OLL alumni: “My year on the board gave direction to my career and skills”

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Perseverance, seeing projects through to completion and public speaking. Jorma Alastalo took these lessons with him from his time as second vice chair of the board of the Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL) in 2021. “In the future, I hope to see elements of OLL’s practices in every work community I'm part of,” Alastalo writes in his blog post.

I served on OLL’s board during the coronavirus pandemic, a time when the acute societal situation alone required us to innovate new ways to get students to be physically active. The entire sports sector lost its customer base, and students lost vital opportunities for physical, mental and social wellbeing. OLL’s focus of influence was firmly on developing operating models and promoting physical activity. We also discussed securing funding for sports and other physical activity in the future.

One of the most interesting projects I was involved in was the development of the higher education sports scorecard. The scorecard is a concrete means of enabling higher education institutions to develop their activities to meet the national recommendations for higher education sports. Additionally, it serves as an information tool for ministry officials responsible for sports. The true significance of this project will only be assessed a few years from now, when we can evaluate the actual implementation of the recommendations on a large scale.

The OLL board position enhanced important working life skills

My year on the board gave me more than I expected. I gained important insights into organising my own activities in a more long-term way. I learned to understand the planning and implementation processes of large projects and how to lead myself towards common goals. Board work also honed my public speaking skills.

One of the most meaningful things during the year was the sense of belonging to the community. In my view, OLL combines the best features of a functional and healthy working community.

After my term on the board, I continued in a project worker role with sports tutoring. I will continue to compare every job I have in the future to the time I spent in OLL.

I am currently completing my degree in administrative studies at Tampere University. The passion for promoting physical activity that emerged from my time on the board has guided me in directing my own studies. I am currently working on my master's thesis, which examines the national impact of public funding for promoting physical activity.

Based on my own experience, I warmly recommend getting involved in OLL’s activities and running for a position on the board!

Jorma Alastalo

Project coordinator of sports tutoring

Author profile: Jorma Alastalo

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