Recently, the importance of student union membership and what the student union actually does, has come up in the debate again. This week, we are launching a campaign to share awareness on the importance of the student union.
The actions of the student union are regulated by the Universities of Applied Sciences Act that defines the function of a student union. Section 41 of the Act obliges that each University of Applied Sciences has a student union, which can be joined by students in education leading to a degree. According to the law, the purpose of the student union is to act as a liaison between its members and to promote their civic, social and spiritual aspirations as well as their aspirations related to study and the student’s position in society. The task of the student union is also to prepare students for active, alert and critical citizenship.
The voice of students
The student union OSAKO acts as the voice of the students in several teams in our UAS. Representatives of the student union are involved in, among other things, the education management group, education committees and study well-being groups. In addition, the student union board meets with the school’s operational management once a month. In all meetings, the student union strives to highlight the students’ current affiliations and the students’ views on the issues to be discussed.
OSAKO also comments on the current issues concerning students. An example is the statement on the quality and implementation of teaching made at the beginning of the year together with student organizations, which also started a wide-ranging debate on the topic in the national media.
OSAKO continuously acquires student benefits for the student union membership card independently and together with Slice.fi. In addition to the physical student card, the members of the student union have access to the Pivo’s digital student card, which also has plenty of benefits for the members of the student union only. We are exploring the possibility of getting Pivo to also operate at Oulu’s student restaurants’ self-service checkouts, to identify and pay. This is already in use in Tampere and Jyväskylä.
Please also note that the student card and the membership sticker purchased for the new academic year can also be mailed to you.
OSAKO actively takes care of the well-being of students. During the pandemic, we conducted two surveys on remote learning and its effects on student well-being. The student union has communicated the results of the surveys to the management of the Oamk, the staff responsible for study well-being and FSHS. This spring, the student union will launch a project focusing on student well-being and mental endurance, funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The student union actively cooperates with campus study counsellors and study psychologists and participates in the activities of campus study well-being groups. In addition, a representative of the student union is involved in the FSHS health working group and in the FSHS Northern Region Board.
The student union also coordinates the activities of harassment contact persons at Oulu University of Applied Sciences and assists in the training of new harassment liaison officers. OSAKO’s harassment contact persons provide help, support and advice to students who have experienced harassment or want to talk about inappropriate behavior towards themselves or others. You can also reach the harassment contact persons by e-mail email@example.com.
The student union OSAKO handles tutoring at Oulu University of Applied Sciences. The student union, together with the tutor correspondents of the student organizations, selects new tutors, after which the student union trains them. During the academic year, the student union guides the tutors and arranges meetings for the tutors. OSAKO also brings together the tutor correspondents of student organizations.
The 2021 tutor recruit has just ended and new tutors will be trained during April.
OSAKO provides financial support to student organisations operating in Oamk (Luva ry, Kultti ry, OTE ry, OSASTO ry and OUTO ry). The student union trains the boards of student organizations and brings together board members responsible for different areas of student organizations for regular meetings. For example, OSAKO organizes monthly meetings for board members responsible for events, tutoring, social and educational policy, and internationalization. In addition, meetings are held twice a semester for chairpersons of student organizations. If necessary, OSAKO also supports and offers assistance to student organizations. In addition, the student body manages credits for members of the boards of student organizations.
The student union organizes several events for students. In addition to major events such as the opening event of the school year, the Tour d’Oulu and the Osakoween event, the student union organizes events for students with families as well as international evenings and day trips to Hailuoto, for example, together with ESN Oulu.
During the exceptional period, the student union has organized events remotely. For example, the checkpoint orienteering of MayDay was organized remotely, and during the Sustainability Week, OSAKO launched a challenge related to the theme. Last Thursday, OSAKO together with OUTO ry and Arkko ry organized an overall party remotely.
If the situation allows, the student union organizes the opening event of the academic year together with the Student Union of the University of Oulu OYY in the autumn of 2021.
Local and national advocacy work
OSAKO promotes the interests and well-being of students both municipally and nationally. Before the municipal elections of 2021, OSAKO, together with the Student Union of the University of Oulu OYY, has created a municipal policy program, which has been presented to the parties during the spring. OSAKO maintains a debate in favor of student-friendly decisions by meeting municipal election candidates and MPs.
OSAKO does the national advocacy work through the Finnish Student Unions Association – SAMOK ry. Nationwide successes in advocacy work include the expansion of FSHS to the students of university of applied sciences.
OSAKO promotes internationality in our university together with Oamk’s staff. OSAKO also trains international tutors and organizes international events, especially together with ESN Oulu. OSAKO promotes internationality by distributing a Going Abroad grant for international exchange. OSAKO also coordinates friend family activities of international degree students and local families.
OSAKO strives to promote the employment of students and has been involved in several employment-promoting projects over the years. Currently, OTE – Students as developers of employment-promoting practices alongside UAS staff project is underway, within the framework of which the student union is developing its activities that promote student employment. OSAKO is also involved in organizing the annual employment event Löyly for international students together with OYY and BusinessOulu.
The most important values of OSAKO’s operations are transparency, and OSAKO implements it through communication. OSAKO continuously communicates all of the above to its members, school staff and external actors. In communication, OSAKO also co-operates with several stakeholders and also communicates current issues of stakeholders to its members.
OSAKO informs students and school staff about current issues affecting students. For example, OSAKO has published several blog posts on the progress of the FSHS reform. The student body communicates to its members through social media, a monthly newsletter and student intrigue Oiva.
In addition, OSAKO maintains, plans and implements network- and stakeholder-based campaigns. Currently, OSAKO and Oamk are running a joint Stand Together campaign, in which OSAKO plays a key role in producing communication materials and bringing out students’ voices in working groups.