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Welcome freshers

Blog — 13.9.2023

Welcome freshers!

When the fall is right around the corner it is once again time for a new wave of students to embark on a new chapter in their lives. During the following years you will get a lot of happy memories and a lot of new friends. Many look back at their time at university with fondness and it is our wish you will be able to do the same in the future.

The Student Union offers versatile services for their members

When you enrolled, you paid the student union fee. Both new and older students might not know where this money goes to, therefore we wanted to explain what you get in return. As a student at Åbo Akademi University you are automatically a member of the Student Union of Åbo Akademi University (ÅAS), therefore, ÅAS has 5000 members. Once you have paid the fee, you will get access to a whole lot of services:

  • Discounted prices when you rent our spaces in Kåren in Åbo, and Havtornen in Vasa. ÅAS does also own Tavasthem in Åbo where you can rent a student apartment for reasonable prices.
  • Our service points offer a helping hand with a multitude of topics, even when you do not know who to turn to. Our Service Expert in Åbo is Sandra and in Vasa you will get assistance from Amanda. You can also get our student calendar Kårkalender from our service points, free of charge!
  • ÅAS also has harassment contact persons that you always can reach out to if you feel that you have been unfairly or mistreated on campus or at a student event. Petra and Sandra are there to listen and support you.
  • The Student Union also owns the student restaurants Kårkaféerna in Åbo, so when you eat at some of their establishments you support ÅAS and indirectly yourselves as a member of the Student Union. Unfortunately, we do not have a student union café in Vasa, but we are hopeful for the future.

The main job for ÅAS is advocacy work, but what does that mean?

ÅAS works for a better every-day life for all students at the university. Every month, we meet with rectors, deans, and other personnel at ÅAU to bring forth students’ opinions. If you have anything you would want to improve at the university, you can contact us, and we will bring it up with the University. All the management and staff that we have met during the year have been very approachable with our wishes, but unfortunately not everything can be changed. The personnel at the university do want to hear the students out and want them to have as good time as possible for the students.

The Student Union Council Elections

You have the right to vote in the election of the Student Union Council as a member of ÅAS. The elections are held every other year and the next one is later this fall. ÅAS consists of the Board and the Council – representatives of which is elected during this fall. The Student Union Council then elects the Board members each year and decides, for example, how the student union fee is used, what ÅAS is working towards. You can find more information about the elections on our website and more information is yet to come. So, keep an eye out on our social media platforms and on our webpage.

Student representatives develop the university and works for the good of all students

It is very appreciated to be a student representative at ÅAU since the personnel appreciates the students’ opinions. There are student representatives in most branches of ÅAU, and therefore a lot of students are involved and can influence what happens at the university. Anyone can apply for the different student representative seats, and if any open position happens to interest you, why not get involved?

The Student Union makes your voice heard – both locally and nationally

The Student Union does not just strive to make life at ÅAU better, but also on a local and national level. Åbo City and Vasa City want to meet the student unions regularly to hear how they can improve life for students in general, for example through events, internships, or other services that the students might need.

On a national level, we want to raise the quality of life for all students in Finland. We can do this foremost through our umbrella organisation: National Union of University Students in Finland. They work to ensure that students have affordable housing and enough money to live. We at ÅAS also work to influence on a national level by personally meeting ministers where we present our viewpoints and thoughts. Ministers are also curious to hear students’ opinions on things.

Events – the golden edge on the student’s everyday life

ÅAS celebrates 104 years of operation this year. Therefore, ÅAS has far-reaching student traditions that involve Students’ Independence Day’s Procession of the Flags, and ”capping” (putting on the examination caps) on May Day to name a few. There are newer traditions as well that have been created over the years, for example Fastlaskiainen (a sledge competition for student associations) is a very appreciated event.

As I mentioned earlier, ÅAS is turning 104 years old, so please come and celebrate with us at our annual celebration on 23 September in Vasa!

Student associations livens up the student life

Last, but certainly not least, we have our student associations. It is these associations that will be visible and be a big part of your life during your studies. Without these associations and volunteers, we would not have as good student life as we get. Therefore, ÅAS tries to support the associations as much as possible, so that they can continue to create a social context for all the students at ÅAU.

Enjoy your study time and time at university

As a few closing words, I would like to encourage all new students to make the most of your time as a student. Student life consists of much more than just studying, so be sure to make the most of everything that student life has to offer! Time passes by faster than you think, so make sure to enjoy yourself during your time at university. Go on events even if it feels a little bit uncomfortable and unfamiliar, it is often more fun than you could have imagined!