- The new student union becomes operational in the beginning of 2019.
- In the context of preparing the new student union, an extensive amount of data has been collected to identify the members’ expectations for the new student union.
- The new student union’s activities will be guided by its brand and strategy, which will be created after taking the community’s expectations into consideration.
- The data analysis reveals that the new student union is expected to eagerly supervise the university students’ interests in Tampere and create sense of community in the new student community by bringing students and associations together.
See the attachment at the end of the article for the report on the more detailed results of the data collection process.
Towards the new student union: taking the students into consideration
Tampere3 has been discussed for a long time, and soon its impacts will become a reality. The change will affect students in several ways: one of the concrete consequences is the merger between two traditional student unions in Tampere. Already in the beginning of next year, Tamy and TTYY will be merged, resulting in one student union which covers all university students of Tampere. The first joint representative elections will be held in September 2018. During the autumn semester, the first Council of Representatives will make decisions on the new student union’s cornerstones, such as its rules, name, strategy, and brand.
The new student union will bring about potential for change. This does not mean, however, discarding the old: at best, it will lead to mutual learning and combining the strong points of the current student unions. This has been the starting point for the brand and strategy work of the new student union. The merger is seen as a possibility to develop and renew the student unions’ approaches, while still giving thought to the past. One of the members’ survey participants seems to agree:
”It will be more than what we have at the moment. Tamy is a serious professional in the supervision of students’ interests, while for TTYY, the community is the main thing – together, these will result in something unique in a way that is characteristic to Tampere.”
The brand and strategy of the new student union have been under preparation for some time. In February, the student unions formed a brand team together, and after that, in August, a strategy working group was created. This working group works in cooperation with the brand team to prepare the outlines of the new student union’s activities. A functional brand or strategy cannot, however, be created in a small group. At the heart of everything, there is the consultation of the new student union’s most important target group: the students.
From February to May this spring, the brand team collected an extensive amount of data in order to determine what kind of a student union the community expects and how these expectations could be met. At the same time, the team looked into which elements of the current student unions the students would like to retain and what could perhaps be abandoned, as well as in which areas the new student union could work better. The community’s expectations were investigated through different workshops, surveys and interviews targeted to students, organizations and student union actives. This spring, you yourself might have participated in the student union members’ survey or a group interview as a representative of your association, or you might have also come across the brand stands where we aimed to discover students’ opinions and expectations regarding the student union merger.
What does the community expect from the new student union, then?
There are at least as many opinions on the new student union and the merger as there are members in the current student unions. In many aspects, however, the hopes and expectations seem to be consistent, and these provide the foundation for creating the new student union. Some of these expectations are introduced below:
- First of all, the new student union is expected to eagerly supervise the interests of the university students of Tampere. It should genuinely make a difference on matters and give a voice to the students. In this area, the students’ greatest expectations were related to student matters and advocating at campuses.
- Secondly, it was hoped that the student union would create unity, sense of community and shared student culture in Tampere through joint events, cross-organizational cooperation and new traditions. However, they hoped that the new student union would see the existing traditions and cultures as assets and not as something to be discarded. The new student union will be the most diverse one in Finland, which was also considered an advantage. The respondents hoped that this would be valued and made use of. Everyone should be able to feel that they belong in the new community.
- In addition to these, equality between different students, associations, disciplines and campuses was seen as an important theme.
- As the data was collected, many targets for improvement were also detected: most importantly, transparency, communication and inclusion should be developed in the new student union.
In addition to the above-mentioned observations, the collected data also provides insights on several other interesting themes. A summary report is attached to this article, and it provides more details on the key findings of the data collection.
This autumn, the brand and strategy of the new student union will be formulated based on the collected data. The aim of the brand work is to create a student union which genuinely reflects the community and speaks to the students. In order to reach this objective, the student union’s activities and communication – how the student union is perceived – will be developed based on the received feedback. This includes creating a new visual appearance which can, at best, support the new student union’s identity. The brand is developed as a part of the new student union’s strategy work. The strategy work means setting objectives for the new student union and creating concrete policies based on these objectives.
Although the data collection process has officially finished, it is not too late for students to have their say in the matter. The most concrete way to contribute to the new student union is to participate in the representative elections held this September. In view of the future student union, the importance of the elections should not be underestimated. Forming the new community and its identity will take time, so the right persons will be needed this time more than ever.
Have a look at the more detailed results of the data analysis through the link below!
Summary report of the data collection
Note:The summary report above sums up the key findings of the data analysis. If you are interested in hearing more about any of the data collected or a spesific topic regarding the data analysis results in English, please do contact the international affairs sector of your student union! They are happy to help you.
Tamy: Aliisa Toivanen, firstname.lastname@example.org
TTYY: Annimari Hartikainen, email@example.com
Text: Rosa Lehtinen, Brand Coordinator for the student unions
Translation: Emma Laakkonen