My Una Story - Ditte Taipale

Ditte Taipale is a university lecturer in atmospheric sciences at the Faculty of Science. Ditte has been - and continue to be – developing BASUS together with others at the University of Helsinki and other Una Europa universities. BASUS is the abbreviation for our new joint bachelor’s degree programme in sustainability and to kick off in fall 2025. This is Ditte's story.

The picture shows the Golden Gate bridge in San Fransisco on a sunny, beautiful day, but parts of the bridge is hidden by a thick fog. I feel this picture represents my journey with BASUS pretty well: I was happily walking along the bridge in the sunshine when I got the task to develop BASUS, which is represented by the fog. Why fog? Well, I had never participated in developing a joint bachelor’s degree programme before – or any degree programme for that matter, so I had no idea what was awaiting me.  

So, what did I find in the fog? 

I found people. Nice, funny, smart and interesting people who became my colleagues and, in some cases, also my friends. 

Challenges and problems. Problems I could never have thought up myself or dreamed of could exist. But I was never alone with these challenges. I was always surrounded by people who were willing and able to help me, so together we overcame the challenges. 

Every day, I have figured out more and more things about how our university works and what a big machinery it actually is.   

Community. I have had the opportunity to discuss with teaching personnel from other UNA universities. I have learned how they do things at other UNA universities, and we have exchanged experiences and best practices which I am sure will benefit not only the future BASUS students, but also future as well as existing students at the University of Helsinki as well as the other UNA universities. 

I’m still walking in the fog, but I know that BASUS will be great. BASUS is unique, special and very important, and I know it will be great, and therefore, I also feel grateful for the opportunity to help build it. 

This speech was originally presented at Una Europa Helsinki Spring Fest in May 2024.