Brief in English


Student Consumerism with a Conscious

When you live on an income of only 1,540 FIM a month, consumer decisions can get pretty important. Laura Hartikainen, a student of Russian literature and language, prefers to buy products that match her ethics as well. 8I generally try to buy cosmetics that havenft been tested on animals,e she explains. 8It doesnft seem fair to buy from huge multi-national food chains, either, especially those that import their food from who-knows-where with no profit for the people living there. Kalle Viitanen, a future archeologist, and Sheila Weintraub, a student of education, admit that price and quality are major factors when buying things for their apartment, although certain principles are kept in mind while shopping. 8When we were looking for a rug, we considered the possibility that children could have tied each little knot,e says Kalle. Ilari Lintukangas studies business and buys food that is more environmentally sustainable only when it doesnft affect price or quality too strongly. But when I buy paper, I often check that it is recycled.

Finlandia Prize Goes to a University Staff Member

This yearfs Finlandia prize for literature was awarded on December 10 to Irja Rane for his first novel, Naurava neitsyt (The Laughing Virgin). The book took 10 years to write, during which time Rane worked at the University of Helsinki as an assistant in the Department of Finnish Literature. Rane explains, 8The ideas stayed alive the whole time. It was screaming dfinish me, finish me!f. Finally, I couldnft avoid it any longer.e The Laughing Virgin tells the story of three people, two in France in the 1300fs and one in Germany in the 1930fs. Visitations from the Virgin Mary interlock the stories, although they take place in different centuries and different settings. The book follows the tradition of Greek tragedy, addressing the timeless themes of human corruption and vulnerability. Comfort is found in the character of the Virgin Mary, warmly laughing at the insignificance of mortal struggles and putting them in their proper perspective.

Dancing His Way Through His Thesis

Jaakko Kara went on a trip to Greece with his family while he was still in high school. A music cassette he brought back inspired him to learn more about Greek culture and music. He began to study traditional Greek dance as well. What began as a hobby, became a passion. Since 1989, Kara has held dance courses in schools and institutions throughout Finland. Kara explains, At some point I began to feel as though it would be a crime to not tell everything I know about the Greek culture.e He went to the Faculty of Theology with his thesis idea. 8They werenft too receptive to the idea at first. I was told that a scientific examination of dance would be very difficult.e Kara was certain, however, that he could combine dance, cultural identity and theology successfully. Together with Assistent Harri Markkula, a research problem was created. 8Packing all of my experiences into one theoretical framework was problematic at times,e Kara says, but only four months passed before his thesis was finished. The University of Helsinki Press has agreed to publish a booklet on Karafs thesis for wider distribution.

Sight-Impaired Student Works To Improve University

Minna Agren is a sight-impaired student of theology and current president of VAMKO, the representative organization for handicapped University students. She explains the groupsfs purpose: 8We work to increase student equality in both studies and student life.e Although many things need improvement in the University environment, Agren finds mobility problems most pressing. The most glaring example being the winding stairs of the New Student House, eliminating any chances handicapped students may have of attending student parties there. Things are improving, however. The new Undergraduate Library has excellent lighting and computer facilities for the physically disabled. Agren adds, 8I would particularly like to thank the staff of the cafeteria in the Main Building. They are extremely helpful.e With regards to her studies, Agren does more work than most students, 8Because I am sight-impaired, studying is harder work. When I have a test coming up, I donft have time for anything else. I need about 12 hours to read just 100 pages.e

Preliminary Taxation For Study Aid

Beginning next June, a preliminary ten percent tax will be taken automatically from monthly student aid payments, meaning that full-time students can order new tax percentage cards reading zero percent as of next summer. After closer inspection, this change, which initially seems to be a illogical extension of bureaucracy, proves to be beneficial to students. The ten percent blanket tax is an average determined by the Finnish National Insurance Fund (KELA), and is not affected by other work done. In the past, a high tax percentage levied during times of summer employment, for example, also applied to studentsf study aid. Study aid has been considered taxable income in Finland since 1992.

Gunter Grass – A Writer Among Writers

Gunter Grass is one of those writers that never underestimates his readers. Grassf novels are consistently of a high quality and guarantee demanding text. The epitome of this tendancy could be Grassfs latest novel ***, whose Finnish translation Avarammille aloille appeared in bookstores this fall. After diving into this 650 page cultural/historical epic, the reader emerges a changed person. The novel tells the story of old Theo Wuttke, or Fonty, living in Berlin during the fall of the wall and the reunification of Germany. His story intertwines with that of Theodor Fontane, a writer that lived exactly one hundred years prior. Although the first fifty pages may be confusing, Grassf text rewards readers that stay along for the ride, proving once again his mastery of delicate humor and language.