Five Finnish organisations who represent higher education students are getting together to increase the voter turnout among students. In their joint municipal election campaign, the National Union of University Students in Finland, the University of Applied Sciences Students in Finland, the Finnish Student Sports Federation, STTK Students and Akava Students aim to remind students that we can build a better city for students together.
“Higher education students have their own wishes and requirements for the municipal decision-making. The most important election themes for them are things like public transport, housing and town planning, employment, well-being and the urban environment. For students, the municipal elections are about whether the cities are becoming more student-friendly and whether the future of the municipality looks like a place where it is possible to fulfil one’s dreams,” the student organisation representatives explain.
The organisations point out that higher education students are a substantial voter group especially in the cities, and they can make a noticeable impact on the election results. The largest numbers of higher education students, relatively speaking, can be found in Vaasa, Rovaniemi, Jyväskylä and Joensuu, where higher education students make up more than 10 percent of the population. The corresponding figure is 5.8 percent in Helsinki, 9.1 in Turku, 8.2 in Oulu and 7.6 in Tampere.
The aim of the campaign is to improve student voter turnout and highlight students as an important group of voters. The campaign is also fulfilling a need to inform students about their right to vote in the municipal elections. The core content of the campaign aims particularly to remind students who have recently moved to the city where they study and international students of their right to vote.
On a national level, students represent 7.3 percent of eligible voters, while in the last municipal elections only 5.3 percent of them exercised their right to vote. Approximately half of the students who do not vote say that the reason is that they have not found a suitable candidate, and around one in four feels that their vote does not matter.
“We aim to help students find the motivation and enthusiasm to vote in these elections despite their tough experiences during the COVID period. Many have predicted that the upcoming elections will have a strong focus on social media, which will hopefully bring the elections even closer to students, who are seasoned users of social media. On the other hand, the importance of media literacy and the ability to identify fake news will also be more important. This new way of approaching elections will also require us to adapt to the current trends,” the student organisations point out.
The student organisations’ municipal election campaign on social media will be using the hashtags #studentcity and #municipalelections2021.
The National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL)
+358 44 906 5001
The University of Applied Sciences Students in Finland – SAMOK
+358 50 389 1000
The Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL)
+358 44 780 0216
+358 44 544 9106
+358 40 511 9370