Nordic Five Tech annual student union summit strengthens Nordic collaboration

Aalto University Student Union (AYY) recently hosted the Nordic Five Tech (N5T) Annual Student Union Summit, a two-day event that brought together representatives from leading technical universities across the Nordic region. The summit, held on October 12th and 13th, saw over 20 participants from Finland (Aalto), Denmark (DTU), Sweden (KTH), and Norway (NTNU) gather for insightful discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities.
Participants at N5T Annual Student Union Summit at Aalto University.
N5T Student Union Summit participants. Photo by Júli Moon.

The event began with a warm welcome by Kristaps Kovalonoks, Coordinator of Global Engagement at Aalto University, and opening remarks by Mantė Žygelytė, Board Member at AYY, and Ronja Mäkinen, Policy Specialist, International Affairs & Equity at AYY. They expressed their delight in hosting student union actives from neighbouring Nordic countries and highlighted the significance of the event in promoting collaboration among N5T institutions.

Dr. Jérôme Rickmann, Senior Advisor and N5T Secretariat Chair at Aalto University, provided an overview of N5T and its 17-year history and shared the latest insights on Battery technology studies collaboration and the extended campus framework. Jani Romanoff, Professor of Marine and Arctic Technology at Aalto University, also shared his extensive experience in N5T matters with over a decade of involvement, stressing the importance of sharing best practices among student unions.

The summit offered a platform for dialogue, exchange of ideas, and the strengthening of international bonds among student unions. The event's agenda featured a diverse range of presentations, discussions, workshops, and campus exploration opportunities, allowing participants to learn about Aalto's campus and the rich history of student life in Finland. Nordic guests also enjoyed a traditional Finnish sauna, an essential cultural experience.

N5T workshop in progress.
Workshop in progress at AYY office. Photo by Júli Moon.

Discussions during the summit covered topics such as language policies and student representation in higher education, student mobility and advocacy, and the challenges faced by student unions. Participants examined the role of N5T student unions and their influence on local and national levels. Student union representatives unanimously emphasized the importance of structured communication, knowledge transfer, and onboarding meetings for new board members, as well as the use of digital tools for better documentation.

The summit also featured a presentation on current European student politics by Yuri Birjulin, International Affairs and EU Specialist at SYL, and Antti Regelin, Board Member at SYL, who provided insights into European student politics from the perspective of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL).

Ronja Mäkinen from AYY highlighted the significance of the summit in promoting cross-border exchange and cooperation, saying, 'It was a pleasure to host our Nordic neighbour student union activists. We had great discussions about the similarities and differences of our unions, our future collaboration, and Europe-wide student politics.'

The N5T Annual Student Union Summit concluded with a commitment to keep working on establishing a shared vision for student unions, fostering regular online meetings to exchange latest updates, and creating a more robust collaboration framework. Student unions also pledged their continued commitment to advocating for N5T students and promoting cross-border collaboration.

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 Kristaps Kovalonoks

Kristaps Kovalonoks

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