May Day Speech


Dear May Day community,

One of the four basic values we have at the University of Helsinki is inclusivity. Our main community consists of our own university and student union, but on a larger scale, we Finns make up one large community. During these challenging times, I would like to bring attention especially to groups that are at risk – people to whom technological applications might not be all that familiar, easy to use and/or, in the long term, sufficient as means of social interaction. In the name of inclusivity, it is important to direct special attention to these groups now that they really need help. I would like to express my unreserved thanks and support to the workers on the health care sector who are constantly working at their limits to take care of these people, as well as everyone else. Thank you for being a source of strength to us all in these trying times.

Finnish May Day has long been a carnival of spring, workers and students. A joyous event where people get together, hold speeches, sing and both eat and drink well. According to one etymological interpretation, the word carnival stems from the medieval Latin term carnem levare, meaning ‘to remove the meat’. Indeed, during this exceptional situation, we have also been instructed to remove the meat from our concepts of meeting one another. However, this does not mean that we could not get together safely in the spirit of a remote May Day – we can still sing, hold speeches, and eat and drink well. And you know what? That is exactly what we will do.

On behalf of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki, I wish everyone a safely distant but still lively May Day!


Sammy Nurminen

Vice Chair