Aalto University Student Union’s Year 2019
In 2019, Aalto University Student Union built the Aalto community, recruited new management for AYY and focused on two national elections. Chair of the Board Tapio Hautamäki and Executive Director Elina Nieminen tell about the highlights of the year.
The plan for the community structure project was approved in the Representative Council in the spring. The goal of the community structure project is that the structures of AYY and Aalto support cooperation between different fields and student cultures. ”The project has been demanding so far and the practical implementation of the plan will take plenty of time. However, completing the plan is a major step. We want all Aalto members to feel that they are part of Aalto and Otaniemi is their own campus,” says Executive Director Elina Nieminen.
AYY signed the climate emergency letter for the COP25 Climate Conference, where higher education institutions and networks from across the world declare the climate emergency. AYY has also started to measure its carbon footprint and has been actively involved in the climate change debate. AYY committed to the UN’s sustainable development goals and made its student housing operations more environmentally friendly.
In the spring, AYY recruited a new Executive Director and Financial Director who manage the organisation together with the Board. The new management is a major change, both within the office and for the organisation as a whole. AYY also established a new position of a real estate department manager to oversee AYY’s real estate operations. “It is great that we have gained new perspectives on our real estate operations along with the recruitment of the real estate manager. I believe that we now have a better starting point to provide affordable student housing and versatile leisure facilities,” says Hautamäki.
The election spring was a great opportunity to get students’ voice heard in parliamentary and European parliamentary elections. The Board called to the parliamentary election candidates and successfully reached candidates from all parties. AYY was successful in including its advocacy objectives in the government programme. During the government term, the residence permit process for students from outside the EU and the EEA will be streamlined so that the residence permit can be issued for the duration of the entire degree and extended for two years after graduation.
The Student Centre project was promoted throughout the year. The goal of the project is to create encounters, build the Aalto community and bring the community members closer to one another. The Student Centre has caused plenty of discussion in AYY Representative Council and among the partners, and there have been some difficult topics. “A large and meaningful project causes plenty of discussion and all aspects need to be carefully considered. However, we have moved forward together, and the project is well underway. It is good to work on the common ground,” says Hautamäki.
The year 2019 also started AYY’s 10th year of operation. At the start of the anniversary year, we had fun with amusement park rides. This year, the highlight of the anniversary year will be AYY10 anniversary celebration in the spring. In the anniversary year, AYY wants to support schooling and hobbies for children and young people at risk of exclusion by supporting Save the Children campaign. To participate, please sign up for the All to X app (https://alltox.ayy.fi).
Aalto University Student Union’s ninth year of operation was characterised by staff changes, the advancement of long-term projects and climate action. “In 2020, special emphasis will be placed on AYY’s accessibility to international students, which is strongly linked to the goal that all Aalto members feel that they are part of the Aalto community. We will also make our housing and premises more sensible: we will increase the communality of the premises and build new properties responsibly in the future,” says Olli Kesseli, Chair of the Board 2020.