We improve students’ status at the University, in the city and in society. We promote and defend issues that are important to students. Our work is based on our values: education, equality, humanity, courage and responsibility. Our advocacy work takes many forms: we meet decision-makers, publish statements and opinion pieces, run campaigns and participate in meetings and working groups. In addition to this, we support active students in their work.
Our goal is to achieve equality in society. We promote accessibility of education, sufficient subsistence for students and free public transport. We want to live in a world where everyone is treated equally regardless of their background.
We believe that education has the power to change the world. Education is more than mere book learning – it includes broad-mindedness and the ability to apply your knowledge. Our aim is that students could accumulate these skills both on lectures and by participating in the activities of the University community and society.
We students must feel well to be able to build a fairer world now and in the future. To be happy during our studies, we need good healthcare services, comfortable housing, humane study requirements and meaningful leisure opportunities.
We think that Finland should use at least 0.7% of its gross national product to development cooperation as per the UN’s recommendations. We must actively promote environmental responsibility, set an example by our own actions and take a stand on environmental issues at the University, in the city and in society.
We dare to actively participate in public discussion concerning students and fearlessly take action against any flaws we observe. We are resolutely building the society of our dreams and offer our members opportunities to influence matters. The world must be changed.
The highest power at universities belongs to the university community. Alongside professors and other staff members, we students are also members of the University community – we have the chance to influence matters at all levels of decision-making at the University. We have seats in the executive groups of degree programmes as well as the faculty councils, the University’s Board and the University Collegium. Students are also represented in many working groups at the University.
In addition to representative decision-making, students influence matters at the University through the Student Union. We – the specialists and members of the Board from the Student Union’s office – regularly meet with actors such as the Rector of the University, the vice deans in charge of academic affairs at the faculties and the people from University Services. We offer them a student perspective on various issues and cooperate with them to develop the University.
Our goal is to ensure that students have easily accessible, high-quality healthcare services at their disposal. The best way to achieve this is with the FSHS, which is why we actively participate in its decision-making processes. We have paid particular attention to students’ mental health because psychological symptoms are still connected to feeling ashamed and fearing being labelled. For this reason, we have campaigned for a more open discussion culture and to decrease the stigma related to mental health symptoms through the #kaikkihyvin (#everythingok) campaign.
The Capital Region’s future transport solutions must focus on developing cycling, walking and public transport. Functional and diverse services are a necessary part of a good city. The starting point of public services should thus be a user-oriented approach, accessibility and investments in prevention. We have participated in promoting goals such as making the City Centre campus car-free and the Science Tram, which would improve cross-town traffic between different campuses. We are lobbying the decision-makers of the Capital Region on the goals we share with the World Student Capital association of the Capital Region’s higher education students.
Students getting by better than at present is in the interests of society. A sufficient, stable subsistence supports wellbeing and study ability. The student aid must be a part of social security, and it must secure students’ subsistence during studies. We are vocal about the challenges and problematic issues related to students’ subsistence. We write opinion pieces and statements, commission reports on students’ subsistence and discuss these issues on social media. We also meet with politicians – sometimes even playing the student simulator with them!
Having a home of one’s own is a basic right. The cornerstones of good student housing are affordable apartments, good public transport connections to campuses and opportunities for outdoor activities. We want more student apartments both near the campuses and in locations with good connections to them. HYY owns some apartments, but housing is primarily organised through the Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region (Hoas). HYY is a founding member of Hoas, and we have representatives in its administrative bodies. Through HYY, students’ voice can be heard in the foundation’s activities.
Equality is visible in all our activities – in the organisations operating under us, at the University and in society. Practical examples of our equality work include having the organisations operating under us commit themselves to HYY’s Equality Plan, trilingual communications, our harassment contact person system and our work to strengthen the status of international students in the student community.
Our advocacy work is always based on research. We regularly make and commission studies on issues related to our students’ lives. For instance, we have conducted a wellbeing survey among our students and commissioned reports on issues such as the subsistence of the students of the University of Helsinki and the Aalto University, the situation of students over 30 years of age and the sickness insurances of international students. We are also involved in the Opiskelijan kaupunki (‘student’s city’) study, which analyses urban comfort, student housing and transport in the Capital Region.