The bulk of the participants of this group are in Rovaniemi, with only a colleague Jana and me residing in Tornio, and another, Zun, in Kemi. The three of us joined the group during the planning of this thanksgiving event, and were newcomers at the time.
Leadership in Rovaniemi decided to try to have the same event take place in all campuses, and placed Zun in charge of Kemi/Tornio. Zun, seeing that she had a critical math test on the day of the event, contacted me to help distribute the responsibilities. I recruited Jana to help expand our following, and she in turn recruited almost eight more students in Tornio to further distribute the coming workload.
The most notable of these were Anya, Ekaterina, and Natalia who proved essential to the completion of the project. The goal was to have a celebration of gratitude for the teachers at the University, which is spread throughout three cities and more than six campuses.
Teresa Chen helped us every step of the way during her off hours streamlining the entire process. In order to make it possible to conduct the event in both cities with the human resources available, we decided to proceed with the happenings in each city on separate days.
We also went through the process of making sure my US driver’s license was legal in Finland, and reserving the school car.
Juhamatti was critical in planning both the Kemi and Tornio events by consulting about logistics associated with the Tornio event as well as by being more than helpful in the process of borrowing the school car.
On the Thursday before Valentine’s Day weekend, Anya, Ekaterina, Jana and I departed Tornio at 7:00 AM and navigated the route to Kemi’s Lumikko campus. We individually hunted down each Professor and Staff member on the email list for Lumikko and presented them with some candy, a handshake, and a formal certificate of their hard work and our gratitude.
In Kosmos campus we did the same, and at Zun’s Healthcare campus we had the pleasure of setting up base camp in the lobby for almost four hours around the lunch break. We had colorful balloons and Valentine’s heart decorations everywhere.
On a table we had paper hearts and pens on which students could make Valentines for other students or write words of appreciation to Professors or Staff and we delivered them with or without the sender’s identity.
Beforehand we sent an invitation to all staff to come visit our table and we searched the building for those who didn’t arrive. In Tornio the next day we stayed in the main hallway from 8:00 until 16:00 while Professors and Staff came at their leisure to receive certificates and kind words of thanks.
We also had available multiple kinds of cookies, candies, tea, and coffee. And as with the Healthcare campus, we made sure there was a colorful aura in the area with balloons and hearts. Throughout the day Oleksander was our personal photographer and we have made the photos and videos available to the Professors and Staff on their OneDrive accounts.
Many students passing by visited our table during the day to write words of gratitude and to thank our beloved Professors and Staff personally. I will conclude with the observation that the event was a groundbreaking success and I am excited to work further with “Give Back to Lapland” and in any school sponsored event in the future.
Text: Aaron Celeste
Students' greeting video to the teachers
Photos: Jana Ladygina