The Finnish Student Sports Federation (Opiskelijoiden Liikuntaliitto ry-OLL) demanded that the equality, accessibility and safety of university sports must be improved.
Leaders of the association made the demands from its General Assembly held in Tampere on Wednesday and Thursday, said OLL in a press release.
The Federation, which is preparing for its 100th anniversary, is inviting university communities to join together to build an equal university on the move.
Equality has not been achieved on a national level as the quality of sports services varies from one university and one city to the next, the association leaders observed.
The OLL leaders urged the government to provide financial incentives for increasing physical activity in the higher education environment and developing the services.
They also demanded that the government should call off the planned VAT increases on sports services.
“There should also be incentives to increase collaboration between universities so that students in blended learning, for instance, can use sports services flexibly in their hometown,” said OLL President Emilia Junnila.
From an individual student’s perspective an experience of inequality can have a significant impact on their wellbeing, and it can also lead to reduced physical activity, the OLL leaders observed.
Often, physical activity is discussed from a normative starting point and the perspective of able-bodied people who fit the norm, they said, adding that in order to improve equality, accessibility must be understood in the broad sense of the word.
“When we talk about accessible services it’s not just about the height of thresholds or the slope of ramps, but it’s equally about how well rooms, instructions and ways of working are suited to neurodivergent students or students living with different kinds of sensory hypersensitivities,” said Mio Kortelainen, who was elected President for 2024.
OLL wants to work with the university communities to ensure that every student is able to have an active lifestyle without needing to worry about being subjected to discrimination or harassment.