“Not an internship in coffee-making, that’s for sure!” – Communications and sustainable development themes in the form of a university internship

Jasmin Järvinen (on the left) and Hanna Yletyinen have worked as university interns at AYY.

This spring and summer, two university interns have been working at Aalto University Student Union. Hanna Yletyinen completed her internship in March–May in the Communications team, while Jasmin Järvinen started to work on sustainable development themes in May. Hanna and Jasmin are both students of the University of Helsinki. Hanna is studying theology and communications, and Jasmin is doing master’s-level studies in the Environmental Change and Global Sustainability programme.

When she arrived at AYY, Hanna did not really know what to expect. She had been actively involved with organisations and putting on events in the Faculty Association for Theology Students, for example, but communications was fairly unknown territory for her. The internship has given Hanna a good perspective on what working in communications could be like and exceeded all her expectations. Her working days have consisted of various tasks related to communications. “There have been social media posts and meetings, but the most work has gone towards the soon-to-be-published new website,” she says. “I have also had a chance to be involved in different projects like the parliamentary and European Elections and the Manta crowning, so my duties have been extremely versatile.”

Jasmin’s internship has only just begun. In her first weeks, Jasmin says she has got stuck into some interesting and important things. “Among other things, I will be thinking about how AYY’s carbon footprint could be charted and measured. I’ll also be preparing some internal guidelines and planning trainings.” Jasmin has also got to work on the Climate Tip series for the coming autumn’s Design Calendar, aimed to encourage students to think about and change their lives in a way that is more sustainable for the environment. “It feels like I’m doing everything at once right now, because it’s all so inspiring that I can’t decide what I’d like to focus on first,” she laughs.

Both say that the AYY work community has been warm and welcoming. Nearing the end of her internship, Hanna says that compared to her past work communities, AYY has put particularly much effort on the wellbeing of employees. She feels that the regular discussions with her manager have been beneficial and the entire office’s communal morning meetings a good and easy way to learn about others’ work as well. “The best has been that I’ve got to do things that are real and tangible. And that’s where you learn best, too. This has not been an internship in coffee-making, that’s for sure,” Hanna says with a twinkle in her eye.

Jasmin has also been positively surprised by the fact that she has got to do tangible things from the start. “It’s also lovely that the work community has a relaxed attitude towards working and trusts that things will get done even if they are not on the clock.” Hanna agrees with Jasmin’s notions and continues: “You can see from everyone here that they enjoy what they do!”

During her internship, Jasmin would like to learn how sustainable development themes can be advanced in practice or integrated as part of everyday life and operations. “I’m also excited about getting to do some communications, to write a blog entry and to build my own expertise.”

In the future, Hanna could see herself working in communications for a living. “I’d like to do something where I can use my theological know-how. I’d like to learn to understand different kinds of people and to solve the typical issues of urbanisation, like social exclusion,” Hanna says. Jasmin would like to see herself as a specialist in environmental responsibility. “I see myself working on the big issues. I want to be a part of finding the solution to global environmental challenges, such as climate change,” Jasmin envisions.

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