The joint municipal politics program of the Student Union of the University of Oulu (OYY) and the Student Union of Oulu University of Applied Sciences (OSAKO) is a brief guide to decision-makers concerning the guidelines of municipal politics of higher education students.
We believe that here in the best student city of Finland, a student is an active and well-being member of the city. They are taken into account in all of the city’s actions and decision-making; a student’s voice is being heard and listened to. There are approximately 25 000 of these voices in the city of Oulu.
The city of Oulu must profile itself as an attractive student city, especially as its population ages, the competition between cities intensifies and the birth rate decreases. The city must actively recruit new students and engage in close collaboration with the universities. Communication in both Finnish and English must also be invested in.
The University of Oulu and Oulu University of Applied Sciences center their education on the campuses of Linnanmaa and Kontinkangas. During the upcoming years, the city of Oulu will play a major role in terms of developing these areas as well as executing campus solutions for the city centre and designing area plans. Investments are needed for example, in public transportation, student housing, employment opportunities and students’ well-being. The decision-making must be based on researched facts.
The City of Oulu Achievable by Students
Our objective is the employment and broad exposure of students in the city. According to our member survey, more than a half of higher education students in Oulu see the city as an attractive place to stay for employment. The city of Oulu must recruit students more actively and extensively to work for the city. Student organizations must be included in this collaboration. According to our survey for students, more than a half of the respondents feel that they have not received enough information concerning employment and internship opportunities, and nearly a third could not say.
The competition over competent workforce will increase due to the decreasing birth rate. The situation must be responded to in good time by for example, investing in the employment of international students and engaging them into the city. Students gain useful skills already during their studies, and those skills should be utilized in for example, fields of culture and technology.
According to our survey, students do not know how the city’s decisions are made, and how they could influence the city’s decision-making. The city of Oulu should take this into account in the future by for example, reinforcing the transparency and accessibility of their decision-making. More than one in ten citizens is a higher education student, which is why students should be heard when developing the city and its visions.
Our objectives are:
- The city of Oulu communicates sufficiently in both Finnish and English
- Students are included in the development work of the city and its visions, and they are included and taken into account in the decision-making
- The city must make the recruitment of its open employment opportunities more visible for students
- By supporting creative student culture it is included as an even stronger part in the city’s cultural offerings
- Inexpensive facilities for extracurricular activities are being offered
The City of Oulu Enabling Good Student Housing
Our objective is the overall development of the areas in the city Oulu – while also taking students into account. The project planning and the change of the city plan of Raksila will become a topical issue during the next city council term. The projected plan for the city centre campus area will enable the construction of a large enough entity for the needs of different units.
Many students will continue living in the Linnanmaa–Kaijonharju area for a long time, so the area’s vitality and development must be sustained. Decisions regarding these matters must be made with long-term consideration, and students must be heard in the process of decision-making.
Students want to continue living in inexpensive one-room and two-room rental apartments. However, students with families and the need for bigger family apartments must be taken into account as well. Our objective is that the availability of apartments will remain good not only near the campuses, but in other parts of the city as well.
In order to secure the attractiveness of the city of Oulu, further investments in public transportation must be made and for example, bicycle maintenance points must be placed on the sides of the bicycle road network (pyöräbaana). Access to campus areas must be effortless while emphasizing direct transportation connections. With noticeable student discounts on public transportation, students are encouraged to choose a more ecological option. Enough parking space must be available near the campus areas.
Our objectives are:
- The projected plan of the city centre campus must be large enough to serve the needs of different units
- The rental price levels of student housing remain affordable and their availability remains sufficient by granting properties for building student apartments near the campus areas
- The development of the Linnanmaa–Kaijonharju area must continue
- A 50 % student discount is granted for students on regular-priced public transportation season and value tickets
- Sufficient parking opportunities must be secured on the campuses and in their proximity
The City of Oulu Enabling the Well-being of Students
Our objective is an overall well-being student. Students are also using public healthcare services in Oulu, which is why accessibility and shorter queuing times must be invested in while maintaining the quality of services. Especially doctoral and exchange students must receive the healthcare services they need, because they do not belong in the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) domain.
The city must consider students’ need for public mental health services, even though FSHS services are also available to the students of university of applied sciences. Students experience an immense amount of stress because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially easy-to-access mental health services must be developed, and being able to access those services must be faster than it is now.
Oulu is an active city when it comes to sports and exercise. The sports and exercise services of the city of Oulu must be developed also from a student’s point of view in a way that enables affordable and easy-to-access exercise opportunities for students. Students want to enjoy and experience nature, which is why the accessibility of outdoor areas must be invested in. The city of Oulu must work in a sustainable and responsible manner and speed up their current objective of carbon neutrality.
Oulu is running for Europe’s Culture Capital 2026. Cultural services must be developed considering the wishes of students. Cultural offerings in the city of Oulu are already extensive, but student-friendly pricing encourages students to participate in cultural events and to consume cultural services. Communication on the already existing student discounts must be made more visible.
Our objectives are:
- The public healthcare services of the students not belonging in the FSHS domain must be secured
- The students of Kontinkangas must be able to access the student healthcare services of Kontinkangas
- More resources must be channeled into public mental health services to shorten the queues and to respond to the growing need of the services
- University Sports of Oulu must be granted shifts also in the evenings
- Student discounts on a selection of sports and cultural services must be available more comprehensively and they must be communicated visibly
- The maintenance of sports and exercise services must be invested in and the reservation system made less complicated
- The city must prioritize climate change control as one of the central objectives of its community planning and become carbon neutral by 2030