Last week METKA took part at the summit meeting of The Union of the Student of Finnish Student of Universities of Applied Sciences. It is the most important event of the year for the students of the UASs.
What did we represent there? What we managed to achieve and for what did we use the voice of our members for? What is SAMOK and why is it important?
Believe me, these are questions of great importance!
What is it all about?
Student Union METKA is one of the members of The Union of the Student of Finnish Student of Universities of Applied Sciences along with 24 other Student Unions. Together we represent more than 142 000 students in Finland.
There were 152 representatives and votes present at union summit from almost all of the Universities of Applied Sciences all around Finland. METKA had 14 votes to use at the summit which made us the biggest delegation in the meeting alongside The Student Union of Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Tamko.
METKAs weight in SAMOKs decision making is connected to the amount of members the student union has. The more members we have, the more votes we get and the stronger our voice is. This is the case in everything we do in interest watching and advocacy for student. This is why you, a student at Metropolia, are needed as a member of student union.
What did METKA want in the summit?
METKA represented strongly future oriented views in the summit. Te talked for development of student movement and wanted to improve its weight in the society. The student union should create value and work for their needs and interests.
Separate issues that we supported were for example paid practical training, the mental health services for students and the use of English language alongside Finnish in the student movement. We managed to bring forward our views even though the mention about mental health did not end up in the plan of activities for the 2020 in the end.
METKA also had a candidate to the executive board of SAMOK for the year 2020. Nimo Samatar, a member of the board of METKA had a short campaign with themes around the equality of studying possibilities and the social diversity among students. Unfortunately, the campaign did not end up her being chosen. The delegation of METKA was anyways happy and proud of Nimo for representing issues that she and the student Union METKA kept important.
Stories from the summit
The summit lasted for three days. It started at Wednesday evening with talks between the student unions and preparation meetings. Thursday and Friday were the official summit meeting days. The summit received many greetings from different organizations including the Finnish government. The main speech was delivered by The Minister for Science and Culture, Hanna Kosonen. The summit is a surprisingly prestigious event.
The days were filled with communication between delegates, negotiation and preparing speeches and different proposals. The summit was often intensive but at times included also waiting and sitting bored at the seats.
Many former METKA actives were also present at the summit. The speech person for the student organization of the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland, Maria Jokinen, and the communications expert at SAMOK, Emmi Paajanen, are both former METKA actives. Student unions really teach a lot of important skills and open possibilities to get to challenging positions if you just are motivated.
The summit was also a possibility to meet new people and old friends. For example, the advocacy specialist Sakari of METKA found out that one of the delegates was the mother of his sisters god daughter and found a new friend who was born in the same region with him. Together we noticed again that Finland is a small country and people in the student movement are well networked.
Roller coaster of feelings and events
The summit of SAMOK is the set for many important decisions and everyone present takes them seriously. The situations may change rapidly. The delegates must be ready to speak in front of the delegates with a short time to prepare. The opinions of the many student unions around the Finland are sometimes flexible and sometimes dictated by their earlier decisions or political programs. To get decisions done you have to be prepared to negotiate and understand the viewpoints of student around Finland.
Sometimes it is frustrating to see that other delegates don’t see some of your viewpoints as important as you. On the other hand, it is greatly rewarding to find a common line and goals. Often the issues and especially elections include personal goals and feelings. Those situations are a test for being able to keep the decisions and personal viewpoints separate and to understand other people. It may be hard.
As a whole, the summit was fruitful for METKA even though not all of the goals were achieved. The delegates of METKA talked probably most often compared to any other student union and brought new ideas into the conversation.
Next year we will be trying to have an impact for the common cause. Hopefully our delegation has many members then also and we can make a change if needed.
For that we need a lot of members and a solidary student union.
This post is also available in Suomi.