An oversight of the Board’s year
Blog — 23.11.2023
The application for the Student Union of ÅAU’s (ÅAS) Board of 2024 is now open and we have put together a small annual clock to give you an oversight of what the Board’s work entails and what we do during a year at ÅAS. What we have listed below is an overview of major events from the various areas of responsibility within the Board.
The new Board gathers in Åbo for the Board training and to get to know each other and the staff. The Board meets with deans, rectors and other members of staff at ÅAU, as well as try to be visible on campus so that students also get to know the new Board members. The Board will also arrange training for the student associations at ÅAU.
The Student Union traditionally organizes Shrove Tuesday, meaning Fastlaskiainen in both Vasa and Åbo, the Student Union’s Annual Ball and the Associations’ Fair at both locations. In addition, the Board participates in the seminar days, organized by the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) for all the Student Unions in Finland.
The Board allocates association and project funds. The Board prepares for and trains tutors for the upcoming academic year, and starts planning the search for sponsors for the next Student Union Calendar for the academic year, “Kårkalender”.
The Board hands out roses to a few chosen ones within the ÅAU faculties who have done an excellent job. In April it is also time for one of the spring’s major events in Åbo, the May Day eve celebration at Vårdberget on 30 April. In Vasa, students meet for the traditional event where the Topelius statue receives its graduation cap on May Day eve.
The Board eventually begins to wrap up the spring semester and starts to plan the upcoming fall events. While most of the Board goes on summer vacation halfway through the month, the Chair of the Board stays a couple of weeks to continue planning for the autumn together with the Student Union’s staff.
Summer vacation (or summer job)
The autumn starts with the Board getting together for a week to make plans for the autumn semester with the staff. In addition, the Board meets tutors, exchange students and freshers, while at the same time planning for the incoming semester.
The Board participates in various events for freshers in both Åbo and Vasa. In Vasa the sitz for exchange students is organized in cooperation with other universities. The Lilla Wappen-sitz takes place in Åbo the last Saturday in September, and in both locations Freshers’ Fair is arranged – this is a fair aimed to all new (and old) students where associations and companies can introduce themselves to students and sell merchandise and memberships. The Board also participates in the SYL autumn seminar.
In October, you barely have time to take a breather after a wonderful start to the semester before it is time for the rest of autumn’s events. This month a lot is going on in Vasa, the Board organizes a trip for exchange students and international master students together with ÅAU Sports, the pyjama-sitz for freshers together with SSHV from Hanken School of Economics, and of course Halloween Run together with other universities in Vasa. What about Åbo? There the Board arranges blood donations at Kåren where all the associations can participate and try to win the “Droppen”-cup.
The Board can relax a little bit, but only every other year, because in November (every odd year) the Student Union Council Election takes place. SYL also organizes General Assembly in November, where delegates from all the student unions in Finland elect a new SYL Board for the upcoming year. The Board also prepares the election for a new Board of our own as well as training for the spring’s tutors for the incoming exchange students.
The finish line is in sight for the Board, and the new Board will be elected in December. However, there is still a few events before the year is all wrapped up. On Independence Day, the traditional flag processions are held in both Åbo and Vasa. The Board also plans training for the new student association boards for January, and the annual Christmas party at Kåren to celebrate the year with the staff one last time before it is time for the old Board to step down from ÅAS.
Advocacy work and student associations are an important part of the Board’s work
In addition to all the things above, we still want to mention some important things that the Board does. Every month we have meetings with both the principals and the deans to raise attention to current matters. We sit in various work groups within and without ÅAU and are invited to events where people want to hear students’ thoughts and opinions. We also meet with politicians to raise our voice on national level and lastly; once a month, we meet with the Student Union Council, which decides what the Board should work on.
During our year on the Board, we have continual contact with our associations to discuss current matters, organize events, and to hear if they have ideas to improve ÅAU. Finally, we represent ÅAS at a lot of annual balls organized by our associations and other Student Unions around the country.
A year in the Board is much more than just a job
When we now summarize a year, this can perhaps feel intense, and it is. But a Board year at ÅAS is so much more than just a job. It is a community within the Board, opportunities to sit with people in rooms you would otherwise never have access to, and create unforgettable memories for both yourself, your Board, the staff and of course, for all the students at ÅAU.
The Board 2023
The Student Union of ÅAU