This article is part of the series “Introducing Board 2021”. Here other articles of the series:
About the same time last year, I wrote a similar type of presentation about my own board year. On the board of LTKY, I took care of municipal policy, Lahti campus issues and internationality. As I wrote what had been done during the year, there was a constant feeling that I still had something to give to this community. At the same time, I was happy about the past year and at the same time sad that now I have to say goodbye to the LTKY family. The expansion of Lahti was one of my biggest projects last year, and I wanted to be able to finish it together with the actors of the coming year. In addition, I enjoyed leading the International Committee and the Municipal Policy Working Group, and I felt that as Chair I could develop myself as a team leader and motivator.
What is the Chair really doing?
During this year, I have been the Chair of the Board of the Student Union, so I have briefly managed the activities of the Board and been responsible for the day-to-day work of the office together with the Executive Director. As Chair, I have been able to take a peek at just about every sector that our board manages and support and help our board if needed, both as a team and on a personal level to board members. Especially in such a small board, it has been important to have good and open relations with every member of the board and to be able to talk about even difficult issues with confidence. The Chair also leads Heimonevosto, which consists of the Chairs of the guilds, prepares meetings and discusses how the guilds do and answers questions from the Chairs. Through Heimoneuvosto, it has received a good overview of what is happening in the field and which issues are being discussed among the students.
Another visible job of the Chair is to represent the Student Union at various events and meetings and to make statements to the media. In many places, the Chair of the board is the face of the entire LUT community and the voice of the students. The Chair does a lot of stakeholder work both on campuses, with cities and nationwide in the Student Union movement with other Chairs and SYL. It is difficult to prepare for the work itself, as the job depends on a weekly basis, depending on what is going on in our own community or nationally. As Chair, you usually have to react quickly to changing situations and form the lines of the entire Student Union and community.In addition, the Chair of the Board is responsible for the activities of the entire Board to the Representative Council and reports at the meetings of the Representative Council on what has been done between the meetings. As Chair, I have been in a lot of contact with the Chairs of the Representative Council, discussing various issues with them and also asking for help and background support between meetings. At the same time as the Representative Council monitors the Board’s activities and the implementation of the Board year-plan, the Representative Council also acts as the Board’s support for example in various project working groups. In addition to these basic responsibilities, I have been able to handle recruitments, redundancies and contract negotiations, give speeches at various events, attend a lot of events and represent the Student Union, and prepare a lot of different documents and statements. Email and telephone are the most important tools for the Chair, but where possible I prefer face-to-face discussion and meetings.
Are you the next Chair of the Board?
It is the Chair who is likely to be the first to hear both good and bad feedback from the community. The Chair is also often expected to provide quick answers, decisions or guidelines on various topics. Therefore, the Chair should be on the map of what is happening both in our own community and nationwide. This is helped by close contact with other Student Union Chairs and SYL, as well as hearing and being present in the community. However, there does not have to be a direct answer to everything, sometimes it is really okay to say that I will find out a little more and come back when there are enough facts known to form an opinion or a line.I think one of the most important features of the Chair is listening and taking an interest in things. In addition, it is important that the threads stay in your hands and be able to delegate and share tasks. You don’t have to do everything alone and your own board is the best team the Chair has. Scheduling and prioritizing your own time use is also a skill you will learn at least during the year. Although the work of the Chair is sometimes one big circus, where I myself try to stay just on a ride and at times really stressful, but still I feel that this has given much more than it has taken.
Or a board member?
One of the biggest reasons why I can and want to do this with all my heart from day to day is that I can really make students a better tomorrow and guarantee a memorable study time and student life experience. Many thanks for that go first and foremost to the board and the employees who have managed their own sectors diamond this year as well. So even if you don’t apply for a Chair, go and apply for a board member. Each member of the board also has access to projects in other sectors according to his/her own interest and resilience, because there is enough to do. In addition, with the board this year we have participated in many and made various raptures, in which everyone is involved, regardless of the sector. Especially this autumn, when the world is starting to return to normal, the board has also been able to represent it at several annual celebrations in Lappeenranta as well as around Finland and at other meetings. We have also had cottage weekends and evenings together with the board and the office, where you can get to know people better and talk about things outside of work. The board consists of a small family with whom they can work day in and day out. The best thing about LTKY’s board is all these people, so apply to join the LTKY family to make students a better student life!