If you’re interested in developing your environment and getting to know the people living around you, autumn is a good time to join a Tenant Committee. Each PSOAS housing location has its own Committee consisting the tenants of the location. The Committees work for the good of the tenants together with PSOAS. We talked to the Tenant Manager in charge, Matti Rimpinen, and to the chairs of the Linnanmaa and Toppila Tenant Committees, Hanna Virpiranta and Ayako Shimada.
Working for the comfort of tenants
Both PSOAS and the Tenant Committees wish that the tenants would want to stay at PSOAS locations as long as possible. We work for the tenants’ comfort through communality and the development of the environment. “I wish tenants would get together more and that way, get to know each other. I find it strange that people don’t know even their neighbours,” says Ayako, the chair of the Toppila Tenant Committee. She says that, at Toppila, communality has been built with a shared morning coffee for the tenants, among other things. The tenants have formed a community that actively spends time together.
Linnanmaa also has an active Tenant Committee as it is the largest PSOAS location. “We’ve organised a lot of shared activities for the tenants. We’ve spent time together playing board games, organising flea markets and holding BBQ events,” says Hanna, the chair of the Linnanmaa Tenant Committee. Matti adds that the Tenant Committees also organise voluntary activities to make the yards and shared facilities more comfortable. The PSOAS Bikes, designed to bring joy to international students and other tenants, are also a result of the collaboration between PSOAS and Tenant Committees.
Getting the tenants to participate is a challenge
PSOAS supervises and aids the activities of the Tenant Committees by listening to and implementing the improvement ideas of tenants. “It’s my job to be available for the Tenant Committees and do everything I can to make life in our locations comfortable. The tenants’ own activity in suggesting development ideas and participating in activities is essential, and PSOAS aids and funds the activities as much as possible. The challenge is getting active people to participate, and also making our achievements visible,” says Matti, summing up the role of PSOAS.
Ayako believes that participation is key in making residential locations more comfortable: “It’s been difficult to get people to participate in things like yard work. You shouldn’t think that the leaves and the trash will just disappear from the yard: someone needs to make an effort to remove them. In the future, I’d like to see more contributions from PSOAS to activate the tenants.” Hanna adds that even though the activities of the Tenant Committees might seem like extra work, working for the common good feels rewarding and you also get to meet new people in the Committees.
Direct communication between PSOAS and the Tenant Committees
The Tenant Committees communicate with tenants on Facebook, but also through the PSOAS channels. Matti actively follows the discussions of Tenant Committees, and he emphasises that you can make a difference even if you’re not in a Tenant Committee. “All tenants can communicate their suggestions to the chairs of the Tenant Committees, who will forward them to PSOAS. You only need an idea and the will to implement it to make a difference.” Ayako and Hanna encourage tenants to throw ideas around. They also state that the communication between PSOAS and the Tenant Committees works well.
How do you see the Tenant Committees developing in the future?
Matti: More ideas from tenants. To promote this, we’re holding an idea contest. There’s more information about the contest at the end of this article.
Ayako: We need stronger support and aid from PSOAS. In the future, we could hold more relaxed get-togethers to get the quieter tenants to join in.
Hanna: We need more active people in the Tenant Committees.
Read more information about the Tenant Committees and join here.
We will hold an idea contest for tenants on Sept 27th – Oct 21st 2018. The best idea for improvement will win 5,000 euros. The sum will be used for the good of all PSOAS tenants, based on the winning idea. The winning idea needs to be as timeless as possible, to benefit tenants as broadly as possible, and to improve the well-being of students in some way. The winning idea will be chosen at the meeting of the chairs the Tenant Committees. You can find more information on the contest here.