I started my studies in Haaga-Helia in autumn 2020, just as corona restrictions were getting stricter due to the growing number of cases. Because of this, feelings about my new studies in the UAS were very conflicting; on one hand I was excited to be able to study in a new field, on the other I was terrified thinking about studying alone online. I believe many of last year’s freshers are familiar with those feelings.
Even though no official events were held over my fresher year, time spent in parks in the beginning of autumn helped me to get to know my groupmates better. In the same group was a student who was starting their second degree in Haaga-Helia and was actively participating in e. g. Helga’s activities.
“I’m going to run for Helga’s Representative Council, would you be interested in that?”
I did not know how to answer. What Representative Council? What are you trying to get me into? In the end I agreed to become a candidate, even if I wasn’t quite certain what it really was all about. I did learn all the important information about the council and its operations from the other candidates.
Due to the corona restrictions, we couldn’t campaign on campuses as the experienced council members were used to. By using social media and online platforms we succeeded to campaign our candidates. This was the first time I could meet other Haaga-Helia students outside my own degree program and campus. It was relieving to notice that even with the restrictions it was possible to meet new people.
I got elected as a vice-member in the Representative Council. I was happy with the result, as my standing as a student active was still quite unknown. The first meeting was interesting to follow. We chose the Council’s chairpersons and Helga’s board for the following calendar year. Additionally, we elected the members of the election committee, and after a bit of thinking I decided to run for it and was chosen.
The council work began at the start of the year. Nearly monthly meetings and evening lessons were interesting and the discussions in them have been very educational. Even via web connections, I enjoyed the meetings.
My first half-term in the council has been very informative. I was not really familiar with how associations operate before joining, so I have learned a lot. Autumn is forming up to become even more interesting, as we are working with renewing the policy program. Before joining the council, I couldn’t have imagined I would be interested in something like that, but following and learning from other members I have found my interest in making a change this way, too.
The best thing about my council year so far has been the people. Even though additional Zoom meetings don’t always sound tempting, the other members make them interesting and intriguing with their enthusiasm and opinions.
By participating in the Representative Council and Election committee, I have gotten acquainted with students over the degree program borders. These people have made me feel like I belong to a community and that I am a valuable part of it even during the socially distanced year. Even though I have participated in the meetings home on my computer, I am not completely alone – I have Helga, I have community.
Vice-member of the representative council
The nomination period of the Representative council election is on and ends at 30th of Septemeber 2021. You can read more about the elections here.