The Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) has, on 13 October, decided to nominate Student of Social Sciences Akseli Rouvari and Student of Science Riku-Petteri Kyllönen as members of the Board of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) for 2021. HYY is also nominating Student of Social Sciences Okko Karvonen for the Board of the Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL).
Our candidates for SYL’s Board
Mathematics student Riku-Petteri Kyllönen, 23, has acted on HYY’s Board for 2020 as the member in charge of educational policy, equality and the Representative Council elections. Kyllönen, a fifth-year student, has been actively involved in HYY’s activities since his fresher year. He names the reform of HYY’s Equality Plan as the greatest success of his year on the Board.
‘The most important themes in advocacy work for me are the promotion of an equal and accessible education system. An equal education system must ensure that individuals always have the opportunity to continue their studies at the next level, with no educational dead ends. However, several reforms related to student admissions threaten to leave many people entirely outside university education. The level of education in Finland is still very much inherited, and the current loan-centred student aid system does not encourage young people from low-income backgrounds to study in higher education institutions. If I were appointed to SYL’s Board, SYL would get a passionate and responsible advocate, one who is ready to help build a better and more equal world’, Kyllönen describes his views.
Akseli Rouvari, 23, on the other hand, studies politics, media and communication, and on HYY’s Board, he is in charge of educational policy, communication and environmental and climate affairs. Rouvari has diverse experience of themes such as the operation of the University of Helsinki and the Faculty of Social Sciences, advocacy work, influencing matters, and leading organisations. He considers the successful advocacy work and communication during an exceptional situation as well as the new Sustainable Development Plan as the most significant achievements during his year on HYY’s Board.
‘Ensuring the quality and resources of education as well as flexible study paths is especially important right now. Defending the Humboldtian university and increasing the level of education and competence in Finland are also at the heart of the central advocacy goals for next year. Resolving the various challenges created by the coronavirus epidemic as well as positive and progressive visions for the future and the present must be at the core of the 100-year-old SYL’s operation. I want to see the student movement as the visionary and active advocate and the debater with initiative that it can be when functioning at its best. There is still some work to do on this, but I am excited and ready to take on the challenge. I hope you will join the work – everyone’s input is needed!’, Rouvari sets out his thoughts.
Members of SYL’s Board are selected in the General Assembly on 12–13 November 2020. SYL represents all student unions in Finland and looks after students’ interests at the national level, taking a stand on issues of educational policy, social policy and international affairs. In 2021, SYL will celebrate its 100-year journey.
Our candidate for OLL’s Board
HYY is nominating student of social work Okko Karvonen, 23, for the Finnish Student Sports Federation. During the current year, he has been in charge of issues related to health, sports and working life on HYY’s Board. As the person in charge of sports, Karvonen has promoted the implementation of OLL’s ‘Higher Education on the Move’ project at the University of Helsinki. The aim of the project is to increase opportunities for everyday physical activity at universities and to develop ergonomics in the university environment.
‘I want to develop the Finnish Student Sports Federation towards a direction that allows it to serve all students as well as possible by, for instance, furthering the wellbeing and ergonomics goals of higher education environments as well as fostering opportunities for everyday physical activity. The focus of the federation’s operations must not be only on supporting student athletes – promoting the wellbeing and ergonomics of higher education environments is also extremely important. In addition to this, I would like to develop the federation to make it more transparent and participatory towards its members. This would allow the people in student unions interested in the federation to feel like they can genuinely take part in the federation’s advocacy work’, Karvonen describes his goals.
OLL strives to promote student health and wellbeing through physical activity. OLL conducts a lot of advocacy work, and one of its main projects is the ‘Higher Education on the Move’ programme. Members of the Board are selected in the General Assembly held on 18–19 November.
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