The Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) nominates Bachelor of Arts (Education) Krista Laitila for the Chair of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) and Student of Social Sciences Titta Hiltunen and Master of Science, Student of Social Sciences Topias Tolonen for members of SYL’s Board for 2019.
Laitila, 25, a student of educational sciences, has acted as the Vice Chair of HYY’s Board this year, being in charge of coordinating the HYY150 Anniversary year and its main advocacy themes. Her other areas of responsibility have included advocacy work on the status of students with a family as well as spreading equality and improving University democracy in the administrative bodies of the University of Helsinki.
‘The Parliamentary elections, European Parliament elections and possible county elections are important influencing places for the entire student movement. As SYL’s chair, my goal would be to promote free and accessible education and support for the coping and mental health of the young generation in particular. The student movement should also be involved in promoting equality and making it visible in the everyday life of students’, Laitila states.
Titta Hiltunen has been in charge of matters related to students’ subsistence, advocacy work related to regional and parliamentary elections, and city and housing advocacy work in HYY’s Board this year. Hiltunen, 26, a student of political history, has been developing new ways of influencing for the student movement, including the student simulator, a game that highlights the various challenges students face with their subsistence. In addition to this, she has filed a complaint with the Parliamentary Ombudsman on the Student Union’s behalf about the interpretations of household in connection with general housing allowance. In SYL’s Board, she is motivated by the upcoming comprehensive reform of social security.
‘A major objective for the student movement next year is to get students included in the comprehensive reform of social security. Students are people like anyone else, and social security that cover basic needs in life is their right just as it is everyone else’s’, Hiltunen states.
Topias Tolonen, 24, has been in charge of communications, educational policy and international affairs in HYY’s Board. His tasks related to international affairs have concerned tuition fees for students from outside the EU and the EEA, students’ participation, and the University’s internationalisation strategies in particular. In addition to this, he has developed HYY’s processes of reactive communication and been an active participant in advocacy work within the University.
Tolonen, who has studied applied mathematics and is currently studying economics, has accumulated experience especially in developing the internationality of the Finnish higher education field. ‘Finland’s EU presidency is an opportunity for SYL to bring forward the values of the Finnish student movement both during the presidency and during the period leading to the European Parliament elections. Our national higher education field is on the threshold of internationalisation, and the following years are critical for the future of Finland’s higher education field. The EU Presidency gives SYL an opportunity to show Europe how advocacy work in educational policy is conducted in Finland and, at the same time, to promote the accessibility of education more widely’, he explains.
‘Laitila’s experience in advocacy work is convincing. She has a vision for developing the organisation and a good approach to leadership. Hiltunen has strong expert knowledge and is motivated to create a more equal student movement. Tolonen is a creative expert who is inspired by both international advocacy work and educational policy’, Chair of HYY’s Board Lauri Linna describes the candidates.
SYL elects its Board for 2019 in its Congress, held on 16–17 November in Otaniemi. SYL looks after students’ interests on the national level, taking a stand on issues related to educational policy, social policy and international affairs.
Lauri Linna, Chair of HYY’s Board
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