The year 2019 is nearing the end and now is a good moment to look back to the things we have achieved this year. The advocacy in the student field, or in general, can be describes as slow work. The changes and improvements that you work hard for might only become concreate after a couple of years.
A good example of this is the FSHS-law that passed this spring. FSHS, or Finnish Student Health Service, provides health care services for students of Universities, and in 2021 when the law comes into force students of Universities of Applied Sciences (including Laurea) are entitled for these services as well. The student movement has been working for this for decades and finally the hard work has paid off! Another new countrywide thing is the new Government Programme that improves the students’ situation; the student allowance was tied back to the index which means that the allowance grows as the overall price level increases. In addition, the student allowance for students with children was increased which is an excellent improvement for the social security of students with families.
What has happened in Laurea then? In the spring we told about the second counselling psychologist that Laurea hired. Laureamko has been lobbying for this for years and we were very happy that Laurea is doing something concrete to invest in the students’ wellbeing. Starting this year Laureamko got around forty places for student representatives in Laurea’s different work and developing groups. Student representatives are a great advocacy achievement because now students can take part in making the decisions that affect their everyday life. Currently all the groups work in Finnish but it’s the next step in student representation to enable participation also in English, at least in groups that focus on international matters or exchange students etc. I’m sure that the next year’s advocacy team will work on this.
Laurea’s degree regulations were updated this year and we got some changes in there, for example some clarifications for evaluations and implementation plans. After a lot of work, those studying in Lohja campus are now also entitled to apply for HOAS apartments so now every student in Laurea can apply for those! Advocacy work requires a lot of patience and bringing up some defect over and over again until it’s changed. Things don’t change unless someone makes noise about them. The good thing is that Laurea is very student friendly UAS and the feedback and development ideas are taken seriously and listened to. We hope to continue the great co-work in the future as well.