The Student Union of the University of Oulu (OYY) is a self-governing public corporation with its status defined in the Universities Act (Yliopistolaki (558/2009)). The Student Union works under the regulations approved by the rector of the University.
Section 46 of the Universities Act states the following about the purpose of a student union:
The student union liaises with and on behalf of its members and promotes their societal, social and intellectual aspirations and those relating to studies and the status of students in society. The student union also participates in the implementation of the educational mission of the university, referred to in section 2, by preparing students for an active, informed and critical citizenship.
How does OYY operate?
The organization model of OYY is based on representative democracy. The members elect their representatives to the Student Council, which has the highest decision-making powers at OYY, and anyone eligible can stand as a candidate. The Student Council appoints the Executive Board to represent them and to implement decisions.
The Student Union also has various sections that support the Student Council and the Board. The sections are open to all members of OYY and offer an opportunity to bring your opinions forward to the decision-making bodies.
In addition to the Student Council and the Board, the Secretary General also exercises political authority in the Student Union. The Secretary General is the only staff member appointed by the Student Council, along with the Editor-in-Chief of Oulu Student Magazine. The Secretary General is the head of staff at the Student Union and the link between OYY and its partners.
The Student Council of the Student Union of the University of Oulu is elected in Student Council elections every other year. Last elections were in November 2021. Every member of the Student Union can run as a candidate and vote in the elections. In the Student Council there are several different interest groups. Some of the groups represent students from different fields of study, others are political groups. The Chair of the Student Council is elected for one year at a time to lead the Council. The secretary of the Student Council meetings is the Secretary General of the Student Union.
The current line-up of the Student Council can be found here.
The Council has meetings approximately 8 times in the academic year. It makes decisions about the major political opinions and positions of the Student Union, which are written into documents like rules, strategy and policy paper of the Student Union. On a yearly basis the Council approves the budget and action plan, which define how the Student Union uses its money and resources. The Council also approves the yearly development projects.
In addition to these, the Council chooses the Editor in Chief for the Oulu student magazine and the Secretary General.
The Student Council meetings are open for all students! Soon it will be easy to find out what has been decided in the meetings from the decision lists that will be presented on the Student Union website.
The Board consists of 6 to 9 members appointed annually by the Student Council and it is lead by the Chair of the Board. The Board is the executive body of the Student Union and it implements the decisions made by the Student Council, represents the Student Union, and oversees the Student Union’s finances along with the Secretary General and the Economic Affairs Committee.
As a collective, the Board supervises the Secretary General and is responsible for the recruiting of staff, except for the Editor-in-Chief of Oulu Student Magazine and the Secretary General who are both elected by the Student Council.
The Board collaborates closely with the committees and sections. The members of OYY can influence the Board’s statements and comments and have their opinions heard in the Board through the committees and sections. The Board also keeps in touch with the subject and interest societies within OYY via sponsor activity (kummitoiminta). All subject societies are assigned their own OYY-sponsors from the Board.
All eligible members of the Student Union can stand as candidates for the Board. If you are interested in joining the Board, do contact the Secretary General or one of the Student Council’s groups. The Student Council elects the Board for a one-year term at the end of each year. But if you are interested in being a part of the Board, you should be active in good time!
The easiest way to influence OYY’s policies and actions is to participate in the sections. In the sections you get to hear the latest news of the student world, discuss relevant issues, and promote a better student life. The sections also support the Board in forming the Student Union’s position, so they are one of the most direct ways to influence the Student Union’s actions, along with the Student Council meetings.
You can read more about the sections here.