own student representative.
“We want more advocacy work for students and less politics.”
Student advocacy work IS politics. I suggest you find the definition of politics from Wikipedia and read through the Teekkaris vs politics – the first blog of a bad Teekkari blog post from TREY website.
“People only go to work at TREY for money or selfish reasons and to get a jump start for their own political career.”
I mean, it’s pretty nice to get compensation for the work you do. 900 € per month is less than minimum pension and yet we have to do our job and take care of our responsibilities to get this compensation. The compensation is justified, because our studies do not progress much during the year we work in the Board and you know, you have to be able to live. :D
Working for student union in any position increases understanding of society. This is especially present at TREY because we are the second largest and perhaps the most impressive student union in Finland. It’s a no-brainer to understand that doing organisational work opens doors for other things. After all, it would also be outright stupid to start twiddling your thumbs after a year of working in the board and leave the accumulated experience unused – whether it be influencing, negotiating or leadership skills. When summer comes, I at least am going to write on my resume that I played a very active role in the development of customer service activities on the field of more than 18,000 members and 170 associations and facilitated the distribution of around 300,000 euros in total in grants.
I myself don’t think I’m that politically aware as a person but after a year working at TREY, I do feel that I know at least a little bit better how things work here in Finland. Advocacy work feel very meaningful to me, and I have the opportunity to use it in my own career choices in the future. I mean I do understand that it might feel weird to see someone actually work for the things that they feel are important.
Even though the salary we get at TREY is not anything to write home about the immaterial things we get from it are extremely valuable. Metaphorically, I remember seeing a text during my military service about how the X share of people with leadership training reaches a higher pay grade. I am not an expert, but I don’t think that having a certain military rank or TREY experience will automatically bring you success. However, success and responsibility go hand in hand, that I am sure of.
And does it even matter what you do after your year in TREY board anyway if you do your job like you’re supposed to? I would also like to remind everyone that there really wasn’t an influx of eager people wanting to join our board this year to get these amazing privileges. :D
“Why is TREY taking a stand on this, it’s ridiculous? // Why isn’t TREY taking a stand on this, it’s ridiculous?”
In our work, we follow a policy paper, and its contents are determined by the Council. Apply for the Council or tell your own student representative about your worries and participate in the making of these policy papers.
“To apply at TREY, you have to be (party-)political”
You can but you don’t have to be. You also don’t have to be an experienced associate veteran who has seen it all, you don’t have to have any experience working as a student representative, you don’t have to understand how the world works. Of course, all of these features and skills can be a benefit to you when applying to the board if you know how to convey that to us. Although all of the backgrounds listed here provide a strong foundation for working in the student union, it does not serve the whole board if all of its members share the same experience background, interests and expertise. TREY’s orientation is also the most comprehensive of all I have received – you really don’t need to know anything in advance. You should also check out TREY’s Policy Paper.
“Visiiri is too expensive and unnecessary.”
Visiiri is an independent magazine and TREY’s board has no say in its production. The magazine has evolved a lot during my year in the board, and it is worth at least reading the article related to association facilities from Visiiri’s latest issue (5/2023), it is a model example of investigative journalism. If you have concerns related to the magazine you can participate in the politics having to do with the planning of our finances and activities. Apply for the Council, the editorial board or share your thoughts with your student representative or the editorial board.
“What was TREY’s role in the take-over of the campuses?”
Small. The take-overs were organised by a group of their own and they handled the take-overs in style. TREY was following the situation actively and we had no reason to intervene. The take-overs were managed expertly, the atmosphere was through the roof, and it was also nice to see teekkari people attending the events! You should apply for the positions of either an educational affairs board member or social affairs board member.
“Absolutely the worst party that TREY has ever had: the opening ceremony of the university”
You’re absolutely damn right. Although this event wasn’t even our party but the university’s. Our job is not to use the student union resources to organise events for the university. You should apply as the corporate cooperation board member or event organiser.
“Why isn’t TREY giving out association facilities?”
Because all possible facilities have already been given out. We are working actively to better the situation. You should apply as an associations and/or campus development board member.
“Why isn’t TREY organising NEPSY tutoring?”
That’s a damn good idea! You should apply as a tutoring board member.
“TREY’s annual celebration was the most useless concept ever.”
TREY’s anniversary celebrations differ from those of student associations in that it is a good idea to invite representatives from different interest groups from the university to Juvenes and TOAS to the city of Tampere, as well as all other student unions. TREY’s documentation will include tips on how to significantly develop the concept, for example towards a representation cocktail party + birthday party model tried by other student unions. You should apply to be an event organiser or apply for Kollektiivi.
” I have an early morning lecture WHY ISN’T TREY DOING ANYTHING?!”
Oh poor you, apply for the board and you don’t have to attend the lectures at all! :D
“General whining and complaining”
Only about one in four students voted in the Representative Council elections. So, in practice, each voter therefore received four votes. Think about that the next time you have an opportunity to vote. :D
“What do I get from working at TREY?”
The commission you get from working at the board is 900 € per month, you get employee headphones, six-week long summer vacation and endless free or half-paid anniversary presentations. Studies can be done alongside the job depending on how much you are willing to do, but at least the current board didn’t get any credits. :D However, the time spent in the board is considered as study time.
There are, on the other hand, far more immaterial benefits that you can get: the best growing environment of Finnish universities, gaining understanding of large entities, an understanding of the way Tuni, Tampere and Finnish politics and activities work, expertise in the fields that you are interested in, friends, acquaintances, a community, opportunities, damn remarkable things to put in your CV, you get to influence matters that are important to you, you get to develop and support your own community, you get a work community that is competent and prosperous as hell, and a place at the core of Tampere student culture and activities.
“Further comments for the readers?”
Browse Wikipedia for articles on “politics”, “Student Union (Finland)”, and “Tampere Student Union”. Make the most of your student life; participate in events, get to know hobby clubs, go on exchange, gain associational experience, attend the general meeting of your subject association, become a tutor, and/or study, whatever you like to. Listen to yourself and enjoy this wonderful phase of your life. Get familiar with your opportunities. Build yourself a strong and healthy foundation from which to build your future. Take care of yourself and your friends.
“Further comments for the association actives?”
19,000 times thank you, you are the soul and body of student life in Tampere. It has been such a pleasure to collaborate with you that I will be replacing our specialist in association affairs Yeti during the spring. :)
“Further comments for people interested in applying for the board?”
Just do it! Get yourself familiar with the positions in the current board, and don’t be afraid to ask current board members for more info on the contents of the positions. Also familiarize yourself with the board application process. These are your most useful links: trey.fi/en/student-union/organisation/executive-board and trey.fi/en/student-union/applying-to-treys-board.
Live long and prosper!