Student life

Events organised by AYY

AYY organises a variety of annual events. We maintain certain traditions year after year, while some events are renewed by their organisers every year. Below is a list of some of the biggest annual student events organised by AYY or in collaboration with external partners. In addition to the events listed here, associations within the Aalto community organise a great number of their own events, some of which are highly visible in the community.
Aalto Party_Aleksi Lehtinen

Click here for AYY’s event calendar.

Shrove Tuesday Celebrations & Gravitaatio

Around Shrove Tuesday, thousands of students in their overalls or other warm clothes from all over the metropolitan area head to Ullanlinnanmäki Hill in Kaivopuisto Park in Helsinki. In addition to sledging, the programme for the day usually includes a competition to reward the best (makeshift) sledge. People have raced down the hill on pirate ships and sofas; some have even managed to sledge uphill! More entertainment is provided by various associations and other partners in cooperation at their stands.

After the sledging, students head to the annual Gravitaatio party in the centre of Helsinki to continue the celebrations in a slightly warmer setting. Gravitaatio is a truly cross-disciplinary party where the country’s top artists often make an appearance and you can dance away the cold with thousands of other students.  Gravitaatio is known to be one of the oldest student parties still held, with its roots leading back to the early 20th century.

May Day & Wappu Events

Whether you spell it with a V or a W, “Vappu”, or May Day, is the biggest student celebration. The Aalto community often uses the spelling “Wappu”.

Everyone at Aalto has their own way of celebrating wappu. For some, wappu only lasts for a day, while for others it goes on for a week or more!

The majority of the events organised by AYY and various associations are well worth experiencing and they are a fantastic opportunity to meet new people. Wappu events pop up all over the place in spring, and as the festival draws near, check out  and special status associations’ websites for more information. The Freshman Major announces the organisation of any teekkariwappu for technology students in their daily orders, but students of other subjects can rest assured knowing that they too are bound to have a great wappu. May Day is the best time of the year for students!

AYY kicks off the spring celebrations a couple of weeks before wappu festivities when Aalto Open Air takes over the Alvari Square. In addition to an extensive stage programme, there are also plenty of festival activities, food trucks and relaxed socialising.

Wappu events also include, for example, academic dinner competitions at the Alvari Square or Tour de Walpuri, which sees freshmen and senior students fiercely compete in fun checkpoint orienteering.

The Wappu Eve programme and traditions vary from association to association, but the entire day is action-packed whatever you study. The Wappu Eve programme organised by AYY includes the Declaration of Wappu Rowdiness and the Wappu Party held at Dipoli.

Wappu Rowdiness is declared from the roof of Smökki and is accompanied by various performances to thousands of spectators from the early afternoon. After the Wappu Rowdiness, students head to Kauppatori to see the “capping” of the Havis Amanda statue, but the biggest parties are found back in Otaniemi later in the evening.

AYY’s Wappu Party at Dipoli is not only the traditional place for technology students to put on their student cap after the winter break, but is also a great way to celebrate wappu with great artists and great company.

The biggest and most well-known part of wappu celebrations is the crowning of the Havis Amanda statue at Kauppatori at 6pm on May Day Eve, 30 April. The crowning means placing a student cap on the statue’s head. The tradition first started in 1932, though it was not very official back then. The ritual attained its current form in 1951, although as late as the 1970s, it was done later in the evening, at the stroke of midnight - this is why technology students still put on their student caps at midnight, while everyone else starts wearing their caps earlier in the evening. Student unions in the metropolitan area take turns to crown the statue, and AYY's turn is every four years. AYY will next get to crown the statue in 2023.

Another higlight of wappu is the herring breakfast taking place at Ullanlinnanmäki Hill on May Day. The morning begins at 9am with an event organised by the student unions of the metropolitan area. The chairs of the student unions deliver their Wappu greetings and the YL Male Voice Choir performs. Students are joined by a huge number of people who have celebrated their student May Days long time ago.

Humans vs. Zombies

AYY’s Outdoor Games Committee (UPTMK) organises a wide range of outdoor activities open to all Aalto students. The most well-known of these is Humans vs. Zombies.

Humans vs. Zombies is a moderated tag game where the zombie players try to spread an infection by capturing the human players. People can defend themselves by hiding, escaping or fighting using socks or nerf guns against the zombies. There are also various tasks to make the game more interesting. HvZ is a team game originally created for campuses like Otaniemi, so we are able to play this game in the best location in Finland!

Flower Day

Flower Day and the birthday of the Teekkari Village are always celebrated on 13 May, the name day of Flora. The Flower Day message is one of the oldest traditions of Flower Day, brought to a person or organisation that has helped to promote important issues. Previously the message was delivered by technology students, but nowadays it is delivered by AYY members.

Cleaning Party

Otaniemi is home to plenty of events, and sometimes you just cannot help making a little mess. The campus section aims to organise a cleaning party on campus, particularly in the Teekkari Village, twice a year so that the area is kept nice for visitors and residents. Anyone who uses the village can take part in the cleaning party, and afterwards participants can enjoy a hot sauna and food and drink as a reward for their efforts.

AYY’s Annual Ball

The annual ball is the Student Union’s most prestigious celebration, which can be seen in the dress code, etiquette and programme. However, AYY’s history is often celebrated in a more relaxed fashion as well, and celebrations are not limited to the day of the annual ball. In fact, there is an Anniversary Week, where you can learn the secrets of dancing at an etiquette course, or relax at the herring brunch with good food, good company, and great entertainment at the end of the week.

AYY’s annual ball is held in May, traditionally on Saturday following Flower Day. The day begins with a cocktail event where the Student Union receives greetings from guests and others who wish to participate. The cocktail party is followed by the main event, where a three-course meal is served, members of the union are rewarded for their efforts, and there is diverse entertainment.  After dinner, the guests dance and continue to the after party where celebrations go on until it is time for the replenishing herring brunch in the following morning. 

Orientation Week

There are all kinds of events arranged during the orientation week, which kicks off the academic year.

Aalto Day One starts off the new academic year with an opening ceremony, followed by association and club checkpoints at the Aalto Party at the Alvari Square. The evening is highlighted by the best after party of the week, the Aalto Afterparty.

In addition, students can have fun on the Otaniemi campus and learn more about the associations and community by visiting different checkpoints.  In autumn, this is arranged as a two-day Ota-Orienteering event. In January, the event is called the Winter Day.

AYY, the university and associations welcome new students and organise pllenty of events and activities to help freshers to learn more about the university and their fellow students.

Otatarha Race & Lakinlaskijaiset

Lakinlaskijaiset, or the “Caps Off” party, is held on 30 September and begins with the action-packed Otatarha Race. The event is a chance for student groups to compete with vehicles that are self-built and not motor powered. Other than these two requirements, the sky is the limit when it comes to style and we have seen a sauna, a Poke ball and a metro carriage on the track. In addition to the race itself, there is also other fun entertainment each year, from obstacle courses to bouncy castles.

The day ends with a major party at Dipoli organised by AYY. The Lakinlaskijaiset party is traditionally celebrated on the last day of September each year, when caps are taken off for winter. Thousands of students gather at midnight to take off their caps, accompanied by the music of the Retuperä Voluntary Fire Brigade Band. The party always hosts a wide range of top performers and fun activities. After all, there is plenty of room to party at Dipoli!

Aalto Amazing Race

Aalto Amazing Race is an adventurous race aimed at all first-year students at Aalto, where freshers meet students from other subjects and departments, as the organiser splits participants into cross-disciplinary teams.  In the race, teams progress towards a goal by solving various tasks and clues against the clock. Aalto Amazing Race is extremely popular and is held in October each year.

Teekkari Tradition Week

The Teekkari Tradition Week is held in the first full week of November to celebrate the culture of technical students, which is more than 145 years old. The week is celebrated at the same time as TKY’s annual celebration week before 2010, and partially shares the same programme.

The club night, singing competition dinner, academic dinner party for freshmen, Polin Appro and, of course, the Teekkari tradition celebration itself - followed by the herring breakfast - have all earned a permanent place in the programme for the week. There are also events related to the culture and traditions of technical students. From 2017 onwards, there will be a dinner organised in English, with the theme changing in accordance with the theme for the week.

The club night is not the traditional Smökki party. Instead, the event focuses on quality and atmosphere. The singing competition dinner is a search for the best singers around, while first-year technical students can attend one of the finest academic dinner parties in Otaniemi. The major event of the week is Polin Appro, where participants embark on a bar crawl near the Old Poli building in Helsinki.

The Teekkari tradition celebration is usually held on the second Friday of November. The celebration is an interdisciplinary annual event, to which all freshmen, technical students and like-minded people are invited. In 2022, the culture of technical students will be celebrating its 150th anniversary.

Teekkarisillis is one of the biggest annual herring breakfasts, which is held at Smökki. There is always something for everyone. Even though the participants have just woken up, the atmosphere will get a little wilder, especially when the artist takes over the stage.

Students’ Torchlight Procession

The students’ torchlight procession is an Independence Day tradition organised in collaboration by the student unions in the metropolitan area to celebrate Finland’s independence in a traditional way.

The first students’ torchlight procession was organised in 1951. Back then, too, the event began by laying a wreath on war graves, after which 2,000 students march to the Senate Square to hear speeches and the choir singing. Today, the procession is a joyful and celebratory event held in the spirit of a communal student movement that looks to the future. Celebrations begin with the laying of a wreath on the Hero’s Cross at Hietaniemi Cemetery, followed by a procession towards the Senate Square. The event is open to everyone.

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