Helsinki is Finland's largest student city. Every tenth inhabitant in Helsinki is a higher education student and there is a total of over 62,000 of us. Just from HYY's members, approximately 20,000 live in Helsinki.
The municipal level makes decisions on most issues affecting the daily lives of inhabitants: housing, transport, hospitals, roads and libraries. In our members' view, the most important themes in municipal advocacy are housing and zoning, as well as public transport.
HYY engages in significant urban advocacy work. In previous years, HYY has achieved the following with its advocacy work alone or in cooperation with other student organisations or interest groups in the metropolitan area:
- A uniform 50 % student discount on public transport in the metropolitan area since 2006
- 50 % student discount in public transport for exchange students in the metropolitan area since 2010
- The annual target of student and youth housing production in Helsinki was increased to 300 apartments in 2012 and in 2016 the target of student housing alone was increased to 300 (+100 youth apartments), which will facilitate the students' housing shortage in the long run
Our Urban Programme for the years 2016–2020 details the political goals of the Student Union for the future of Helsinki.
HYY has drafted three municipal initiatives, the progress of which will be monitored in the council. The initiatives concern student housing zoning to new areas, transforming the streets of the city centre campus of the University of Helsinki into pedestrian streets and improving cross-town traffic between the university campuses.
A part of the municipal advocacy work HYY carries out on its own, but the Student Union also has joint goals set by the World Student Capital Network, which joins together all student unions of the universities in the Capital Region. These joint main objectives for municipal advocacy are included in the beginning of the Urban Programme. In the autumn of year 2016 the student unions in Helsinki launched a joint campaign called ScienceTram2025 (Tiederatikka2025), which aims at setting up a new cross-town light rail connection between ten university campuses by means of a municipal initiative.
Urban advocacy work is coordinated by a Board Member and a Specialist.