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Moving from a year of challenges to a new one using familiar characteristics

It is often difficult to see which things and events shape a person, the interaction between people, society, the economy, and other fundamental aspects – and yet even harder still to see which of these are the ones that will go down in history. As we know, history is not formed of events that progress on a per-calendar-year basis but of interdependent trends and cycles that are later placed on a timeline and allocated to a certain year.

Even though 2020 is not quite over yet, I believe that nearly everyone would give the same answer to the question of what stood out the most clearly when thinking about 2020. Unfortunately, this thing on everyone’s lips is far from being over and done with, on the contrary, there is talk of a second and possibly a third wave slated for next year. This has meant personal struggles and losses – for some, also new perspectives and opportunities – and no one is immune to these effects.

We must endure and keep following the instructions from authorities, universities, colleges and other educational institutions, employers, service producers, lessors, and other professionals in their respective fields; these parties have utilised the best available information and created safety in their own areas. One must not forget to also use common sense and to act responsibly.

One Finnish characteristic is said to be that we are generally good at following – sometimes even yearning for – the rules and regulations set by public authorities. And this, in turn, is said to be the result of people, at some point in history, seeing this as a prerequisite for national survival: laws protected us from despotism and new ruling powers. When we add our other characteristic feature – grit – to obedience to the law, we have much better chances of surviving this ordeal compared with most other nations. Other things spurring us along are our high educational level; good living conditions on average; lack of extremely dense population areas; respect for others’ personal space; and the lingering tradition of community spirit, taking care of others, and taking responsibility.

In Turku Student Village Foundation, we have done our best to nurture these good characteristics: we have provided instructions and help to our tenants and customers; developed new safe operational models; and continued building and renovating high-quality student housing. We will continue to invest in the health and safe interaction for our customers, tenants, and personnel for as long as is required. There will remain many good things and areas of development even after the crisis is over.

My understanding is that our tenants, personnel, and partners have managed well thanks to obedience, gutsiness, and taking care of our fellow human beings. These things will also carry us over to next year!

I extend my thanks to the foundation’s staff, those working in administration, our partners, tenants, and customers for their tenacity and for enabling us to reach our aims for the year 2021.

Merry Christmas and here’s to a healthy 2021!

Risto Siilos