Housing services want to create the best student life in the world

Housing is one of Aalto University Student Union’s most important member services. In this blog, Service Manager Riitu Nuutinen writes about the operating principles and goals of the housing services and addresses current issues in AYY’s housing.
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Housing is one of AYY's most significant member services, and a large part of our organisation works within housing. In addition to laws, many different documents guide the operation of housing services. The property strategy decided by the Representative Council sets goals for the development of housing and real estate operations in the coming years. The housing policy paper defines AYY’s housing policy goals and sets ideological principles for housing operations. Housing regulations establish principles and rules for the selection of tenants. If necessary, the regulations are interpreted by the Housing Committee consisting of representatives of the Student Union and residents. The Committee processes applications and housing-related complaints received from residents.

The documents that guide our operations are not just papers for us, but our operations are genuinely based on them and the guidelines and goals set for our operations are an important part of our daily work. Our common goal and approach in AYY's housing services is to create the best student life in the world. For me, this is also an important reason to work in the student union.

In the housing policy paper, the principles of our housing operations are defined as equity, need-based and member-oriented housing, flexibility, and educational mission. The principles are reflected in both the selection of residents and in the opportunities for residents to influence their own housing and living comfort. In addition, the principles are reflected in how we approach the themes of communality in our operations. And, of course, communality is also much more than shared housing. We take this matter into account when developing the existing property stock and constructing new housing.

AYY currently offers a home for more than 3,200 residents. According to the goals of the property strategy, this number will increase by several hundred in the coming years. The objectives set out in the strategy give us direction both for the development of digital services and for enabling different forms of communality and more open communications. When we build new student housing, we do not only build walls and apartments. We build homes and facilities that must meet the needs of both residents and the community as a whole. We want to continue to create value for our members - homes to live in comfortably and at a reasonable cost, as well as facilities that allow new forms of communality.

Last year, we focused especially on the development of resident activities and internal processes. The residents' waste sorting possibilities have been reviewed and improved. Our housing application system Domo is transformed into a format that also provides many residential services.  process of being developed to serve even during the period of residence. This year, we will continue to work to ensure that information on the apartments is better available at the application stage. We know that more detailed information about surface materials or the direction of the windows, for example, is important for many at an early stage of the application process.

Naturally, the members and residents are involved in the development of the activities. The member-oriented service is created only through genuine involvement in all stages of development. Residents can have influence by attending house meetings to elect a person to represent the residents ("castle warden") and to discuss other current issues. At the house meetings, a separate resident council can also be elected, which can develop the residents' common facilities or arrange activities for the residents with the support of AYY. Many houses also have active social media and discussion groups to discuss common housing issues.

Read more:

  • Familiarize yourself with AYY's property strategy and housing policy paper: https://www.ayy.fi/en/administrative-documents/regulations
  • How you can influence as a resident: https://www.ayy.fi/en/housing/residents-have-influence

Riitu Nuutinen

Service Manager, AYY

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