On 13 March, the Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL) held an election panel debate on sports with the parliamentary election candidates in the Palm room (Palmuhuone) at restaurant Lasipalatsi in Helsinki. The panel debate, called #studentsonthemoveNOW, tackled the challenges of and looked at solutions to making higher education institutions more physically active.
The panellists were the following Members of Parliament: Paavo Arhinmäki (Left Alliance), Ritva Elomaa (Finns Party), Johanna Karimäki (Green League), Hanna Kosonen (Centre Party), Sari Multala (National Coalition Party) and Joona Räsänen (Social Democratic Party). The panel debate was hosted by Jussi Ansala, Special Advisor for University Sport at OLL and Soile Koski-Aho, OLL President in 2018.
The participants discussed both general questions about sports which concern society as a whole and special questions relating to Finnish higher education and student sports. The general questions generating a great deal of interest were related to the Report on Sports Policy, which was prepared during the last parliamentary term, and the proposed measures suggested in the Report to increase physical activity in all life stages. All our panellists supported implementing the Report on Sports Policy during the next parliamentary term so that the health problems and the costs caused by physical inactivity can be reduced. Another point the panellists agreed on was that we have to use both funds from the Finnish gaming company Veikkaus and unallocated budget funds in order to overcome the challenges created by physical inactivity.
As far as developing the higher education sports is concerned, all the panellists concurred: the Students on the Move programme should be extended to include higher education institutions. Joona Räsänen (Social Democratic Party) noted that proper resource allocation is needed to truly extend the programme. In addition, all the panellists were concerned about the most physically inactive students and how to reach them. Here, Sari Multala (National Coalition Party) stressed the importance of the Students on the Move programme in promoting changes in the operational culture. Extending the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) to encompass students at all higher education institutions was also seen as an excellent opportunity to promote students’ physical well-being as part of the student health
services. Johanna Karimäki (Green League) and Kike Elomaa (Finns Party) emphasised that all Finnish higher education institutions should have good and equal sports services.
The idea of adding an entry about sports services directly to the Universities Act and the Universities of Applied Sciences Act was supported by the panellists. Hanna Kosonen (Centre Party), for instance, was ready to add an entry about sports services in these Acts. Adding this entry to the Acts was, among other things, justified by the fact that it is the only way to make sure that sports services are organised at the higher education institutions. The other panellists were also interested in this idea. For example, Paavo Arhinmäki (Left Alliance) stated that the question should be further investigated during the next parliamentary term.
In the panel debate, we released our parliamentary election video #studentsonthemoveNOW and #getoffyourarse. The video was created by OLL in collaboration with student unions, and you can watch it on YouTube.
The video we showed during the panel debate is part of a series of election videos. You can watch the other election videos both on our YouTube channel and on our social media channels. We also managed to surprise our panellists with squat jumps. Watch the video to see how good the panellists were at doing squat jumps!
At the end of the panel debate, OLL President Joonas Suikula sent the Federation’s regards to decision-makers and the next Parliament. In their speech, Mr. Suikula stressed that higher education institutions should be supported in promoting physical activity among students, particularly through the Students on the Move programme and sufficient funding.
You can watch the video of the panel debate here.
The election panel debate #studentsonthemoveNOW is part of OLL’s parliamentary election campaign. Our goal is that the Students on the Move programme will be extended to higher education institutions during the next parliamentary term.
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Jussi Ansala, Special Advisor for University Sport, email@example.com, tel. +358 44 780 0214
Joonas Suikula, OLL President, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 44 780 0211