The purpose of interest advocacy is to improve the status of students in society and to make sure that students have every opportunity to live a good and meaningful life. Interest advocacy encompasses everything that is related to student life, from large ideological and societal structures, to small every day matters, such as how you eat.
In Finland, some concrete examples of interest advocacy and its achievements are the student allowance, the Finnish Student Health Service, and various benefits and discounts available to students.
The Student Union has a statutory duty to operate as a supervisor of students’ interests. In practice, this means that the Student Union is tirelessly working for the good of the students and it is there for you. You are encouraged to get in touch with the Student Union if you ever feel that the student perspective is being somehow disregarded, either at the University or in society in general.
Interest advocacy includes and involves guidance, counselling, negotiations, discussions, dialogue, networking and so forth. The objective is to make sure that the voice of students is being heard and that ISYY will be included in decision-making processes on both the local and national level.
The golden rule of the Interest Advocacy Team of ISYY is that ‘no matter how well things are going, there is always room for improvement!
The responsibilities of the ISYY Interest Advocacy Team include:
ISYY has four members of staff who are experts in interest advocacy; two in Joensuu and two in Kuopio. The Secretary for Interest Advocacy and Specialist in Academic and Social Affairs are in charge of student advocacy in general, and the Coordinators for International Affairs specialise in international student advocacy.
Additionally, interest advocacy is part of the work done by the Representative Council, the Executive Board, the Sections and the Campus Boards. Therefore, everyone affiliated with ISYY lives and breathes interest advocacy – the fight for a better life for students never stops. The overall purpose is to look after you and make sure the student perspective is never forgotten by the University, or other decision-making authorities.
The Interest Advocacy Team of ISYY never sleeps!
The Interest Advocacy Team is here to work on the behalf of every single ISYY member, no matter what they study or where they come from. The aim is to influence university-wide and nation-wide policies and practices, as well as provide one-to-one guidance and counseling to ISYY members who need help with matters related to student life.
You are encouraged to get in touch with us if you ever feel that you have received unfair treatment, your perspective is being disregarded or you have noticed that there are issues with equality or parity at the University. All the information you share with us is handled with complete confidentiality.
As a member of ISYY you benefit from the work of interest advocacy and are able to use the services related to it. You are also entitled to participate in advocacy work yourself by becoming active in one of ISYY’s decision-making bodies, or in the Student Organisation for the subject you study. Student advocacy is meaningful work that has far-reaching impacts both locally and nationally. As a student advocate you will be able to have your say about matters that have a direct impact on your own life. As a bonus you will meet new people, gain valuable experience and obtain many transferrable skills that will boost your employability.
The best way to get involved is to apply to become a member of the Executive Board, the Section for Advocacy or one of the Campus Boards. Alternatively, you could present yourself as a candidate in the Representative Council elections or apply to become one of the Student Representatives in the UEF administration (called Halloped in Finnish). These Halloped positions are regularly advertised on the ISYY website.
Please contact the board of the Student Organisation for the subject you study, if you would like to do student advocacy work in your own field.
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