My Una Story - Logan Sunnarborg

When I moved to Finland from the USA nearly two years ago, I knew I wanted to get involved with the university community to help my integration and invest my time in a meaningful project. I applied to the Una Europa Student Local Task Force without knowing much about it.

 I read it was about building the university of the future – a very abstract concept indeed. On my application I wrote about the benefits of interdisciplinary education & how universities should not “gatekeep” knowledge. If there is expertise at another university, say in research or teaching, this should not preclude others from accessing it simply because of where one studies. 

This is how I envisioned Una Europa. I was invited to join the LTF, so I am glad Stinne and others found my application interesting. Well, this launched my journey with Una Europa. Being a part of the LTF has brought me many opportunities such as expanding my network beyond the Faculty of Law. It has sharpened my skills of event planning and communications, as well as learning of all the opportunities students like myself can enjoy because of this alliance. 

Such opportunities took me to Strasbourg where I participated in the European Student Assembly with over 250 students from across Europe – representing Helsinki and Una Europa. I’ve been able to write blogs that showcase the awesome events Una Europa hosts on campus. And most rewarding are the lasting connections with fellow students and the university community. When I think of the future of the LTF and Una Europa, my hope is for increased collaboration and building a community. 

There ought to be more links between not only researchers/staff of Helsinki and the student body, but also across the alliances. There should be more events, just like the one we have today. Perhaps this could take the form of leveraging an online platform where people can share their research and passion projects, allowing others to benefit from their expertise. This could mean more events gathering students, where we can rally together to address the issues that we face in common. 

Una Europa can act as a bridge – aiding students and others to break down the ivory tower that is academia to make knowledge and opportunity more accessible to all. As a non-EU student myself, I am limited by the permissions that are granted to me based on where I study. Una Europa serves as a platform where issues such as this can be raised, discussed, and hopefully, solutions can be found. 

Overall, my time with the LTF has been enjoyable and something I will carry with me in my next career steps. As we all work to make the “university of the future” a reality – each of us has a part to play. We must be vocal about our work to make this mission something more concrete and tangible. Even though I have submitted my thesis, and my student journey is coming to an end, I look forward to seeing how Una Europa will fill any gaps in our academic experiences as we work towards greater collaboration. 

While a student career generally lasts only a few short years, we remain vital to the LTF and driving the work of Una Europa. Us students are also the face of Una Europa to the larger community. Publicizing the work of Una Europa to the student body is no small task; but with every event, blog post, or long messages in Telegram to hundreds of students, the work of Una Europa becomes more tangible. 

Together, let’s make the university of the future a reality for all.