Sonja invests in board work

Original text: Anni Pajari | Pictures: Tiina Salminen

Sonja Jokinen is an economics student and a member of The Student Union Board of Executives. On the board, the focus of her responsibilities is on the corporation and the Student Village. 

On the day of the interview that happens to be a Monday in September, Sonja has the board’s morning school, like every Monday. In the afternoon, she has a meeting with the university’s management to discuss the start of the academic year. 

In general, board work includes stakeholder meetings and appointments, as well as independent work. Sonja goes through different materials and familiarizes herself with new topics in advance. 

“However, you can’t and don’t need to know everything beforehand. It’s okay if you don’t always have a strong opinion on things. Instead, you can also listen to what other people think.” 

Studies on hold

Interest in JYY’s operations began in spring 2021, when Sonja applied and was elected to the Business Board. Business Board is JYY’s institutional body, where expert and student members prepare matters related to JYY’s business together with Soihtu’s management. In the past years, these has been for instance the renovation projects of the Kortepohja Student Village and the construction of Korttelikylä. 

As she got to know the business, Sonja became more interested in developing it, and she applied for a Board of Executives position with the focus on corporate responsibilities. She thinks the board’s most important tasks are the daily decision-making and operational activities. JYY’s Council of Representatives outlines the ideological issues, and the Board of Executives implements them in practice. 

Board members cooperate closely with JYY’s experts, i.e., the employees, but board member positions are positions of trust. The members of the board are paid a compensation so that they would not have to use their study allowance and it would therefore be possible to put the studies on hold if necessary. 

“I decided that since I started working for the board, I would invest in it. I’ve taken a couple of courses during the year, otherwise my studies are on hold for a while,” says Sonja. 

A busy week

In general, the working hours of board members are from nine to three on weekdays. In practice, sometimes it’s quieter, sometimes busier. Sonja’s past week has been particularly busy, and the days have been long. 

This workday will also continue in the evening when the new student members of the Business Board will learn more about JYY’s organization. The following evening there will be a meeting of the Tenants’ Council of the Kortepohja Student Village and at the end of the week a trip to Turku for an event hosted by the National Union of University Students in Finland. 

“Meetings of the Tenants’ Council are interesting, because you can hear from the tenants themselves how the decisions made in terms of business are reflected in their everyday life.” 

According to Sonja, the best thing about working on the board is the unique experiences. 

“I have been able to see up close how business is managed and developed in such a large organization. It is not easy to get similar experience elsewhere.” 

“Meetings of the Tenants’ Council are interesting, because you can hear from the tenants themselves how the decisions made in terms of business are reflected in their everyday life.” 

While Sonja Jokinen has been a member both in the Business Board of JYY and The Student Union Board of Executives, she has had a great opportunity to see up close how business is managed and developed in a relatively big organization.

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