Brief in english

What is a student nation (= osakunta)?

The student nations of the University of Helsinki are unique organisations that bring together students who come from a certain region of Finland. There are student nations for those who come from western Finland or from Lapland, etc. Student nations organize lots of activities for their members. These include the nations' own choirs, orchestras, theatre groups, hobby clubs, sports, cultural activities as well as trips to their home region, dinners and also societal activities such as keeping in touch with the MPs of the region.
The status and purpose of the student nations are written in the Finnish law: they are to "support and develop their members' intellectual pursuits and improve their social conditions". Members of the student nations can represent any field of study. Student nations can also provide their members with services such as student apartments, libraries and scholarships. Every student nation has an inspector, that is, a university professor who supervises the student nation. The head of the student nation is called "kuraattori" (curator). The student nations were the first student organisations in Finland and they together founded the Student Union of Finland (nowadays the Student Union of the University of Helsinki, HYY) in 1868. Today, there are altogether 16 student nations in Finland, 15 of which in the University of Helsinki. Four of them are Swedish-speaking, and the others Finnish-speaking. Five of the student nations have premises in the New Student House, owned by the Student Union.

What is this website "osakuntatilat.fi" about?

The economy board of the Student Union has made a proposal on the division of the Student Union's organisation rooms for the year 2009. On May 30, 2008, the board suggested in their proposal that the present number of student nation rooms in the New Student House (Mannerheimintie 5) would be cut in half next year. Student organizations have time to give feedback to the Student Union about the motion from June until the end of August. This website is one way to give this feedback. On this website, you will find information concerning the proposal and its effects from the point of view of the student nations'. You can also sign a petition addressed to the board of the Student Union, supporting the preservation of the student nation premises and activities. In September, the economy board will formulate its final motion to the Student Union board, which will in turn decide the matter at the end of September, 2008.

What does the motion of the Student Nation's economy board mean?
In the proposal presented by the economy board, the Swedish-speaking student nations Åbo nation (ÅN), Östra Finlands Nation (ÖFN) and Åländska studentföreningen i Helsingfors are to move from their present organization room, Kupoli, to be placed in the same premises as the Finnish-speaking student nation Savolainen osakunta (SavO). In addition, the student nation Varsinaissuomalainen Osakunta (VSO) is to move from its present premises, where it has resided since the New Student House was built in 1910, and share rooms with another student nation, Eteläsuomalainen Osakunta (ESO). The proposal, if implemented, would force the student nations to cut down substantially on their activity. The student nations are like second homes to their members, and so moving from the existing rooms would have a crucial effect on the identity of these student nations. Kupoli is the last entirely Swedish-speaking room of the Student Union. It is therefore especially important for the Swedish-speaking students as it creates a space where they can speak their mother tongue, otherwise a minority language, amongst peers. If the board of the Student Union decided to accept the proposal and cut the amount of student nation rooms in half, this would also have consequences for the Student Union. Student nations have renovated their rooms during the past years using tens of thousands of euros. Unlike other student organisations, student nations also clean their rooms and halls regularly by themselves, which saves Student Union more than 30 000 euros a year. Since the furniture and equipment in the rooms are the property of the nations, the Student Union would have to help finance replacements for the organizations that move in. The proposal seems to imply that the Student Union does not want to encourage student organisations to maintain their premises in a good condition and that it does not value the activities organized by the student nations. Those who have already signed the petition have wanted to express their concern about the proposal and their appreciation for the importance of the student nation premises for the Student Union. Among the undersigned there are three current ministers of Finland.