Flora 2019

Flora, the joint springtime celebration of the students and staff of the University of Helsinki, returns to the City Centre campus! This time, the festive atmosphere will take over not only the yard of the Faculty of Social Sciences but also the premises of the Swedish School of Social Science. The area will be filled with music and entertaining activities – and, of course, the joys of academia!

Besides HYY and the University of Helsinki, the faculty organisations of the City Centre campus are also participating in the arrangements, which means that the event area will certainly hold some surprises. The stage in the yard of the Faculty of Social Sciences will host musical performances as well as a surprise artist to crown the evening.

Flora is celebrated at 4–8 pm on 10 May 2019. You can expect music, food and a spring-themed programme. You can also take part in faculty tours around the campus, which have separate registration.

We can accommodate the first 400 members of HYY to sign up. Sign-ups open at noon on 15 April. Be alert, as the quotas will fill up super fast as usual!

Sign up here: https://www.lyyti.in/flora2019/en

Further information on the programme will be published here during April and May: https://hyy.fi/en/flora2019en

The Development Cooperation Committee, operating under HYY, is responsible for the administration and realisation of the Student Union’s development cooperation and related projects. Its duties also include keeping up discussion on development cooperation in the Student Union, organising events related to, for instance, global education and publishing the Kimppu magazine. The Committee meets every two weeks and currently has around 30 active members.

HYY’s Development Cooperation Committee is looking for two [PJ1] new communications officers for 2019. The duties of the communications officers include maintaining the committee’s website, Facebook page and Instagram account, managing the email list and compiling and managing the monthly newsletter. The communications officers are responsible for the information in the different communication channels being up to date. The communications officers cooperate with the other committee members to conduct their duties. The division of labour between the communications officers will be separately agreed on with the new communications officers. The position requires the ability to operate in Finnish and possibly in English when needed.

Who is the position suitable for?

The position of the communications officer is suitable for anyone who enjoys writing and is interested in development cooperation and creating content. You can apply your own skills and creativity in the position both visually and verbally. The communications officer’s position is not particularly labour-intensive, but the communications officers should regularly participate in the Development Cooperation Committee’s meetings and events.

What do you get from the position?

As a communications officer, you will get to use your writing and IT skills as well as to develop as a content producer, for instance. You will learn useful working life and communication skills and acquire a comprehensive understanding of the activities of both HYY and the Development Cooperation Committee as well as of development cooperation in general. This year, the communications officers will get to participate especially in reforming and brainstorming our social media channels due to HYY’s new visual look. Acting as a communications officer is fun, creative and useful!

You can start in the position either immediately or when the autumn term begins, according to your own wishes. Starting in the position immediately would allow you to work side by side with the current communications officer and thus learn about the committee’s activities and the position at a gentle pace. In this case, fully independent work will only start in the autumn.

If you became interested or want further information, please contact:
Emma Koponen
Chair of the Development Cooperation Committee in 2019

You can also attach a short introduction of yourself and why you are interested in the position of a communications officer.

Join the Development Cooperation Committee!
More information can be found here: 

The Student Union of the University of Helsinki is looking for two student representatives to the highest decision-making body of the University, the Board of the University. The Board is responsible for the strategic management of the University and makes decisions on significant issues that concern the entire University (see below in more detail). As a member of the Board, you will get to influence the University’s major policies, get experience of acting in the Board of the largest University in Finland and create useful networks.

The term of the student members of the Board is two years, from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2021. To be eligible to apply to the Board, a person must be entitled to undertake a bachelor's degree, master's degree, licentiate or doctoral degree, the degree of specialist, specialist in dentistry or specialist in veterinary medicine, or the degree of special education or special kindergarten teacher degree at the University of Helsinki. The elected individuals must register for attendance by 31 August 2019, and they may not be in an employment relationship with the University that is considered full time under the University’s election regulation. More detailed stipulations on eligibility can be found in the University’s election regulation, section 9, and the Student Union’s Regulation on the Selection of Student Representatives, section 4.

In the selection, we appreciate broad vision for developing the University and for higher education policy, knowledge of university management and finances, and understanding of themes related to studying at the University of Helsinki as well as of taking students’ views into account while working in the Board. Experience of university administration is considered an advantage. We also consider good interaction and argumentation skills as well as the ability to understand complex issues as advantages. The members are expected to be motivated and to commit themselves to the work in the Board. The administrative language of the University of Helsinki is Finnish as per the Universities Act and, for this reason, the Board operates in Finnish.

CVs and well-justified Finnish-language applications with a length of around one A4 sheet should be addressed to the Representative Council of the Student Union and delivered to the Student Union’s Central Office (at Mannerheimintie 5 B, 2nd floor, 00100 HELSINKI) or by email to hallinto@hyy.fi by noon on 17 April 2019. The Central Selection Committee invites some of the applicants to an interview by 24 April 2019. The interview is held on 6 May 2019. The Representative Council of the Student Union selects two student members for the Board in its meeting on 16 May 2019. For further information on the position and the selection process, please contact Specialist Jenna Sorjonen, tel. 050 325 5202, jenna.sorjonen(at)hyy.fi.

According to the Universities Act, the Board of the University must promote the interests of the university with care. The duties of the Board of the University of Helsinki include the following:

  • Determining the main objectives of the University’s operations and finances, the strategy and the steering principles
  • Deciding on the operating and financial plans and the budget of the University and preparing a financial statement
  • Being accountable for the management and use of the assets of the University, unless the Board has devolved the power to the rector
  • Arranging the supervision of the accounting and asset management
  • Approving agreements of major importance or fundamental consequence for the University and issuing opinions on important matters of principle concerning the University
  • Approving the target agreement with the Ministry of Education and Culture on behalf of the University
  • Electing the rector or rectors and deciding on the division of work among them and dismissing the rector from their office if there is a legitimate and justified reason for it in consideration of the nature of the office
  • Approving the University’s rules of procedure and other corresponding rules pertaining to general organisation and deciding on the operational structure of the University
  • Submitting a proposal to the Ministry of Education and Culture concerning any change in the educational responsibilities of the University
  • Deciding on the number of students to be admitted to the University.

Would you like to influence the study environment at your faculty? Are you interested in student life related health issues? Are you willing to support health promotion?

One of the central tasks of the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) is health promotion. Locally this health promotion work is organized through working groups, which include both representatives of the staff of the FSHS, students, university staff and other stakeholders. For the years 2019 and 2020, the health promotion theme of the FSHS is nutrition. The health promotion of the students of the University of Helsinki is organized by two working groups, one for the faculties of the City Centre Campus and one for the faculties operating at Kumpula, Meilahti and Viikki Campuses.

The Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) is now looking for all in all 11 student representatives from all faculties for the term September 1 2019 until August 31 2021. The working groups currently work in Finnish, so a basic command of the Finnish language is advisable. Please see the Finnish or Swedish version of the ad for more information on the working groups and on how to apply. The deadline for applications is Sunday April 7.

Further information: Sofia Lindqvist, Specialist at HYY, sofia.lindqvist@hyy.fi, 050 543 9605.

You’ll never find your way to the dance floor
if the soles of your feet aren’t tender enough
to allow you to walk without a care
past the serpent without frightening it
over the roots of mountain pine
without harming them

- Pentti Saarikoski (translated by Anselm Hollo)

We live in a time when young people are experiencing climate anxiety, a well-founded fear for the earth. Politics has focused more on the national economy and increasing debt while disregarding the actual debt that will be left for future generations for too long. Climate change has been swept under the carpet; climate change has been ‘it which must not be named’, to reference a popular fantasy series for young adults.

Young people are not about to let the biggest problem humankind is facing go past them. Climate strikes and marches have been organised on a global scale – we want the change to happen now. A national students’ climate strike will also be organised in Finland on 5 April and a climate march on 6 April . Students participating in these events have an enormous opportunity to influence matters. Small streams of influencing grow into rivers, but we need an ocean. We need courageous and radical policies.

Eight parliamentary parties have reached some sort of a consensus on the importance of climate policy. Unfortunately, the goals are in no way sufficient. During the last governmental term, increases in forest cutting that would considerably reduce carbon sinks should they be realised were advocated for, for instance. Finland should already be carbon neutral by 2030, and to achieve this, we must not only reduce forest cutting but also make significant changes in energy production as well as the tax and aid systems of our society. Awareness of the importance of the theme must be increased by including environmental education in the curricula on different levels of education.

Impactful climate policy must not remain within Finland’s borders. Finland must do everything it can during its upcoming EU Presidency to prevent the climate from warming more than 1.5 degrees. Beating climate change requires all of Europe to join a united front.

Currently, we are naïvely looking down a cliff. Now is the time to make decisions that have previously been avoided and evaded. If we do not act now, we have already given up. Future generations also have the right to find their way to the dance floor, without harming the roots of mountain pine.

For this reason, we demand!

- Finland to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
- The tax and aid systems of our society must quickly be changed to become environmentally sound.
- More ambitious climate policy in the European Union.
- Establishing climate and environmental education as part of the curricula on all levels of education.

Aleksi Rytkönen

The parliamentary elections are held on Sunday 14 April. HYY has two main election themes related to higher education policy: resources for universities must be secured by increasing their basic public funding and higher education must be free for absolutely everyone.

Working for free higher education is an eternal battle for the student movement. Unfortunately, higher education has been subject to a fee for students coming from outside the EU and EEA countries in all higher education institutions in Finland since 2017. The reform has been a failure from the perspectives of both the higher education institutions and the students. The tuition fees have not provided the higher education institutions with much of an income, but they have caused some costs.*

For many students coming from outside the EU and EEA countries, the tuition fees have created a significant challenge for studying in Finland.** No wonder – not many skilled and talented people born in Finland have an extra 15,000 euros lying around for a tuition fee either. Apparently, the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy Etla, which suggested fees for all students, and Universities Finland UNIFI, which proposed fees for second higher education degrees (both proposals in Finnish), do not understand this. Studies show that even a small tuition fee decreases the entrance to higher education studies of those with limited means. Free education is thus the best guarantee for the accessibility of education. HYY demands that higher education is kept free and that the tuition fees for students coming from outside the EU and EEA countries are removed.

In addition to promoting the accessibility of education, the Student Union urges the future government to implement the university index on a permanent basis and to make a significant increase in the level of basic public funding for universities. This is important because we students are not separate from the rest of the university community. Our wellbeing and the smooth flow of our studies are largely dependent on how the University is doing as a whole. Many of the everyday challenges of students – the backlogged Student Services, for instance – are caused by the universities simply not having enough resources for running their operations. Now is the time to change course and elect decision-makers who are ready to invest in higher education and research into the parliament. The importance of higher education and research for our wellbeing and the future of the earth is simply irreplaceable.

HYY is participating in the #researchmatters (#siksitiede) campaign. It is the entire Finnish university sector’s parliamentary election campaign for investments in research and education launched by the University of Helsinki. You can check out the campaign here. We recommend joining the campaign to influence matters and try to achieve a more university-friendly Finland. Good ways to take part have been listed in Flamma – just choose your own, and remember to vote. Let us make the change together!

We demand the following:

- Basic public funding for universities must be increased.
- The university index must be implemented on a permanent basis.
- Education leading to a degree must remain free for everyone.
- A programme of educational equality must be drafted to promote accessibility in higher education.

Paula Karhunen

The writer is a member of HYY’s Board in 2019 and one of the three persons in charge of educational policy on the Board.

* We discussed the problems of tuition fees for students coming from outside the EU and EEA countries in an opinion piece (in Finnish) in Helsingin Sanomat in January.

** We collected thoughts from international students on tuition fees and studying in Finland in autumn 2018. You can read them here.

From now on, you will know HYY Group as Ylva.

With our new brand, we are clarifying the roles between the Student Union and its business operations. Both HYY and its business activities will also have their own, individual voices in the future. Ylva is proud of its roots. It is important to us that you, our owner, know how your company is doing. In the future, we will participate even more actively than before in building a good city and creating a sustainable future not only for students but also for other residents of the city.

Read more about your company at http://ylva.fi.

Read about Ylva's year 2018 here.

More information and interviewrequests:

Antti Kerppola, CEO
tel. 045 353 2187

Jannica Aalto, director of communications and marketing
tel. 045 134 7636

Grants for innovative learning projects up for grabs!

HYY allocates grants for new study projects organised by students. The project can, for example, develop study methods, apply theory to practice or advance students' professional competence. The grant cannot be allocated retroactively.

Throughout the years, grants for innovative learning projects have been given to projects such as a soap manufacturing workshop run by nutritional science students, a saddle course by students of veterinary medicine, workshop activities in an international environmental seminar and an art exhibition study group by humanists.

The total amount of the allocated grant is 5,000 euros (approx. 100–900 euros per project). When allocating the grant, the initiative and learning methods that encourage students to be active are taken into account. The projects that have received the grant can be presented in HYY communications as good examples. The study projects must be as open as possible to anyone interested in taking part.

The grant is not allocated for the following purposes:

  • Travel or catering expenses
  • Facility expenses, with the exception of specially equipped facilities, which cannot be received free of charge
  • Printing of publications, unless decided otherwise based on the application
  • Master's thesis projects
  • Such basic education, which is primarily the responsibility of the department
  • Remuneration or salaries
  • Continuous/regular activities

If the awarded grant is used to pay a salary or remuneration (in exchange for work performance), the payer and recipient of the remuneration are responsible for following the tax authorities' instructions, the withholding tax and the reporting obligation in particular. Further information is available at www.vero.fi/en.

The person in charge of the project is committed to report about the implementation of the project after its completion latest by 30th of November.

The grant can be applied by a form which opens 14th of March. You can fill the application form in here:


Please check the information before submitting the form! Information cannot be edited later so you should consider the required information before filling the form. You can draft your application with a word processing program and then copy it into the form.

The last day to apply is 5th of April at 23:59 o’clock. Late applications will not be considered.

All applicants will be informed about the allocation of the grants by the end of May. For further information, please contact Member of the Board Ilona Raimas (ilona.raimas@hyy.fi).

Project grants for organisations and members open for applications!

HYY awards project grants to organisations operating under it and to groups of HYY’s members. Project grants make it possible to realise projects that are larger and have higher quality than the parties realising them could otherwise afford.

Project grants are awarded for a specific purpose and will be collected back if the party to which the grant was awarded cannot demonstrate that the funds were used for the project in question. In case funds are left over from the awarded sum, HYY has the right to collect it back at its discretion.

Project grant applications should be free-form applications with a maximum length of two (2) A4 sheets.

The application must include the following information:

  • Name of the project
  • Organising party (organisation/other)
  • Contact details of the person in charge: name, phone number, email
  • Account number of the organising party

Applications must also include the following information on the project itself:

  • Idea of the project: What are you planning to do in the project?
  • Goal: What do you aim to achieve with the project?
  • Reason: Why do you want to realise the project?
  • Time frame: When would the project be realised? / How long does it last: a day / a week / other duration?
  • Division of responsibility: Who is in charge of each part of the project?
  • Target: Who is the project aimed for?
  • Possible cooperation: Is the project realised in cooperation with another party?

The application should also include the project’s budget, that is, a description of its income and expenses.

The application and its attachments are to be sent to jarjesto@hyy.fi.

The application period for project grants begins on 20 March and ends at 11.59 pm on 5 May. Late applications will not be considered. All applicants will be notified about the awarding of the grants during May.

Each party that receives a project grant must make a report of the event to HYY’s specialist in organisations within 3 months of realising the project but on 28 February 2020 at the latest. The report must include a description of the course of events, an estimate of the success of the event, particularly compared to the application, and the realised budget.

For further information on the project grants, please ask Chair of HYY’s Financial Committee Linda-Liisa Kelokari (linda-liisa.kelokari@hyy.fi, 050 595 0324) or HYY’s Specialist in Organisations Jaakko Kalske (jaakko.kalske@hyy.fi, 050 537 3798).

General restrictions and criteria of the project grant:

  • Projects that are awarded a grant must be realised between 1 March 2019 and 29 February 2020.
  • Project grants are not awarded for parties or other projects in which there is strong evidence that the funds would be used for alcohol.
  • Project grants are also not awarded for continuous organisational activities such as website reforms.
  • Project grants may not be used for salaries or remuneration.
  • Overall judgement is used in the case of study trips, with the main criteria being the reach of the event and the appropriateness of the grant.
  • Grants are not awarded for flights.
  • Grants are generally not awarded for annually recurring events, unless the event is being changed or renewed in a substantial manner, making the awarding of a project grant justified. This should be highlighted in the application, and overall judgement will also be used in such cases.

This text is a part of a blog series in which members of the Student Union’s Board discuss their thoughts on HYY’s three main advocacy themes for the parliamentary elections.

Justifiable poverty? 

Poor income levels during studies are perfectly understandable, are they not? After all, it will all be compensated later, when the higher education graduate is racking up millions to their bank account. Besides, young people must grow up and learn to survive in our cold, hard world.

It is a regrettably widespread belief that poverty during higher education is justifiable. However, this thought process is rarely taken to its conclusion. Future millions offer no comfort to a student who cannot buy the medication they need due to a lack of money. And when your bills go into debt collection, talk of ‘an investment in your future’ sounds like you are being mocked. The standard of living and quality of housing in Finland have generally speaking increased in recent decades, but students have been left behind. Students have been the biggest losers of this decade’s economic policy. At the same time, people who are now thirty will earn less than the previous generations, and higher education no longer guarantees a permanent job.

Students are the only group of people forced to get into debt for their basic subsistence. In practice, students are not entitled to social assistance – the last-resort financial assistance guaranteed by the Constitution of Finland – without first having taken out the full amount of student loan. In fact, even if the student decides to buy the medication they need, they are likely to be paying for it with borrowed money. Students are currently getting into debt at a record rate, and an increasing number of students can look forward to being 30,000 euros in debt at graduation.

It is unsustainable to believe that being a student makes suffering in poverty justifiable. Studies have proved that financial difficulties affect both physical and mental health. 70% of our students report that financial difficulties also affect study progress: working – which most only do to secure their basic subsistence – slows down study progress. There is a young generation studying in our higher education institutions that will be exhausted, disillusioned and in debt when they graduate and enter working life. Is this truly the recipe for making Finland a global pioneer?

Demanding better together

Student circles often share an annoyance towards the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, Kela. Trying to calculate the permitted amount of earned income with Kela’s calculators, sending explanations on study progress and figuring out whether you are now entitled to social assistance can make even the hardiest navigators of the bureaucracy maze frustrated. Even though Kela could also improve in many ways, the majority of complaints should be addressed to Arkadianmäki. Decisions on the major policies concerning the actual foundation of students’ subsistence are made in the Finnish Parliament – not in Kela. And these policies have not been painting a pretty picture for students lately – around half of the students of the University of Helsinki live under the poverty line because of them.

In the 2019 election spring, HYY and the entire student movement are demanding better together. With the reform of social security being among the major goals of nearly all parties, the time is ripe for a discussion on the status of students’ subsistence. Finland’s social security system was created during a very different time. There is a pressing need for a comprehensive reform, and students are at the forefront loudly demanding it. We need a reform of social security, and we need students to be included in it. In the long term, only a gratuitous basic income can genuinely answer the needs of citizens in today’s world – with studying, working life, entrepreneurship and light entrepreneurship, parental leaves, sick leaves and numerous other situations in life blending together, and the need for a stable, secure foundation of subsistence increasing.

But as the latest mess with the social and healthcare reform has proved, large changes do not happen quickly. Students, however, cannot afford to wait. Each day we wait translates into fewer euros in students’ wallets. For this reason, our short-term goal – with ‘short term’ here being equal to ‘at this very instant’ – is to increase the level of the study grant by one hundred euros per month. In the end, this would only be a moderate increase to the study grant compared to its level before the cuts of 2017. The general price level is increasing, not to mention the level of rent. Would it not be reasonable to include the study grant in this trend.

At the same time, we wish to remind everyone that general housing allowance, which now covers students, too, is a household-based benefit – which is contrary to everyone’s sense of justice. The housing allowance must be updated to the 2000s: we must acknowledge the fact that roomies do not add their incomes into some big collective pot. The new parliament must finally make general housing allowance personal.

Stable and sufficient subsistence provides students with a foundation on which they can build their life. It is the most important thing society can offer the future experts of Finland.

→ General housing allowance must be made individual-based so that the income of the people you live with does not affect the amount of allowance.

→ The study grant must be increased by 100 euros per month.

→ Students must be involved in the comprehensive reform of social security.

→ The best way to reform the social security system is to move to gratuitous basic income.

Anna Lemström
Member of the Board in charge of subsistence issues

Read more about the subsistence situation of the students of the University of Helsinki and the Aalto University here.

Once upon a time, there was a group of enthusiastic but slightly uncertain students. Their task was to promote their fellow students’ health in cooperation with student health care. However, they did not have other information than their own experiences on how their fellow students were doing and what health-related challenges they faced. This made it difficult to get a proper grasp of the task, which frustrated them a bit.

The frustration grew into a desire to investigate how their fellow students were really doing. In autumn 2018, HYY organised a workshop for the student representatives of the FSHS’s health expert groups recruited and supported in their task by HYY. The product of the workshop’s cooperative work was the wellbeing survey. The purpose of the survey is to answer the question: how are the students of the University of Helsinki doing?

The Finnish Student Health Survey tells us that as many as 30 per cent of higher education students report having psychological difficulties. According to researchers Juhani Saari and Tiia Villa, students’ problems with subsistence becoming chronic, loneliness and lack of discussion support from loved ones explain the increase in the occurrence of psychological symptoms when compared to the early 2000s. The University is more powerless in the face of subsistence problems than in the fight against loneliness. Do the students of the University of Helsinki feel like they belong in some group?

At the university level, the results of the wellbeing survey can be utilised in the preparation of decisions that concern the entire University. This is especially important right now, as the new funding model for universities, which will take effect in 2021, will direct universities to make as many students as possible graduate in target time. Healthy students are also able to study smoothly.

At the faculty level, the results can be analysed both independently and in relation to other faculties’ average results. In which issues should your faculty improve and in which can it share its knowledge to others? By taking action against any weaknesses that are discovered, by deciding how to improve the situation and by investing in the chosen methods in a systematic and goal-oriented fashion we can improve students’ wellbeing while promoting the University’s goals.

For all of this to be possible, HYY’s wellbeing survey needs a convincing number of respondents. Thank you to everyone who has already completed the survey! If you have not responded to it yet, please do it as soon as possible. In addition to helping HYY and the student representatives of the health expert groups to conduct more impactful advocacy work for yourself and your fellow students, you can also participate in a raffle for wellbeing-themed product prizes after completing the survey!

Now, during March, HYY is once again looking for new student representatives for the health expert groups. This time, they will not have to depend on their own and their friends’ impressions, as they will get to use the data provided by HYY’s wellbeing survey on the students of their own faculty. Hopefully, they will be just as enthusiastic as their predecessors – but with added certainty thanks to the data.

Complete HYY’s wellbeing survey here (survey closes on 31 March):

Apply to become a student representative of a health expert group (application period ends on 24 March):

Sofia Lindqvist
HYY’s specialist (housing, health, city)