Tuuli Ahonen and Glyd Jun Aranes have been selected as new student representatives of the University of Eastern Finland to the Young Universities for the Future of Europe, YUFE, network. With its ten partner universities, YUFE is one of the 41 European university alliances selected for funding by the European Commission to develop European-wide university models.
In addition to the University of Eastern Finland, the YUFE partners include Maastricht University in the Netherlands as the coordinator, the University of Antwerp in Belgium, the University of Bremen in Germany, Carlos III University of Madrid in Spain, the University of Essex in the UK, the University of Cyprus, Tor Vergata University of Rome in Italy, the University of Rijeka in Croatia, and Nicolaus Copernicus University in Poland.
Students stand at the core all activities of YUFE. Each year, three student representatives from each partner university are selected to the YUFE Student Forum, whose task is to bring a student perspective to all activities of YUFE. Important objectives are to promote student-centredness and to reduce elitism in university studies. The University of Eastern Finland has now selected new student representatives to replace Arla Paananen and Ronja Mäkinen, who have already graduated. Susanne Csader will continue as a third student representative.
In addition to the YUFE Student Forum, the student representatives are involved in various work packages that develop the activities of YUFE. Ahonen is involved in the YUFE in Our Cities work package, which aims to increase interaction between universities and people living in their cities. Aranes is involved in the Diversity and Inclusivity work package, which promotes the opportunities of people from different backgrounds to access university studies. Csader will continue to work in the Quality Assurance work package, which will ensure the quality of all YUFE activities.
Tuuli Ahonen says that she’s enthusiastic to start as a student representative. She is currently completing a Master's degree in cultural studies and a PhD in the Doctoral Programme in Social and Cultural Encounters at the University of Eastern Finland, and she holds a Master's degree in English language and translation.
“The call for applications mentioned that YUFE wants to be a young, student-oriented and non-elitist university. I was hooked.”
“I come from a family of zero academics, so I find it extremely important that universities can be easily approached by young people from different backgrounds,” Ahonen says.
Glyd Jun Aranes is from the Philippines and he studies in the Master’s Degree Programme in Linguistic Data Sciences, taught in English at the University of Eastern Finland.
“I’m able to study with a partial scholarship, but not everyone is given a chance like I am having now. I find YUFE’s goal of providing equal opportunities for education especially important, and I believe that it will play an important role in the development of European education in the coming years.”
Aranes sees the online study opportunities offered by YUFE as one way of increasing equality. Within YUFE, he has already completed courses at the University of Rijeka and at Nicolaus Copernicus University.
There were a total of seven applicants to the new student representative roles, and all were interviewed. Other student representatives also participated in the selection.
“In the selection, we sought to ensure that both Finnish and other nationalities, different genders and the university’s both campuses would be represented,” Kirsi Bykachev, Head of International Planning and Development, says.
English language skills, interaction and organisational skills, experience in international collaboration and diversity, initiative, enthusiasm, and opportunities to adequately invest in the student representative work, were also emphasised in the selection.
For further information, please contact:
Kirsi Bykachev, Head of International Planning and Development, https://uefconnect.uef.fi/en/person/kirsi.bykachev/
Photo: Tuuli Ahonen (left) and Glyd Jun Aranes.