This article is part of the series “Introducing Board 2020”. Here other articles of the series:
1. Communications, corporate relations and worklife
2. Higher education politics
3. Social politics, vice chairman, well-being and sports
4. Associations and events
5. Municipal affairs, offsite campuses Lahti & FITech and international affairs
6. Culture and tutoring
7. Chair of the board
Next up is the position of the board’s culture and tutoring affairs. As with the other board members, I’ll tell about how I got here and elaborate on what the position includes.
I’m an n-year student in software engineering who has since my freshman year taken part in guild-, hobby-, student culture and advocacy activities. Before coming to LUT I tried studies in an university of applied sciences in Haaga Helia, where the student community spirit and student life was lacking. From the first days here the older students at the time hammered the idea of partaking in student community activities in my head. This idea came to fruition and I’ve been a part of Teekkarilaulajat, Ruut, Cluster and PoWi, the latter two of which I was the chairman of as well. At the same time I’ve been a student representative for two terms in the academic council, university college and LTKY’s council. Last year as the last of my chairmanships was at it’s end and I was about to retire my student activist career, the idea of applying for LTKY’s board for one last encore sparked among my group of friends. It was an intriguing idea, as for my entire time here I’ve taken part in the Skinnarila’s student culture wholeheartedly. Touring around Finland’s student communities and networking has given me some experience and perspective on what makes our community great and what we could improve on. This combined with the ‘love of the craft’ meant that I wanted to do my part and work towards our student community thriving in the years to come. As a cherry on top, to be the main orchestrator of Wappu 2020 would be the crowning achievement of my student activist career after which I could hang my coat with pride. With my long term friend Henna applying, the decision was made.
The year would entail my main project that I set for myself: the community would be more inclusive, more people would feel a sense of belonging and the barrier of entry on partaking would be lowered. In practice, I would found Freshman captains for international students and bilingualising all event activities. The captains did start this fall and I’ve been doing a lot of translating to make good on the goals I set for myself. As a good example I held my board member introductions last spring in Rally-english and it will get it’s sequel in the near future. Another big part of the job has been founding Kuja, or the culture- and events taskforce. It began its operations and exceeded my expectations; the year would have had many great new events.
But as it happened, the corona pandemic pulled the rug out from under us. Wappu 2020 was a week away when we had to pull the plug with no knowledge of the future. This left me in a solemn mood, but our communications stepped up with the organizing of WWWappu. I’ve had the dubious honor of being ‘The Kulli’ that cancelled just about everything. On the other hand I’ve had an intensive course on crisis management and we managed to arrange all the essentials: freshmen orientations and the baptism of the Teekkaris and Kylteris of freshmen 2019. A lot of traditions have underwent radical changes and adaptations and I’m sure the gems found in the process will improve the years to come.
I believe that next year will still include managing and adapting to student culture in the time of corona. I believe it’s vital that Teekkari or Kylteri traditions don’t fade away with us not being able to physically gather as a large group, because the free state of Skinnarila will be standing even after the pandemic. I’d like to see the international freshman captains and Kuja to continue operations as I feel one of the biggest discrepancies in our community is the inclusion of international students. Another grand task at hand will be the new bachelor degree students in Lahti, where the void of student culture and community must be filled by LTKY and the guilds. This might be the biggest undertaking anyone with this job title has had to do in recent memory. In the end, the actual projects and goals will be set by the board of 2021.
So how’s the job in practice? This role is a peculiar one in the board, whereas other board members have long, ongoing projects, on the culture side of things there are roughly speaking two kinds of work: either large, time intensive events such as Wappu or freshman orientation where it’s pretty much a full time job, and more lax maintenance tasks such as consulting and helping clubs and guilds and generally working in smaller culture related tasks. Partaking in the guild council’s meeting as a secretary is a major opportunity to influence the student community on a grassroots level. Time management-wise I’d characterize this title as a light part-time job. There are however times (as the aforementioned Wappu and freshmen orientations) that are very time consuming. I’ve worked as an IT-contultant for 22,5 (3 days) a week the entire year, although I have very flexible working hours. It should be noted that I haven’t really studied at all this year.
Tutoring is a smaller part of my job, as the tutors are employees of LUT, not us. It has mainly been my responsibility to ensure our tutors are informed about the student union and work as worthy first contacts of new students to our community and generally tried to nudge the tutoring in LUT to a better way.
Many board applicants might wonder, what is required of them? Apart from being a member of LTKY there are no hard requirements. The board members will be thoroughly introduced to their jobs and the most important things are motivation and love for the work. For my successor it would make things a lot easier though if he or she would have knowledge and experience of student culture, traditions, events and a good network also outside your usual bubble. You don’t have to know everything in advance, as there is a large network of older culture activists and helping hands are always close by. All along during the year the Free State of Skinnarila has shown that I’m not the lone vanguard of student culture, but instead the best part of being a boardmember are the members of the student community: the people.
Kirjoittaja on LTKY:n hallituksen jäsen, joka vastaa kulttuurista ja tuutoroinnista.