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Alumni Risto Artell: "Even the smallest actions can have a huge impact."

Risto Artell has experienced how small actions can have a huge impact. He encourages other alumni to think about different ways to support things that matter to them.
Alumnimme Risto Artell hiihtolenkillä Vantaalla

Risto Artell has experienced how small actions can have a huge impact. He encourages other alumni to think about different ways to support things that matter to them.

Risto was interested in technical matters already at an early age. As electricity seemed like a field for the future and something that suited him, Risto decided to apply to Helsinki University of Technology in 1969. He chose electronics and electron physics as his majors.

Risto remembers hard work as the dominant theme of his student days. ‘There was an incredible amount of theory: mathematics, physics, and electrical engineering. The examinations were stressful but hard work and studying helped. I also remember how money was always scarce. However, this never prevented us from partying at Botnia or Hämäläisten talo after the exam periods.’

With a twinkle in his eye, Risto wants to remind students about the old saying: ‘success comes before work only in the dictionary.'

Music was one of Risto's lifelines during his studies. He started to play violin in the Polytech Orchestra (PO) in the first year of his studies and stayed with the orchestra until he graduated in 1975. The hobby brought friendships that have lasted to this day. 

The birth of his daughter led to a 15-year break in playing. This break came to an end when one of Risto's old student friends invited him to practice in the HTO orchestra in 1992. Risto continues to play in the orchestra along with ten other teekkari alumni.

Education gave an excellent foundation for the future

Risto started his working career in 1973 at Finnish Post and Telegraph, after which he has worked in the planning of Finland's long-distance telephone network, data processing, and sales. Risto retired from TeliaSonera in 2013. 

‘The best thing in my 40-year career was that I had the opportunity to follow the amazing development of telecommunications.'

Risto’s musical hobby and writing have kept him busy during his retirement. The interest in writing was sparked by his desire to record his family history. He wrote his first memoir, Grandpa Risto's Journey into Adulthood, in 2021. This year Risto also completed his second memoir – From a Technology Student to a Key Account Manager, or my 40-year-journey in the world of telecommunications.

At about the time that the memoir was published, Risto received alumni greetings from Aalto University by e-mail. The message mentioned the war in Ukraine and explained that Aalto had opened a fundraising campaign to support Ukraine’s university students who had arrived in Finland. The opportunity to support young students, whose plight has been a matter of concern for him, motivated Risto to donate the same day. However, he also pondered if there was another way to help.

He came up with the idea in the following days. Risto had not considered charging for his memoirs – he simply wanted to give the book as a gift to friends and former colleagues. 

‘The people who received the book wanted to pay for it, so I suggested that they would donate the 25 euros printing costs to support Ukraine’s students.’

Friends and colleagues warmly welcomed the idea and Risto's idea has already brought more than 50 donations to the Aalto University Ukraine Fund. He welcomes the opportunity to help and motivate others to contribute to the cause. At the same time, he also believes that the opportunity to help has also motivated people to order his memoirs.

‘Not wanting money for myself, I took the opportunity to ask for donations to support Ukraine’s university students.’

Would you like to join Risto in supporting Ukraine’s university students? Read more or donate today.

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