Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY)

Hi there, fresher, we at the Student Union have been waiting for you for the last 151 years!

Before I answer the question ‘what on earth is the student union??’ in more detail, I would like to warmly congratulate you for getting into the University of Helsinki and our faculty in particular! I am starting my fifth year of studies myself, and I think the best things at the University are the people (obviously), learning new things, critical thinking and the numerous different opportunities for participation and influencing alongside studies.

The Student Union of the University of Helsinki, more familiarly known as HYY, is a community that reflects its members. We look after the interests and rights of our members – including you – at the University, in the city and in society. Student housing and subsistence, the smooth flow of studies and meaningful student activities are among the issues that are close to our heart.

You may have already learned about the faculty organisation Kannunvalajat and theother organisations operating in the faculty. We at HYY support our organisations’ activities in the form of grants, premises and training. We train organisational actors, tutors and volunteers to make organisational activities as pleasant as possible for both the people organising them and those participating in events, for instance. The people involved in the activities also accumulate skills they can use later in their career and life. Besides skills, being active helps you make like-minded friends!

Besides the community it creates, the best part of the Student Union is the places of activity and influencing it offers. HYY has student and subject organisations, student nations, hobby and cultural organisations, spexes, societal and political organisations, committees and clubs operating under its wings. The great thing about studying at the University is that your journey from fresher to graduate can be completely different than someone else’s – and that no path is any better or worse than another. I recommend being curious and trying to discover the activities that interest you.

Further information on HYY can be found on our website (https://hyy.fi/en) and in the student calendar annually distributed to all members. As soon as you get your hands on the calendar, I recommend marking at least these dates in it:

  •         2 September: The Opening Carnival that kicks off the academic year
  •         27 September: HYY’s Fresher Adventure, the largest fresher event in Finland, and its glorious afterparty

Remember to also follow the Student Union on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HYY.HUS/), Twitter (@ylioppilaskunta) and Instagram (@hyy_hus) to remain up-to-date on everything going on in HYY.

To conclude, I would like to remind you that even Harry was nervous stepping into Hogwarts for the first time, but he soon found like-minded friends, learned new skills and overcame great difficulties. The community looks after its members, and if you face challenges, I warmly recommend turning to your tutors, the staff at our faculty, your own subject organisation, Kannunvalajat or the Student Union. To paraphrase Dumbledore: ‘Help will always be given at HYY to those who ask for it.’

Awesome fresher year to you! I hope to see you in the events of HYY and Kannunvalajat during the autumn – you can always come and say hi or have a chat with me!

Laura Wathén

The writer is the Chair of the Board of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki and a fifth-year student of social sciences. She first got involved in organisational activities through Kannunvalajat and, besides HYY, currently acts as the curator of Kannunvalajat – so be warned: organisational activities really can get you hooked!

Twitter: @latewathen

IG: @latelaiwakoira


hyy.helsinki.fi /HYY.HUS