Student events

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In addition to studies, student life and the academic year are peppered with a variety of academic traditions and student events. Throughout the year, the University of Helsinki and its Student Union organize a wide variety of events and parties open to all students. Other student organizations and external parties, such as museums, also organize events for students.

Academic traditions

Opening of the academic year

In observance of tradition, the academic year is opened on the first day of the first teaching period. The official part of the ceremonies include speeches by the rector and members of the teaching staff, music and an ecumenical service. From 1990 onwards, an opening carnival organised by the Student Union and the University has been part of the opening day afternoon.

Traditional academic dinner parties (“sitsit”)

Sitsits are academic dinner parties organised by discipline-specific student organisations, which include food and drink, as well as traditional songs and other programming.

Conferment ceremonies

At the University, conferment ceremonies are events where each faculty in turn invests masters and doctors with their respective insignia. The interval between conferment ceremonies varies by faculty. The next ceremony will be organised by the Faculty of Philosophy in spring 2019.

The faculties also organise graduation ceremonies for their students. Their conventions vary by faculty.

Public examinations of doctoral dissertations

Are you interested in the research conducted at the University or in what is currently the most pioneering area of research in your field? The public examinations of doctoral dissertations are open to all, accessible through the University’s event calendar.

Inauguration of new professors

The inauguration of new professors is today celebrated much in the same manner as during the very first years of the university in the 17th century. The ceremony and the inaugural lectures are held twice a year, towards the end of each term.

University’s anniversary celebration, 26 March 

In March, the University celebrates its anniversary.  The anniversary is celebrated in commemoration of the signing of the University Statutes at Nyköping on 26 March 1640. The anniversary ceremony and the evening reception are invitation-only events.

Annual celebration of the University of Helsinki Funds

The University of Helsinki Funds annually awards grants and scholarships to gifted students and researchers. The annual event is a celebration of both grant recipients and donors. The event is invitation only in nature.

Student Union events

The Student Union of the University of Helsinki and its committees and organizations constantly organize interesting events, workshops and parties.

Events organized by the Student Union are announced on the Student Union’s website, as well as its Culture & Events Facebook page. Committee and organization activities can be followed through the websites of the relevant organizations or by subscribing to email lists.


The opening carnival

Arranged at the City Centre Campus on Monday 12 September.

Fresher Adventure 29 September

The Freshman Adventure is the largest event in Finland organised for new students. Assemble a team and get to know your new peers while completing playful assignments across the city and the campuses. Winners will be rewarded!


Student Union anniversary

Come join us in celebrating the Student Union of the University of Helsinki!  The anniversary of the Student Union is annually celebrated at a gala dinner, followed by an afterparty.


Independence day procession

Students celebrate the Finnish independence day in the form of a traditional procession. The procession will start at the Hietaniemi cemetery, progressing across the city to join the public celebrations at Senate Square.


Shrove Tuesday festivities

The annual Shrove Tuesday festivities, held at the Ullanlinnanmäki hillside in Helsinki, are among Finland’s largest student outdoor sporting events. The academic sledging race is the highlight of the event organised by students of technology. Assemble a student group, build your own vehicle and register for the race!


May Day

May Day is among the central student celebrations of the year.  Celebrations kick off on 30 April at 18.00 when the Havis Amanda statue at Market Square is adorned with a student cap, carrying on to the next day at the Ullanlinnanmäki hillside and Kaivopuisto. 


Traditional academic sit-down street dinner

A dinner party atmosphere at  Senate Square! Finland’s largest academic dinner party, or “sitsit”, brings the culture of academic dinner parties to the city centre.

Other events

In addition to the Student Union of the University of Helsinki, other student unions and organisations organise student events throughout the year.

Events organised by the University’s Think Corner include lectures and workshops. At the Science Night and Researchers’ Night, you get to immerse yourself in the world of science.

Guidance Corner provides low threshold advice and guidance services on e.g. study skills, wellbeing, digital skills and job seeking. Many of these services are also available in English and the Student Life 2.0 event series is organised especially for international students of the University. 
The physical space of Guidance Corner is located on the third floor of Kaisa House, but currently all events are organised online.

The general event calendar of the University of Helsinki is available here.

On certain days, several museums admit students free of charge.