One of the most frequent questions I get asked about Aallonhuiput is “why should I join Aallonhuiput and what are the benefits?”. During my first half a year as the vice president, I’ve given multiple answers but none of them have been accurate enough. First of all, Aallonhuiput is in need of new members – especially active ones – and funding. We are a small and new organization, but at the same time we represent approximately 25% of Aalto University employees and thousands of doctoral students in total. Doctoral students are a scattered group in comparison to graduate students: We don’t live in the same place, we don’t have a ton of activities and we work – a lot. However, we are not without rights nor complaints and we must work tirelessly towards doctoral student networking, improved working conditions, equality between us and many other causes.
Aallonhuiput has many continuous tasks in addition to occasional other activities. We have a representative in the Aalto Executive Team (Aallon johtoryhmä) and we constantly follow what is happening in our university management. We also have a representative in Doctoral Education Working Group (Tohtorikoulutuksen työryhmä) and our opinions are heard in both of these groups. Additionally, we have a member in the Campus Development Team as well as in the Research and Innovation group. These bodies are where a lot of decisions concerning us are made. This year we’ve charted how doctoral students are taken into account at the School level. We’re currently working to increase the representation in cooperation with AYY: Many of the ruling bodies have a student member but no doctoral student member.
Association-wise, we’ve drafted changes to the rules of the Aallonhuiput association, which will be accepted in the annual meeting. We’ve also published a statement against office rents with Helsinki University doctoral students to stop collecting separate fees for offices. We’ve also tried to produce more content for the Aallonhuiput website and we’re drafting a new communications strategy to better govern member data. We’ve accepted more than 60 new members so far this year (new member applications are processed in every board meeting).
I’m currently working on organising a photo campaign to raise awareness of doctoral students in Aalto and in conjunction with this, we will be publishing our survey results. 1750 doctoral students answered our survey from all the Finnish universities, 520 from Aalto. This data in turn will be used to find problems that should be tackled and incorporated with developing the Doctoral Education Model of Excellence (DEME), for which we had a workshop. The purpose of the DEME model is to give Aalto administration a picture of what we ourselves consider optimal for our education.
We do fun stuff as well. This year, we’ve organised 3 pubnights and the photo campaign is coming. Because of our limited time and money, it’s challenging to organise events for all of you, but we’re working on it. If you have great suggestions for doctoral student events, let us know and come participate in organising the events!
Change will happen, if you work at it – so instead of being a passive bystander, become an active Aallonhuiput member!
– Aallonhuiput VP, Pilvi