Discussion, trainings and friends.
The roof organization of Finnish Student Unions, SAMOK, has traditionally organized an autumn start every year. The autumn start is an event where, as the name implies, the autumn work starts. In the autumn start we discuss the materials of the Annual General Meeting, participate in trainings, have the SAMOK candidate panel and network with the other student unions. I attended representing Helga and participated in the panel as the candidate for the chairperson of SAMOK.
SAMOK’s 25th Annual General Meeting will be held on October 29-30, 2020. At the meeting, SAMOK’s member organizations, i.e. the student unions, decide on the union’s action plan, budget, strategy, long-term EU advocacy plan, and the FSHS statute. In addition, a board for 2021 will be elected.
Reviewing the meeting materials is a big part of the fall start. It is a good idea to start the discussion on the materials in advance so that the student unions can start preparing the statements without worrying about not understanding some specific points. Questions can be asked from the SAMOK Board, who will do their best to answer any topics felt ambiguous by the student union field. This is also a good place to influence the work of the union. A long-term EU advocacy plan is important because SAMOK is the only body that represents a purely polytechnic (UAS) student in the EU field.
This year’s autumn start was exceptional for many reasons. This year, a four-year strategy for SAMOK is being prepared. Commenting on the strategy can be very influential, as SAMOK uses the strategy to guide its action. In this way, student unions determine the long-term direction for SAMOK. The strategy is still under discussion, but it currently contains excellent objectives, for example in terms of equality and transparency. The strategy is a good compass for the union to give direction for years to come. However, no materials have been prepared for the problems caused by the pandemic and recovery from the emergency. The student body needs solutions to these issues.
SAMOK organized two trainings for us. Training related to service design was very helpful. During the training, each group executed their own ‘service design express’ styled campaign. The student unions had great ideas for the challenges faced by the student unions during the pandemic, for example. The second training was related to performance and membership acquisition. Helga got great ideas on how to better serve Haaga-Helia’s students to make membership more attractive. We will certainly include service design in our future work.
The importance of networking and community cannot be emphasized enough. The pandemic has forced student unions to move their own activity online. This further gnaws at the well-being of the student union offices, which is already at stake with the ever-increasing workload. Seeing friends, grilling, and going to sauna was a well-received break for all the attendees.
See you in the hallways, in events, (and remotely). Or you can be in contact with me via email!
Chairperson of the representative council