We need the voice of an art student

Advance voting in the Parliamentary elections has begun. In a week and a half, the people will decide which 200 MPs from different constituencies will decide on Finland's future for the next four years, with far-reaching consequences. You can vote in advance on 22-28.3. and on election day 2.4. 

"Elections are the moment when the stock exchange manager and the art student basically have the same amount of influence. At the ballot box, we are all equal.", reflects Sara Koiranen, chair of the representative council. 

Koiranen is currently studying to become a dramaturg and playwright at the Theatre Academy. Her enthusiasm for student activism comes from Turku, where Koiranen has previously studied. The chair of the representative council is responsible for the activities of the representative council elected by TaiYo's members, which is the highest decision-making body of the Student Union. 

In elections, it is the voice of art students that needs more traction. The cultural budget has already been mentioned in Yle's election panel as one of the possible targets for cuts, even though, for example, the experiences of the art field during the coronavirus period are still remembered. Koiranen hopes that everyone will remember how valuable the right to vote is. 

"I think it's great that one has made the decision to vote. A lot of people read comments on social media that nothing matters and it's really miserable. A concrete example of the significance of individual votes has been, for example, in the constituency of Lapland, where nine votes were decided whether the Centre Party or the Greens got the seat." 

When looking for a candidate, there are plenty of different election machines that can be used to map the opinions of different parties and candidates in general. In the candidates' own materials on social media or on the website, you can better find the differences between the different candidates than on the election machines.  

"It would be important to identify what are the most important questions for you," Koiranen points out. 

Uniarts Helsinki has strengthened Koiranen's experience of how many different opportunities students have to influence for example the future of their own field.  

"The significance of the student's voice is emphasized in a smaller community. I would like to have community afternoons at every university, which are at least about once a month," says Koiranen. 

Community afternoons are especially celebrated at the Theatre Academy. Students and teachers meet together to discuss what is included in the subject, and there is a possible topical discussion that concerns their own field.  

"There's no field in higher education in general where something doesn't happen all the time and there are topics that students talk about."