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Events Calendar

Here is the continuously updated list of Una Europa Helsinki events:

december:

🍻 7/12 Social Night at Thirsty Scholar (from 19:30, open event, everyone is welcome 😊)

🎄 8/12 Christmas city tour (from 14:00, city tour is full)

January:

❄️ Coming soon ❄️

You will find more info about our events in the Telegram group.

For joint Una Europa activities, see the Una Europa Calendar of Events. Older events organized in Helsinki can be found in the Events Archive.

It’s here!! The local task force is looking for new members!

It’s that time of the year again! We’re more than excited to announce that we’re looking for new members to join our Una Europa Local Student Task Force! This is a group of student volunteers working together with each other and staff members to raise awareness about Una Europa among University of Helsinki students in addition to working together with students from the other 10 Una Europa universities to co-create events, ideas, campaigns, and other initiatives.

If you are wondering why you should apply for the local task force, you can take a look at our blog from last fall when we were recruiting local task force members, answering some of the most common questions you might have and what’s really the deal with this local task force! 😊

The most important thing to know about the local task force is that we’re open for all students, from bachelors and masters students and also PhD candidates. All programs and faculties are welcome and we are open for both international and Finnish students. Basically, we are interdisciplinary and international and aiming to be as inclusive as possible!

Currently the Local Task Force is organized in three teams:

  • The communication team
  • The events team
  • The network and community team

You can read more about the activities and tasks of each team in this Google Doc.

While we have a structure in place, there are plenty of place for new ideas, suggestions, and creative proposals! This is a work in progress and constantly developing.

We are looking for people who are:

  • Interested in trying out new things
  • Looking to challenge themselves
  • Able/willing to communicate in English (no need to be a native speaker 🙂 )
  • Excited to work with a team and create things together
  • Proactive and engaged
  • Committing to participate in regular meetings and taking the responsibility to implement ideas

What has the local task force been doing so far?

Great question! This blog is a good example of one of the things! The communication group is responsible for the blog, where one student is the editor of the blog and other students contribute to the blog.

The event and networking teams have been organizing events and gathering people, connecting with new collaborators and been thinking up new ideas that you will soon hear about for this spring or help to plan if you join the Local Task Force!

Check out these blogs to see a bit more what the Local Task Force has been up to the past fall:

Pikkujoulu in Guidance Corner

Fresher’s Adventure Una Europa activity

Joining the launch of the Micro-Credential in Sustainability

What’s next??

This spring will only increase the opportunities for the Local Task Force members to dream up, plan and execute activities. We will be at the guidance corner, Sustainability Science Days and much more! The Local Task Force will soon be planning the program for spring, so new members will be able to still participate as well.

Una Europa is a community of people who want to imagine the future of higher education and what we think European collaboration could look like. It’s for people who like working together to achieve big things and create new initiatives. It’s a chance to work together with other students, staff and academics within the University of Helsinki and also with students and staff from across our 10 partner universities.

We hope this sounds as exciting to you as it does to us!

If yes, please don’t hesitate, but click right here, to start your application for the Una Europa local task force at the University of Helsinki!

If you have any questions, you can contact Stinne Vognaes, Una Europa student engagement coordinator (stinne.vognas@helsinki.fi).

The Third Una Europa Student Congress in Kraków

This year’s last blog post is also another in the series covering Una Europa’s autumn 2022. It is written by our LTF member Saana:

The Third Una Europa Student Congress in Kraków

Now that the end of the year is approaching fast and steady, it is a good time to stop for a moment, take a breath, and glimpse back at one of the most exciting events of the Autumn: Student Congress.

Una Europa Student Congress was held for the third time from 26th to 28th October 2022 and this time the host of the event was Uniwersytet Jagielloński in Kraków, Poland. The main goal of the event was to bring the students from all over Una Europa’s partner universities together to discuss, network and contemplate on how the university of the future might and should look like. Additionally, during the opening ceremony of the student congress, the #UnaForUkraine fundraising campaign was launched to show that Una Europa stands with Ukraine.

Students from our University of Helsinki also traveled to Kraków in order to participate in the Congress. Sara Korjunen, Student Board member from our university, took part in the Congress to meet students from different universities and work together with them. In addition, Sara was excited to learn through interactive experiences and being able to do all this while traveling to a new city that she hasn’t been to before:

“I think the most memorable thing about the Student Congress was when we were given the opportunity to find solutions to problems presented to us in teams. We were able to talk about current problems in the academic life. Brainstorming possible solutions in multicultural teams was a super interesting experience! In that moment I felt like our voices were truly heard,” Sara says.

Ida Laakkonen, a doctoral researcher from the Faculty of Law, attended the PhD networking event which was held concurrently with the Student Congress in Uniwersytet Jagielloński. Ida participated in the PhD networking event in order to meet other junior researchers from the Una Europa partner universities, and exchange ideas and experiences with them. Discussing all the different aspects of doctoral research while taking walks around the city and museums was the most memorable part of the event for Ida.

She says: “The PhD networking event is essential to connect junior researchers and create long-term shared initiatives while ensuring the presence of junior researchers in the Una Europa Community”.

And that is one of the goals of Una Europa. To create a community for students between Una Europa partner universities, and to build a university free of country borders. Like Sara says: 

“The Congress gives the opportunity of an international experience for students. During those few days students get to meet each other, learn, and work together. It also assures the students that their voices matter and their ideas are taken seriously.”

 

Micro-credential in Sustainability

One of Una Europa’s missions is to educate about the big topics of today. Read what our LTF member Melinda wrote about the Una Europa micro-credentials course in sustainability.

Micro-credential in Sustainability

As the year draws to a close, let’s take a moment to look back on one of the things Una Europa has achieved in 2022. On a mission to create a European university of the future, Una Europa added a new micro-credential to its course catalog! The theme is one of the five central academic focuses of Una Europa: sustainability.

Achieving ambitious climate goals requires cooperation across borders and disciplines. The climate crisis is not an issue that can be solved by one country alone. This is where international collaborations like Una Europa come in.

The Una Europa micro-credential in sustainability is a collaboration between The University of Helsinki, the University of Bologna, and the Jagiellonian University of Krakow. It encompasses five multidisciplinary Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) that have to do with the environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainability. The courses are based on the latest research as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The aim of the courses is to provide students with the basic knowledge about sustainability they need to be a part of the change for a more sustainable future. Laura Riuttanen, university lecturer in atmospheric sciences at the Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR), says universities can be drivers of that change. Riuttanen is the academic lead on the micro-credential in sustainability. She would like to see universities be an active part of the sustainability transformation: I find that teaching is really the way to transform societies”.

According to Riuttanen, it is important that we update our knowledge on sustainability and on biodiversity so that we know what needs to be done and how we can help. The MOOCs in this micro-credential offer a flexible learning environment, as the online courses can be completed at the learner’s own pace.

The launch event for the micro-credential was held at the Think Corner back in October. The participants had the opportunity to hear about the new micro-credential, as well as discuss topics related to sustainability.

The micro-credential is free for students studying at any of the Una Europa partner universities. After completing all the courses in the micro-credential, students are awarded a certificate as well as 10 ECTS by the University of Helsinki.

 More information about the micro-credential and instructions for how to enroll can be found on the Una Europa website:

https://www.una-europa.eu/study/microcredential-sustainability#content

 

Una Europa meetings in Bologna and Edinburgh

September has been a busy month for Brian, our Student Board member. Read his remarks on the two events he attended at the Una Europa partner universities: Magna Charta Univeritarium Anniversary in Bologna and Una Europa community meeting in Edinburgh.

Magna Charta Univeritarium Anniversary, Bologna

The Magna Charta Universitatum Anniversary took place in Bologna from the 15th to the 17th of September. The Una Europa Student Board was invited by University of Bologna to provide a student’s point of view at the meetings of the Observatory of Magna Charta Universitatum. Magna Charta Universitatum is a declaration and affirmation of the fundamental principles upon which the mission of universities should be based, originally signed in 1988 to mark the 1000th anniversary of University of Bologna.

The theme of the anniversary this year was Universities engaging with Society in Turbulent Times. There was particular emphasis on the ongoing war in Ukraine and the freedom of students and academics which find themselves under oppressive regimes. The meetings consisted of roundtable discussions on different themes, with input from students up to University Rectors. On the final day, an updated version of the declaration, Magna Charta Univeritarium 2020, was signed by attending Rectors and university representatives.

The Una Europa student board took the opportunity to meet on the sidelines of this conference to discuss the direction of the board in relation to the upcoming structure changes of Una Europa, as well as to prepare for the student congress. We also were lucky enough to have a look around the beautiful campus of UniBo which is ingrained in the city of Bologna itself, and to sample the fantastic food on offer there.

Una Europa Meetings at University of Edinburgh

Next from the 26th to 29th of September, a Una Europa community of over 250 came together in Edinburgh to discuss the achievements of the past three years of the alliance, and use this to direct the activities of the alliance going forward. The highlight of the meeting was the Una Europa Kaleidoscope, which contained entertaining presentations on the Summer School, Live my Life scheme, Seed funding and Una Challenge. The Student Board met in Edinburgh on theme to discuss the performance of the board up to now and strategies for the future. Once again it was great to experience another alliance member’s university life and meet with peers.

The highlight of the meetings was a Ceili (Scottish dinner and dance) held in the National Museum of Scotland. We were treated to delicious Scottish cuisine, and then we were taught to dance to Scottish music in the traditional way. It was a great way to spend an evening and those who were dancing sweated quite a lot!

 

 

Pikkujoulu in Kaisa Guidance Corner

As the nights are getting longer and the city is covered in first fresh snow, it is the perfect time to meet and celebrate Pikkujoulu (“little Christmas”), a traditional Finnish pre-Christmas party. Ours took place in the Guidance Corner of the Kaisa Library on Tuesday 29th November and it was just fantastic 😊!

The Local Task Force prepared a bunch of different activities. We are still experimenting, but for example the format “match a country” will probably stay in our repertoire: for Pikkujoulu, the task was to match Una Europa countries with the right Christmas traditions. And it wasn’t as easy as it may seem. Do you for example know where they brew Christmas beer, or where it is a tradition to have horse races on the 26th of December?

You also had the opportunity to write your own letter to Santa about the university of the future you wish for. We collected a nice package of letters which we can’t wait to read… I mean deliver 😉. They really made our day, so you will definitely hear more about them in our future posts or social media takeovers.

Big thanks again to everyone who stopped by, we hope you had as much fun as we did 😊! And if you still want to catch us before the end of the year, we have one more event coming up next week: the Social Night in Thirsty Scholar. It will take place on Wednesday from 19:30 and is open to everybody 😊.

So hyvää Joulua!

Once Upon a Summer in Una Europa One Health Summer School

This summer marked the first edition of the Una Europa One Health Summer School in Edinburgh. Six students from the University of Helsinki were selected to join the summer school. Here Venla shares her experience during the two weeks.

I did not know much about Una Europa before one afternoon I received an information letter about the first Una Europa One Health Summer School. I am glad that I decided to try my luck and applied because in July me and five other students from the University of Helsinki, Olga, Laura, Rebecca, Akseli and another Venla found ourselves in the campus of University of Edinburgh. We were surrounded by about 50 new people from eight different European universities with majors varying from medicine, veterinary medicine, physiotherapy, geography to politics, international relations, law, psychology, and anthropology. I had been hesitant to apply since my previous focus in my studies had been quite distant from health and sustainability. However, I was curious to enlighten myself and I knew (and I learned even more) about how important the link between health, science and politics is to regulate and make changes to our political and societal systems.

The key point in Summer School was to become familiar with One Health & Planetary Health concepts and practice multidisciplinary and multicultural professional cooperation. We had lectures about wider health-related concepts such as circular economy, health governance, food security and communicating science to the public. To dig in deeper, we had more detailed sessions about, for example, more specific viruses and bacteria. We practiced debating, discussing, and pitching skills in groups where we had to create a challenge connected to One Health and in mere two weeks, present our own solution to it. I am so grateful to my Project Team One members since in such a brief time we shared our knowledge, learned how to put it all together and had fun during the process. We focused on how to raise young people’s awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and support positive behavioral change in the use of antibiotics among European Youth.

There were lots of activities and team building events outside of the lessons too, such as hiking the hills nearby Edinburgh, visiting museums and dancing Ceilidh (traditional Scottish dance). My independent activities with other students took me to exploring the secrets of the city by visiting many photogenic alleys, cafés, thrifts shops, Craig Millar Castle and seaside, Edinburgh’s night life (I recommend Sunday Karaoke in Frankenstein theme bar) and, of course, exploring the famous stand-up and comedy festival called ”Fringe”.

Despite the marvelous historical sights of Edinburgh, for me the most meaningful part of the trip was the people. Everyone lived in a shared flat with at least five other nationalities and worked in multidisciplinary and multicultural project groups. Me, my roomies, and our neighbors also formed a cooking club to try our favorite foods from home and spill the tea in our kitchen after intense academic and leisure activities. There were plenty of things that students from diverse backgrounds could teach to each other in and outside of the classroom too.

Therefore, I warmly encourage anyone who is even a bit interested in global health and Una Europa to reach out and apply for the upcoming Una Europa activities no matter what your academic curiosity is. For me, Una Europa is precisely about learning from each other and developing new skills together as friends and as a part of an international academic community.

Venla (3rd year Bachelor Student in Global politics, Faculty of Social Sciences)

Una Europa Local Task Force goes Fresher’s Adventure!

Hi everyone!

Last Thursday, you had the chance to meet us at the Fresher’s Adventure, a traditional kick-off-the-year event organized by the Student Union. Although the weather wasn’t the best, we were lucky to get a spot under the roof (in a beautiful room in the main building), and spent the afternoon giving away points, patches and candies to competing teams for our Una Europa-related activities.


What tasks did we prepare? There were two options:

The first one was a game called General Knowledge. There are 11 universities in the Una Europa network, located in 11 European countries. Quite a number, right? The competing teams had the challenging task of identifying pictures of the campuses of all 11 of them, and on top of that matching them with the right university logo. Although it was a tough task, all our participants did a great job, and hopefully also learned a bit more about the diversity of European uni life.

The second task was a game of charades: one person had to act out a specific university, while the rest of the team had two attempts to guess which one it is. Also, not a particularly easy task, but the teams came up with some great sketches that even we couldn’t help but laugh.

Do you know what the Leuven and Krakow campuses look like, and what is the logo of Sorbonne or the Freie Universität in Berlin? Would you have the courage to act out the universities of Zurich, Dublin or Bologna? If you want to give it a try, join us next time we are in the Guidance Corner, or at any other event – we will let you know in advance on the blog and in our new Telegram group. Or join us at our next meetup event on Monday 17th October in Thirsty Scholar from 17.00 (more info in the Telegram group 😊).

Very adventurous greetings from Sara, Eugenia, Helena, Saana, Yasmin and Jace!

Laura Riuttanen is working for the sustainability transformation in Una Europa and beyond

Laura Riuttanen (photo: Esko Jämsä, kirkko ja kaupunki)

It shouldn’t be news to anyone that sustainability is at the core of our strategy and our values. We aim to provide our knowledge for the betterment of the world. With the launch of the Una Europa micro-credential in sustainability, Laura Riuttanen has even bigger ambitions.

Laura Riuttanen is a university lecturer in atmospheric sciences at the Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR). From her very early days as a PhD candidate and researcher she was interested in climate change and understanding how pollutants travel in the air and affect the climate. While research is still an important part of her work, in later years she has increasingly focused her attention on climate change education and educating the change-makers we need for a more sustainable future. She has done this especially through her involvement in the Climate University network, which she is now leading. While teaching is of course an essential part of our university activities, Laura is more passionate than most. So how does she explain this passion she has for climate change education?

“I think it’s the sense of urgency of these topics. We really need the change in our societies now. Research is of course very important; it’s important we have trustworthy knowledge and create new knowledges, but I find that teaching is really the way to transform our societies. In our universities, we teach thousands of students every year. If we combine the knowledge that comes from universities and the power of educating these thousands of students, I believe universities could really be the engine of the sustainability transformation.”

Not society, but societies. Because while Laura has spent years working with Finnish networks and colleagues across higher education, she has recently expanded her reach and collaboration to colleagues far beyond our borders.

A global ambition

International partnerships and networks are a central part of our university’s operations. Often it can be hard to see the real-life impact of these alliances on a concrete and tangible level, visible to students and staff. This is slowly shifting with The University of Helsinki’s participation in the Una Europa alliance, one of 41 European University Alliances. The aim is to build the university of the future and to connect and co-create new, innovative educational formats in interdisciplinary and international ways.

This year we are finally seeing the fruition of many of the ambitious, joint formats, including our micro-credential in sustainability, which is launching today. But what is a micro-credential and who is behind it?

“A micro-credential is a new format of continuous education, it’s currently being developed across the EU. There are still different understandings on what the exact definition is, but the idea is that in a world that is changing fast we all need to be continuous learners. It’s not enough that you study for a degree in your 20s and then work the same way until you retire. We all need to update our knowledge and the micro-credentials provides a flexible way to learn on the way,” says Laura.

The Una Europa micro-credential consists of five MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which combined becomes a 10 credit micro-credential. It is developed and delivered within the collaboration of the Una Europa Alliance, where Laura and other colleagues from across University of Helsinki have worked closely with colleagues at the University of Bologna and the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. This is a very new and different way of working, since the academics involved have collaboratively developed the scope, idea and content of the whole micro-credential, it’s not just a combination of existing courses.

Enabling a generation of sustainability change-makers

Through the Una Europa collaboration Laura has been able to expand her scope and vision for sustainability education. The micro-credential offers a wide and innovative view on sustainability by combining an introductory course on sustainability with perspectives coming from biodiversity, climate change, political economy and the arts. The courses are filled with additional examples and perspectives from other Una Europa partners such as Complutense University of Madrid and University of Edinburgh. Additionally, Laura has also engaged with colleagues from across Finland through the Climate University, the Biodiversity Education Network, and countless other colleagues. With this kind of scope and breadth of collaboration what does Laura envision for this effort?

“These challenges we are facing are so big that no country alone can solve the sustainability crisis and climate change. We need to put our forces together to work on these topics, but we also need basic knowledge, which is what the MOOCs can provide. I think that in all fields of society, we need to update our knowledge on climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainability issues. These MOOCs provide a flexible way to update your knowledge, get a status check of what the situation is and what needs to be done.”

This offering allows any student regardless of their field to get a grasp of the issues of sustainability and how we all need to engage. Una Europa has been at the frontlines of developing co-teaching between universities and institutions and has also been a leader in defining the micro-credential on a European level as an essential part of continuous learning.

If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together

In many ways the University of Helsinki is leading the work on open education, online learning and co-teaching, in addition to climate and sustainability education. That is not only in Finland but in a global context. Laura argues that this is an even more important reason to engage in an alliance such as Una Europa, as an opportunity to multiply the impact.

“We should continue to put our efforts into leading the world towards sustainable futures and towards learning about possible sustainable futures. Una Europa brought us together with new colleagues and in that way, we have been able to for example get these interviews from different parts of Europe getting a wider perspective to for example climate change and how it affects different parts of Europe differently.”

This is a unique opportunity, which Laura is aware would not have been possible without Una Europa. Una Europa allows her and her colleagues to provide learners with an international and comprehensive understanding of sustainability issues, that is not only presented from one cultural or disciplinary perspective. Students get to learn from experts from across Europe and in addition get to study virtually in Krakow and Bologna in addition to Helsinki. But while the micro-credential is finally being launched today, this is only the beginning. How does Laura imagine the universities participating in this work?

“I would like to see universities as active parts of the sustainability transformation, not only teaching these skills and knowledges but also doing and learning by doing. We shouldn’t be on the sidelines of society on these issues, but really at the core where things are happening. My goal would be to see us actively working together while studying and while teaching.”

Apply for the Una Europa local student task force by 9.9.2022!

“I joined the local task force to meet people and make some new friends – coming to a new city as an international student can be tough on social life. In Una Europa volunteers, I found a great bunch of funny, kind, enthusiastic people from all around Europe who are passionate about the organization’s mission, believe in European integration, and want to help make it happen. Needless to say that they are also a great company to go for a beer after the work is done, and chat about our experiences with living in Helsinki both as seasoned locals or fresh newcomers. So if you’re looking for a nice community and volunteer work with EU purpose, join our next meeting – we’re already excited to meet you :)!” Helena Drdlova

We’re excited to launch our fall application for the Una Europa Local Student Task Force. We had a great experience this spring with the inaugural task force, so great that many of them are continuing with us this fall, but we also have increased our ambitions and are therefore looking for creative, curious and proactive students to join the team!

What is Una Europa?

Una Europa is an alliance of 11 European universities, collaborating to create innovative and unique educational offerings and other curricular and extracurricular activities for you and you 600.000 fellow students at these universities!

This includes a 2-credit MOOC on the impact of AI in Society (start studying here), challenge-based learning initiatives such as Una.Together (we’ll launch the next challenge in spring 2023), and the student congress (currently open for applications for fully funded participation in Krakow this fall). These are just a few examples of our initiatives and opportunities that you might be able to participate and help develop if you join the local task force.

What does it mean to be part of the Local task force?

Being a member in the local task force here at the University of Helsinki means that you will join a team of motivated and enthusiastic students! We are open for all backgrounds and study fields and levels of study. Currently we’re a mix of both international and Finnish students and range from bachelor to master to PhD students. We meet every other week and plan activities, events, brainstorm and implement activities.

A big part of the work is helping to create awareness about initiatives (such as those mentioned above), but you will also be part of defining future initiatives of Una Europa (both here in Helsinki but it can also be on the European level!) and work on how students can be more involved in what Una Europa should be now and in the future.

Una Europa is a young initiative (we’re only three years in) and we have just received funding for the next four years. So how can this kind of exciting, close collaboration between 11 universities benefit you and your fellow students here in Helsinki more? How would you like to engage or collaborate with you fellow students across Europa? What kind of initiatives and conversation do you think we need to have about the future of higher education here in Europe? What opportunities do you see within such a network? These are some of the questions we’re trying to answer.

Sure, that sounds great, but what are some concrete things you do?

Well, to be honest that is up to you! In spring we were hosting both formal events discussing about the different universities in the alliance, sharing about the opportunities and promoting multilingualism. We did take-overs on the Student Union Instagram and the University of Helsinki Instagram. We were part of organising a huge event for all the universities in Helsinki. We also had a few social events and collaborated with other internationally minded associations here in Helsinki. In the fall we’re planning to do even more social events, to give students here in Helsinki more of a taste of the student cultures in our partner universities, get the chance to engage in more European networking with fellow student local task forces in other universities and do more events and awareness raising. But any good ideas are warmly welcome!

Hm okay, you say international student associations, is this only for international students?

No definitely not! Una Europa is for all students, not matter your nationality, whether you’ve been abroad or not or whether you’re new to Helsinki and Finland or not! We primarily speak English to allow everyone to participate, but we’re very nice and friendly and you don’t need perfect English to participate! This is also a place to grow and learn and most of us are not native speakers 😊 What we are looking for are people with an open mind, interested to work in an intercultural environment and to participate and challenge themselves to do new things!

We hope to receive your application for the local task force, it will be open until 9.9.2022. If you have any more questions don’t hesitate to reach out to the student engagement coordinator for Una Europa Stinne Vognaes (stinne.vognas@helsinki.fi). When you are ready, you can apply here.