The face of JYY and support for organizations 

Text: Mari Lähteenmäki | Pictures: Tiina Salminen, Tiitu Design

Petro Pitkänen, the Student Union’s Member Services Secretary, works with JYY’s several associations. Petro has more than 14 years of experience from the boards of various organizations and thus a lot of knowledge. 

“My job is to know the current phenomena and needs of JYY members and the everyday life of the organizations. The principles of good governance in organizations and knowledge of the Associations Act help me succeed.” 

Face-to-face and digital customer service 

Petro’s mornings start by going through emails from JYY members and organizations working within JYY, such as subject associations. He also pays attention to what is discussed in Jodel. 

Customer service work involves meeting JYY members. The office is located in the JYY Student House Ilokivi in Seminaarinmäki. In early 2024, a pilot project was launched where the member services visit the campuses on Tuesdays.   

“I visit the campuses of Ylistönmäki and Mattilanniemi, and the different student associations. I carry semester stickers and key cards with me, do counselling and meet students.” 

During the spring of 2024, meetings of the JYY Council of Representatives and Board of Executives are held on different campuses. The practice, which is in pilot phase, is an initiative from JYY members. In the autumn of 2023, the Council Groups that had their background in association work created an initiative to make JYY more visible outside Seminaarinmäki. 

“The best thing for the students would be if we as JYY and Soihtu were closer to the student, as an everyday thing. Students’ understanding of JYY’s mission increases when we make our services easily accessible.” 

For organisations, with expertise 

Training organizations is the most inspiring part of Petro’s work. The compliments he receives remind him of the importance of his work. Petro also helps organizations one-to-one. That way it is possible to have a more detailed discussion of the association’s documents, setting up a registered association, or amending the association’s bylaws. 

“Many students have a closer relationship with the community in their subject or department, and therefore with their own subject association, than with the wider university community and JYY. That’s why at JYY we want to maintain good relations with hobby and subject associations.” 

In his role as Harassment contact person, Petro also advises organizations in sensitive situations, for example when inappropriate behavior occurs among the organization’s membership. 

JYY is a service organization 

Petro points out that protecting the interests of JYY’s members towards the university and in society is JYY’s most important task. Member Services Secretary uses their own influencing and negotiating skills in the networks to which work and personal own interests have connected them. Ultimately, all JYY’s activities can be seen as a service to members. 

“Let’s make sure that students’ rights are respected and that we move forward and not backwards. Influencing where we can – sometimes it means lobbying the city for a new bus route, sometimes negotiating with the university for a new event space for the student community. We want to contribute to a smoother everyday life for the students.” 

“The best thing for the students would be if we as JYY and Soihtu were closer to the student, as an everyday thing.”

Petro Pitkänen

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