The Student Union of the University of Oulu was founded on the year 1959. The role of the Student Unions has changed over the years, but the goal, students’ rights in studies as well as in the everyday life have always been the goal.
The Student Union for Education Students launches “Operation Lohkare” (Lohkare means block or boulder) to raise funds to build student housing in Oulu. Funds are raised by selling rocks in various events.
The construction of Domus Botnica, the first student hall of residence in Oulu, is completed. The following year, the bar-restaurant Baari Domus is opened in the building.
On May Day 1958, the Chair of the Student Union Ahti Karppinen apologises for the disturbance caused by the May Day procession and states: “Just wait until we get a university. That’s when the fun really begins.”
The founding meeting of OYY is held on 15 October 1959. OYY is founded to tend to university students’ intellectual and economic activities, and to advance “civilisation, morality and good order.” The Student Union undertakes many tasks as an event organiser, carer or students’ everyday life matters, and the provider of student housing.
At the start of the first term, the number of students is 424.
The Student Union is officially founded on 25 March 1960. In the same year, a recreational space rented by the Student Union is opened in the corner of Kauppurienkatu and Rantakatu.
The first student Wappu is not celebrated until May Day Eve.
The Oulu Student Magazine is founded. The first issue is published on 28 January 1961.
The first rector of the University of Oulu Pentti Kaitera becomes the first honorary member of the Student Union of the University of Oulu. In the same year, the Student Union gets its own emblem and flag, “Fiat Lux” (Let There Be Light). The Fiat Lux -symbol is still being used as the Student Union’s emblem. Nowadays it’s also referred to as grains of knowledge.
The Student Union’s first Student Council election is held. The voter turnout is an impressive 70 %. In the following years, each Student Council spot is reserved for a student organisation representing a political party, as is in the rest of Finland.
Following multistage discussions, Linnanmaa is chosen as the location for the University of Oulu’s new main campus. Other options were Koskikeskus, Kontinkangas, Sanginsuu, Virpiniemi in Haukipudas, and Jääli. The University Consistor had already voted in favour of Virpiniemi as the future location of the university, but the students protested against the decision.
The Student Council overturns the former freshman code of practice, and new students are immediately made full members of the Student Union starting from their first year of study.
PSOAS is founded. A summer hotel, restaurant and sauna facilities with swimming pools are opened in the new housing in Välkkylä.
The students of Chemistry and Genetics are the first ones to move to the new campus in Linnanmaa.
There are already over 7 000 students in the University of Oulu. Interest in the Student Council election decreases, with only slightly more than half of the students casting a vote. By 1982, the voter turnout had dropped to one third of the students.
Nowadays a 50 % voter turnout would be considered exceptionally high on a national scale.
The study grant reform prompts university students all over Finland to protest. In university cities, including Oulu, funerals for the study grant are held on 30 September with a couple of thousand students in attendance.
The first Vulcanalia is held in Rauhala’s yard area with over 1 000 attendees.
The new Government Decree on Universities allows the Student Union to pick the student members for the University Board.
The 1990s depression is a heavy burden from the very beginning of the decade. In 1997, SYL receives foodstuff aid for university students from the EU. Over a few hours, OYY distributes over 6 000 kg of foodstuff for students.
There are already nearly 14 000 students completing basic degrees.
Following intense discussions, the OYY Council of Representatives concludes that student union memberships should be voluntary.
Following several elections with low voter enthusiasm, the voter turnout for the Student Council election rises to 39 %, which is a significant result even on a national scale.