History of WSC

Student unions of the Capital Region have long cooperated on issues such as public transport discounts and improving students’ housing situation. World Student Capital started to take shape in spring 2010, when Helsinki was preparing to act as the 2012 World Design Capital. At this time, student unions of universities wanted to increase cooperation both among themselves and with the student unions of the region’s universities of applied sciences. Jussi Valtonen, the first chair of Aalto University Student Union, presented the idea of students cooperating to make Helsinki the best student city in the world – the World Student Capital.

The dream of World Student Capital included improving the housing situation and cross-city public transport in the Capital Region, establishing a campus ring route for cycling between campuses, supporting student entrepreneurship and creating a fun city that is filled with events.

Developing operations

As a result of the increased cooperation, the student unions of the Capital Region published a joint urban programme in autumn 2013. In autumn 2014, the entire WSC network organised a seminar on urban planning between students and the representatives of the urban planning committees of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa.

When the Research Foundation for Studies and Education Otus approached the network in autumn 2014 to make a cooperation offer to carry out a municipally themed study among all higher education students in the Capital Region, it was easy to accept the offer. The study, named Opiskelijan kaupunki (‘student’s city’), was published in a seminar organised by the network on 3 December 2015. WSC’s shared advocacy objectives, which were based on this brand-new research data, were published at the same time. Since then, the ‘student’s city’ study has been a central part of WSC’s advocacy work and is carried out regularly – next time in 2019.

From network to association

During the history of World Student Capital, the idea of stabilising the network’s operation by making it a registered association was put forward regularly. Serious plans to make this happen began after the 2017 municipal elections. The move would provide continuity for the activities and increased clarity for decision-making.

The rules of the new association were finalised in the association’s founding meeting on 17 December 2018. In the same meeting, Anna Lemström was selected as the association’s first chair, while a representative from each member community was appointed to its Board.