Did you know that this autumn seminar is only the second one in the Union’s history? In the past, SYL’s autumn was livened up by various sector meetings, but this time we were once again able to begin our journey towards the General Assembly with the entire student movement – together, which is as it should be in the jubilee year.
The first day of the seminar, which was organised in Lappeenranta, was allocated to sharing news with other sectors, as well as some training. Participants improved their knowledge of topics like the regional government reform and bullying in higher education, while others reflected on their own leadership skills and discussed free tuition. A cheerful murmuring could be heard through the corridors, and even the external speakers were inspired by the atmosphere of the seminar.
On day two it was time to discuss the General Assembly materials. First there was a general introduction, then we worked in groups preparing the themes of the Plan of Work and putting together ideas for commenting on them. Regarding working life advocacy, participants discussed the importance of working life relevance for the students and universities; in relation to an EU-themed project they discussed the student unions’ opportunities to exert their influence on a European level; while the development cooperation group discussed the focus of potential new projects. The discussion became particularly lively on the topics of generation policy and the Plan of Work entry on the elections, and some preliminary ideas were created for SYL’s aims for the parliamentary elections. As the circulation for comment began right after the seminar, we are hoping for clever suggestions and observations on the materials that will bring the process forward.
In addition to the working groups and training session, the aim for the autumn seminar is – to use a few trendy terms – to bring about a collision and to spar the entire movement into even clearer thinking and more efficient advocacy work. At this year’s seminar, the brand-new Chairman of the Greens Touko Aalto came and visited us on the Monday, and inspired the student movement to share our vision for education. On the Tuesday, the discussion was opened by Leena Pihlajamäki, one of Allianssi’s experts and an SYL alumni, with her presentation on pension policy and intergenerational equity.
On behalf of SYL I would like to say a big thank you to the speakers and trainers we invited to speak at the event, as well as the student unions’ representatives for their hard work and valuable input for shaping and realising our goals! This is a good place to move forward towards the General Assembly.