In February, while browsing Instagram on my phone, a surprising opportunity came to me. Haaga-Helia’s student union Helga was looking for an intern for the spring, whose tasks would include communication related to the parliamentary elections, influence work and community development.
The job seemed like a great opportunity for me. I had been looking for a job alongside my studies for some time and what better place than my own student union. As a student of journalism, I would be able to use the skills I gained from my studies for communication tasks. Being interested in social issues, I also wanted to be able to organize election-related events and influence. At the same time, I would get closer to my student community, which after a long distance and independent study had remained a stranger to me.
I wrote an application and a week later I had a job interview. Shortly after this, I noticed that I was already reading the introductory material. In my opinion, recruitment was a quick and very positive experience.
After starting the work, I got straight into action. At that point, the elections were less than two months away and the plans were already underway. Helga participated in the election campaign together with student unions of other universities of applied sciences, the Finnish Student Unions – SAMOK and SYL. We implemented election panels, for which I was looking for candidates to speak, I planned the questions for them and was moderating the event. I was involved in making a call round of students for parliamentary election candidates, the most memorable moment of which was a more than 20-minute phone call with Ben Zyskowicz. In addition, I made various posts on Helga’s social media related to elections, such as how to vote in advance, abroad and on the actual election day.
In addition to election influence, I was able to organize various events and participated in planning, the purpose of which was to develop the community. Among other things, I branded the Vaalitoriapprot event during the elections, which I hope will develop over the years. In addition, I was organizing the online implementation of Wellbeing Appro, which gathered more than 150 participants!
I have found Helga to be a very pleasant employer. I have had free hands to realize myself and do the tasks that have interested me. At the same time, I have been able to advance my studies at my own pace, and I know that Helga is very flexible if a task requires time to complete. I have also gained a lot of valuable experience in influencing and communication, which I have been able to use in my job search. After these assignments, I’m going to train for communication training for the Eastern Uusimaa police.
As an experience, influencing work in the student union was eye-opening. In the election work, we are trying to activate Haaga-Helia’s students to vote, which is very important in the current world situation. Statistics show that young adults vote less than other age groups. At the same time, democracy has been attacked in many different ways around the world. Voting has been made more difficult for certain groups of people, election results have been claimed to be frauds, and the legitimate administration has been attacked with weapons. In order for democracy to continue to be preserved, it requires the participation of future generations. That’s why I think it’s important that Helga does election work and encourages students to use their voice.
Helga and the entire student movement will continue to need active actors for influence work. This is therefore important so that the students’ voices can be heard in the future as well. A year from now, the European Parliament elections will be held, in which new MEPs (members of the European Parliament) will be elected. I hope that planning for this election will be started at an early stage so that the upcoming campaign can be successfully implemented.
I also hope that the student movement will actively care about the students’ situation during the entire government negotiations. It is clear that the future government coalition will not be one that would take a positive view of, for example, an increase in the level of student aid. Still, I believe that it is possible to find cooperation and understanding between the future government and the student movement. For example, strengthening the funding of YTHS may be possible to get through, and it should be a key goal in this election period. Four years is a long time and no one can afford a total break.
I found my time at Helga very positive. I was given responsibility, I got to know new people and gained important experiences in working life. So I can recommend applying for an internship at Helga!