TUO’s Chair Blogs: Notes from a busy January

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Hello again, dear readers!

In my previous posts, I have written about Student Union TUO’s different functions on a general level. I hope those posts have helped you to understand how Student Union TUO works. In this post, I thought to write a little about the very beginning of 2019. January is one of the busiest months for us here in TUO, so don’t be surprised by the number of events I’m going to list here. There was a lot!

My term as a chairperson of TUO’s representative body begun at the beginning of this year, and in January, the very first event I took part as a TUO trustee in was the “tradition transportation” evening with both old and new TUO boards. That means each old board member explains their duties to the new board member that takes over their post.

Next, it was time for the new board’s briefing. That means going through the student union’s duties and functions, familiarizing ourselves with TUO’s closest collaborators and so forth. One of TUO’s most important collaborators is of course Turku University of Applied Sciences. That is why TUAS president Vesa Taatila visits the briefing every year to share some information about TUAS and discuss the upcoming year.

Don’t be surprised by the number of events I’m going to list here. There was a lot!

After being thoroughly briefed, we took part in the WWF (Wide West Finland, a network of Finnish student unions) training where we got the chance to learn, to meet student union trustees from other schools, and to network. The participating student unions take turns arranging the training, and this time, it was TUO’s turn.

TUO’s staff oversaw arranging the event. We had the chance to listen to quite an assortment of speakers: Finnish minister of finance Petteri Orpo visited us, we participated in a performing workshop by trainer Juhana Helmenkalastaja, Emma-Stina Vehmanen from communications company Miltton gave a talk about lobbying, and Maria Flemming from advertising agency Avidly spoke about brand building. A very informative two days!

Next, me and Miro hosted the first representative body evening of the year. We wanted to have an informal meeting with no agenda whatsoever, so we could all get to know each other and spend some time together. We played beer pong (or water pong, to be more accurate, since the evening was alcohol-free), chatted and had a nice time getting to know each other.

Next stop in January: Helsinki. We went to the capital for the Opku+ training, Opku+ being a network of student unions with TUO, ASK, Helga, HUMAKO, Laureamko, METKA and O’Diako as members. Besides having joint trainings for the staff and trustees, the Opku+ collaboration means we share our membership registry with all participating student unions, so TUO members can visit the membership service points of any Opku+ student union to be served. TUO members can also get member discounts to events hosted by other Opku+ student unions (for example, HUMAKO’s and O’Diako’s events here in Turku).

After the Opku+ training we boarded a ship to Stockholm for University of Applied Sciences Students in Finland SAMOK’s Lähtölaukaus (“Starting Signal”) cruise. The point of the cruise is to meet other student union trustees from all around Finland and to get educated on current topics. This time, the cruise program featured, for example, talks about the two elections of spring 2019: Finnish parliamentary election and European Parliament election.

Afterwards, time for another representative body evening. Usually, the point of these evenings is to familiarize ourselves with the agenda of the upcoming representative body meeting in a relaxed setting. This is to make sure the official meetings will stay on schedule.

My calendar for January also included a couple of board meetings, a meeting with the central electoral committee (that is, the group of people who take care of Student Union TUO’s representative body election)… And that’s about it for my first month as the chairperson of TUO, and also for this blog post.

Student union trustees with minister of finance Petteri Orpo at the WWF training

The beginning of 2019 was super busy, but even though it’s been hard at times, I believe all this has given me plenty of knowledge and know-how to utilize this year – and in working life, once I graduate. Let’s take a closer look at the spring of 2019 in my upcoming posts.

Thank you for reading! Until next time :)

– Jose

Photos: Suvi Elo