Network of Academic Sports Services

Finnish higher education sports services give a boost to the everyday routine, improve the sense of community and put a smile on the face of tens of thousands of higher education students and staff members!

A group of higher education sports employees from all over Finland, plus OLL’s Special Advisors for University Sport Anni Liina Ikonen and Jussi Ansala, exercising at the Saimaa Stadium at the Mikkeli network meeting in the spring of 2019.

Network of Academic Sports Services

The Finnish Student Sports Federation has cooperated successfully with higher education sports service providers for decades now. The most important form of cooperation is the Network of Academic Sports Services. Is your higher education institution already part of the network?

On this page, you will find information on the development of higher education sports in Finland, the international field of higher education sports, and the diverse activities of the Network of Academic Sports Services.

Higher education sports in Finland

Higher education sports in Finland has developed at such a pace in the last few decades that nearly all higher education institutions in Finland offer some kind of sports services for students.

The services are often organized in such a way that either the higher education institution, student union, student association or other similar actor in the higher education community has hired one or more employees to produce sports services for the higher education community.

The selection of higher education sports services varies greatly throughout Finland, and the differences between regions may be significant. However, the core of sports activities is made up of similar elements nearly everywhere: group exercise, self-service gyms, and sessions for different sports that are open to everyone.

The national recommendations for higher education sports, coordinated by OLL, support higher education institutions in the production of high-quality academic sports services.

Read more about the recommendations on the Recommendations for university sports page.

International higher education sports

Higher education sports are an integral part of university culture all over the world!

OLL and higher education sports service providers attend the annual ENAS Forum to hear the latest news regarding European higher education sports. ENAS, or the European Network of Academic Sports Services, is the European umbrella organization for higher education sports services.

ENAS’s annual conferences bring together higher education sports staff from all over Europe. The conferences provide an opportunity to share experiences and learn new things from people working in different sports-related operating environments.

Learn more about ENAS on the ENAS website.

Network of Academic Sports Services

The Network of Academic Sports Services is an informal community of higher education sports professionals. We are responsible for coordinating the network’s activities. Members of the network include employees in charge of the sports services of universities and universities of applied sciences, such as sports directors, designers and secretaries.

The aim of the network is to support members of the community in their work and to increase dialogue between members. The common goal is to develop sports opportunities for students and staff within the Finnish higher education community.

The network offers its members:

  • a connection to a national network of colleagues
  • opportunity to exchange good practices
  • networking and training.

Network meetings

Participants of the autumn 2019 network meeting at the main entrance of the Santasport Lapland Sports Institute, posing underneath the Santasport sign with fatbikes after a wintry mountain bike trip.

Network meetings, held twice a year, are the cornerstone of the operations of the Network of Academic Sports Services. The network meetings are held twice a year in May and November in changing cities in collaboration with the local higher education institution.

The two-day meetings always include getting to know colleagues from all over Finland, discussions on current topics, workshops, lectures, and of course the evening programme and exercising together. There are usually around 30–40 participants in the network meetings.

Digital network

In addition to physical network meetings, ideas, experiences and tips can also be shared conveniently via digital means!

Members of the network also benefit from the Higher Education on the Move data bank. Most of the material in the data bank is currently only in Finnish.

Another platform for sharing information and discussing current events is the Facebook group for the Network of Academic Sports Services (in Finnish).

The Network of Academic Sports Services also has a mailing list (in Finnish) which is used to disseminate information on network meetings and current events related to higher education sports.

Cooperation membership

Higher education sports service providers may join OLL as cooperation members. Read more about cooperation membership for higher education sports service providers on the Academic sports services page.