TUO’s Chair Blogs: What is a student union, anyway?

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Hi, and welcome to the blog of Student Union TUO’s chairperson!

My name’s Jose Palmeiro. In 2019, I hold the position of the chairperson of TUO’s representative body, which means that at the same time, I’m also the chair of the whole student union. Beginning here, I’m starting a series of blog posts that explain the inner and outer workings of TUO to everybody interested, seen through my eyes. I’m also going to blog about my experiences as the chairperson this year.

When I first joined TUO’s board in 2018, as the member of the board responsible for tutoring, I found the student union a strange, unfamiliar organization. I knew hardly anything about the things TUO does. As the year progressed, I got to know TUO’s ways of making a difference better. Now, I’m already much wiser, but there’s of course still plenty to learn.

I believe many of our members feel like I did in the beginning of 2018.

Even though TUO works on plenty of different issues, our work isn’t visible to most students. This is something I’d like to change. I hope that via these blog posts, the student union and its work will start feeling less secretive to many of you. And even if participating in organizational activities isn’t something that’s near and dear to your heart, I wish my blog posts will still be of interest!

I could start by telling you some basic information about the way Student Union TUO works. Here’s who manage our activities:

Representative body

• 29 members + chairperson + vice chairperson

• The governing body of Student Union TUO

• The members are democratically chosen by the members of TUO. Each member has a vote in the council election that’s always held in November!

• This year, the representative body consists of members of five different student groups (that is, the student union equivalent of parties): Tekniikan Taitajat (Students of technical fields), Tradenomiopiskelijat (Students of business administration), SOTE-lista (Students of healthcare and social services), Oikeat (“On the right”) and Eläinoikeuslista (“Animal rights list”)

• The representative body makes the big decisions in the student union: the cost of the membership, the budget, the plans of action, the policy guidelines, and so forth

Board

• 6 members + chairperson + vice chairperson

• Carries out the everyday work of the student union according to the decisions of the representative body

• Works in the development of many different sectors: educational policy, social policy, internationalism, tutoring, physical activity policy, student culture and communications

Staff

• 4 advisers + executive director

• Carries out the everyday work of the student union at the TUO office and the membership service points, together with the members of the board

• Helps and supports the members of the board in their responsibilities and makes sure the student union’s services are of a high quality

Student representatives of the faculties

• Act as messengers between the students and the management team of each TUAS faculty

• Sought via an open call yearly

Tutors

• Help and support new TUAS students all the way through their first year of studies

• Sought via an open call twice a year

TUO team

• Comes up with and organizes leisure time activities for students, together with the board member responsible for the team

• Members sought via an ongoing open call (just e-mail neea.laine@opiskelijakunta.net!)

Besides all this, TUO also has student representatives in many different places, such as the board of Turku University of Applied Sciences, the board and commission of The Student Village Foundation of Turku, the TUAS board of student affairs and board of examiners.

So, this is who’s protecting your interests and making the voice of the students heard in TUAS and the Turku region in general.

May 2019 be a good year to us all! I’ll write more soon. :)

– Jose