Community Standards for Associations

The Aalto Community is diverse and inclusive, and there is a place here for everyone! We just sent out a friendly reminder of community guidelines to associations. Since now is the time to join associations, we thought you might like to read our tongue-in-cheek letter, too!
Rebecca and Fon are 'clinking glasses' with non-alcoholic beverages on Alvar Aallon Aukio-square. There are geese and students in the background.
Rebe Adrianzen and Fon Krairiksh welcome new students with non-alcoholic drinks. In the background, we see members of the community: striped woodpeckers* and students in overalls

The Aalto Community is diverse and inclusive, and there is a place here for everyone! We just sent out a friendly reminder of community guidelines to associations. Since now is the time to join associations, we thought you might like to learn more, too!

Dear AYY associations,

Orientation is just around the corner, and the time to recruit is nigh! Associations are often the place for students to find friends, family and home away from… well, friends, family and home. When everything goes right – and it usually does – students find their own posse, and often, these new friendships last a lifetime!

The most important element of inclusion is taking all the members of our community into consideration, and we’d like to share a couple tips from our association guide with you.

Just to show you how much we care, we wrote a poem! Perhaps you can even make it a sitsit song!

1. The last bottle

Whilst many student traditions are steeped in wine

and furthermore still, dipped in a dash of moonshine

Tradition dictates that as dawn sings its reprise

remembering the night should become a futile exercise

Still, there are those who wish to recall last night’s fling -

The songs that were sung; the scents still lingering

So, out of respect, upon them, please do not thrust

a bottle of liquor, thereby violating their trust

… Ok, we see now that this poem would make for a shitty song. We apologize.

Here’s the plain language version:

Some people wish to avoid alcohol. Some people like to control the amount of alcohol they drink. Student traditions do not necessarily have to involve alcohol or getting wasted. Please come up with some alternatives for members who do not wish to drink, or to get totally smashed.

Speaking of plain language, this brings us to our second point.

2. Use understandable language

'Twas brilling, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

- Lewis Carrol, 1871

Creatures from the poem Jabberwocky round the sundial - John Tenniel, 1871
1871, John Tenniel's depiction of Aalto orientation week, Alvarin Aukio Square

Lewis Carrol wrote a whole bunch of nonsense that sounded good and probably… maybe… kinda… almost made sense to a lot of people. No, not really - who are we kidding? There’s a reason why the original version of the book was illustrated. It takes time to learn and understand inside jokes and jargon. Please take new students into consideration so they do not feel mimsy* and start outgribing.** The neighbors really don’t like that shit. Just sayin.’

Do use the special lingo of your club, but please recognize that it is not accessible to everyone right away! Explain what stuff means to newbies. This simple act will act as a bridge to make your new members feel included.

… “But what if our special language is sexist, racist, ableist, transphobic, or re-enforces stereotypes?”

Umm, weeeeell…

3. Avoid language that is sexist, racist, transphobic, ableist, re-enforces stereotypes, etc.

It’s not cool. ‘nuf said. Kindly refer to the law on this one:
Non-discrimination act

4. Don’t let the peer pressure keep you down.

If you feel that these community standards are being violated, chances are you are not the only one. But saying it out loud may just make you the bravest one. Be a leader and start the discussion!

And if your association still needs time to warm to the idea of change, we can help turn up the heat. We’ve got the skills to provide training on issues related to diversity, inclusion, and how to use language that will communicate just how welcoming you are! All ya gotta do is ask!

Have a great orientation week!

All the best,

On behalf of the Associations and International affairs sectors at AYY,

Rebecca Adrianzen

Association guidelines: [email protected]

Language & diversity related matters: [email protected]

* mimsy, adj. a blend of miserable and flimsy

**outgribe, v. to make a sound between a deep bellow, a whistle, and a sneeze

Excerpt from The Jabberwocky in standard, modern English:

"It was four o'clock in the afternoon, and the slimy and lithe toves

Did go round and round and making holes in the grass plot round the sun-dial:

All flimsy and miserable were the borogoves,

And the raths were bellowing and whistling far from home."


… p.s. ^ It is a little-known fact that Lewis Carroll was describing Orientation Week at Aalto University in this famous poem.

  • Published:
  • Updated:
URL copied!