The Student Union of Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences METKA steers the World Student Capital -network in 2018. The network must develop it’s operations, but likewise improve the organization. In this blog I shed some light on World Student Capital’s plan of action for the year 2018.
From conception World Student Capital has been a player in municipal politics as an advocate for students. The network’s operations have mainly focused in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. The upcoming reform to Finland’s regional government is now moving many important political decisions affecting students to the regional government. It comes as no surprise that WSC has been keeping a close eye on the regional government elections from an early point. This year however marks the time when plans must be turned into actions.
When talking about influencing regional government politics we are in uncharted waters, since none of the ten organizations that make up World Student Capital has yet solidified specific goals for regional government politics. In the year 2017 the student unions of the universities of applied sciences in the capital region created a unified program for municipal politics, but there is no program that includes the whole WSC-network, at least yet. There’s incredible potential for unheard of levels of cooperation in regional government politics. It’s possible to utilize the void and create baseline goals that everyone can subscribe to. It is of course possible for the student unions to build upon those baseline goals to create their own goals for their own advocacy work.
In the actual regional government elections World Student Capital will continue along the same lines as in the previous municipal elections: WSC will push our own goals, but in addition support candidates that are young or have a student background. It’s primarily important to create strong contacts to regional government representatives this early on, since it helps us bring out students’ issues the best.
Even though we’re creating something new, it’s important not to forget the old. The year 2017 was a big municipal election year also for World Student Capital. We were able to get a lot of things done and we put in effort to ensure that the political representatives know and recognize the network. We shouldn’t discard all the hard work but instead build on it maintaining old connections, but also creating new ones. Politicians gave a nice welcome to WSC’s goals so it’s good to ensure these goals aren’t forgotten during the election term.
WSC will likewise continue building a forum for young municipal influencers to discuss issues pertaining to young urbanites on a trans-municipal and nonpartisan level. On the other hand WSC will also keep in contact with these influencers and providing them with topical information.
The year 2017 brought with it large victorious steps for World Student Capital’s Science Tram as well. The work nevertheless continues even after the terrific citizens’ initiative. There’s several bumps and challenges on the path of the Science Tram, but the project moves forward one piece at a time. It’s persistent long-term work and visible results won’t be seen in a while, but you can still see a glint of hope in the eyes of WSC-members about a tram trip from Otaniemi through Pasila, Arabia and Viikki to Myllypuro. We want to believe!
World Student Capital has grown organically to what it is now: A loose network formed by the ten student unions in the capital region. The network is growing each year and it is coming to a point where the current organization just can’t keep up as well. To work on this, the network has turned it’s eyes inward.
Managing costs and distributing expenses in an equal manner is one aspect that requires improvement. It’s quite a quagmire to try and equalize the expenses of ten different sized organizations.
Throughout the history of World Student Capital it’s been brought up several times whether the network should be turned into a registered association. Currently the network is in many parts acting like a de facto unregistered association, so the leap wouldn’t be that big. On the other hand the amount of open questions remains quite massive on some parts. For this reason WSC has laid concrete groundwork planning to set up a possible association. This work is meant to be brought to an end in 2018 whether that means that WSC will become an association, or otherwise improving the organization.
As an association WSC would be quite remarkable in several ways, however. The organizations that make up World Student Capital represent a hundred thousand students. If WSC was a municipality it would rank as the 10th biggest one in Finland. That’s quite a lot of people.
Chair of the World Student Capital -network 2018