HYY's Freshman Chancellor Juuso Nieminen met his professional role model, the Chancellor of the University of Helsinki Thomas Wilhelmsson. At their meeting, the chancellors discussed their job descriptions and the reception of new students at the University.
The Chancellor of the University represents the University at various events. He participates in the meetings of the Finnish Government, thus representing the scientific community of the entire Finland. The Chancellor also appoints professors and lecturers and keeps in touch with parties which make donations to the University. In his position, the Chancellor mainly meets students at the student union or student nation anniversaries, but Mr Wilhelmsson would also like to meet students at other times. Mr Wilhelmsson, who has previously served as the Rector, warmly recalled the event at the beginning of each autumn, where the Rector shook hands with the incoming new students.
Chancellor Wilhelmsson's own freshman year took place in an unusually exciting period, the year of 1968. ”It was a politically active time, and freshmen had plenty to marvel at. Taking over the Old Student House, demonstrations, and political discussions of thousands of students in the exhibition hall. Students were also truly listened to”, he recalled. Mr Wilhelmsson continues to feel that demonstrations and influencing are part of the student life.
According to Mr Wilhelmsson, the reception of new students has undergone changes over the decades. In the 60s, for example, a student who was not dressed festively enough in a suit or dress could be thrown away from the queue to shake the Rector's hand. Even if freshmen are hardly treated in this way anymore, the Chancellor thinks that there is still plenty of room for improvement in the reception of new students.
"The organising of the reception has largely been the responsibility of student organisations. The University should develop this aspect and particularly take into account how new students could be more committed to their studies. Recently, we have tried to pay attention to this matter.”
Both the Chancellor and the Freshman Chancellor find community important at the level of the entire university, not only on the level of one's own subject or faculty. According to Mr Wilhelmsson, the university management should emphasise to new students that all of us at the University, from freshmen to management, come from a world-class university, the University of Helsinki. In Mr Wilhelmsson's view, an interdisciplinary approach is needed not only among the students, but also among the staff.
Finally, Chancellor Wilhelmsson sent his greetings to all new students:
"The University offers wonderful opportunities. Be enthusiastic and take advantage of all of these opportunities!”