One election that took place long ago

Mari Lähteenmäki

Text: Mari Lähteenmäki | Photo: Petteri Kivimäki

October 2006. I should have been writing my thesis, clean up my studio apartment, or cook something proper for once. When the phone rang, I jumped up to answer. It was the cute boy next door, whom I had met one year earlier via my previous flatmate. 

“It’s an emergency. There’s an election at Rentukka. Come bake donuts.”

As I had been following this peculiar Student Village community via the boy next door for a while now, I knew this election was about the highest decision-making body in the Student Village, the Tenants’ Council. The donuts were related: the Student Union JYY offered every voter a cup of coffee with a huge sugary pastry. It was everyone’s tough responsibility, the voting, after all. 

The friend of the boy next door told me I could have as many donuts as I liked, and there would be more of the same work next week. And if I’d volunteer with them at attaching paper tags to abandoned bikes by cello tape, I’d get a pizza at Rentukka. Free food? Can I really come next week, too?
And so, I spent the evening with the cute boy next door baking 150 frozen donuts in his oven. The boy next door piled the sugared donuts under cake domes and rushed them off to Rentukka with his friend.

I can’t remember who won that election, but I won a first encounter with the core of tenant democracy, sweet as a donut.

The writer works in communication with Soihtu, Business Unit of JYY. The text has been published earlier in Kylä magazine 1 / 2021.

What should tenants’ activity be like? How would you prefer to participate in the decision-making or development of your housing location? Join our Teams meeting on Monday 26.4.2021 for a chat about the opportunities of tenants’ activity (link opens in a new window). Welcome!

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