UTSU’s structure

The Student Union joins the active students who want to contribute to the students’ wellbeing either inside the university or at the national level of Estonia’s higher education. It’s possible to carry a role in advocating or educational policy on multiple levels.

The Institute Student Councils have the most members. They are the first to notice the bottlenecks and shortcomings in their institute’s studies or the study environment. As they predominantly form a fifth of the Institute’s Council, they are members with the right to vote there, and they can submit proposals for amendments. If the solution is found somewhere higher than the Institute Council, they can turn to the Faculty Student Council.

The Faculty Student Councils have five members in each and they work according to the same system, just on the faculty level. The members of all the Faculty Student Councils form the Student Parliament, which is the highest decision-making body of the student body. The Student Parliament elects the student body’s Board, approves the Student Union’s budget and adopts political positions.

The most important decisions of the institutes are made by the Institute Councils. The institutes, in turn, form a faculty, which also has its own Council. Both the Institute and Faculty Councils have student representatives as their members, who can have their say in the decisions made on the institute or faculty level.

Allan Aksiim, 2019

The Board is comprised of the Student Body Chairperson and up to two Vice-Chairpersons. The Chairperson leads the organisation, is responsible for the budget and conducts the Student Parliament meetings. For the academic year 2020/2021, the Board has two Vice-Chairpersons, where one also works on matters directed towards educational policy and the other on development. The Vice-Chairperson of Educational Policy is responsible for representing the students’ opinions on topics related to the organisation and quality of studies and participates in the respective university committees. The Vice-Chairperson of Development and Foreign Relations communicates with universities and university networks across Europe, bringing and creating solutions bi-directionally. 

The students are also represented in the university’s Senate, the university’s highest academic decision-making body, where they elect professors and decide on other important academic life issues.

In the 2020 fall semester, the university decided to change the School of Law’s block mode master’s studies into paid studies. The fight against it started among the students and representatives of the School of Law, who collected opposing signatures of the students. The process to find a solution moved on to the student body’s Board and the university’s Senate.

This is the structure in which the student representatives act for advocacy purposes. Sometimes, there are changes in the higher education system on a national level, in which case the University of Tartu student representatives are in an educational policy role as members of the Federation of Estonian Student Unions‘ general meeting.

In the spring of 2020, the amendment proposals to the Aliens Act brought the student representatives a lot of correspondence with the Ministry of the Interior and the media. Since there are many international students in the University of Tartu student body, the UT student representatives also stood forcefully for maintaining the international students’ study support, working opportunities and family migration, both independently and in collaboration with the Federation of Estonian Student Unions.

The Monitoring Committee, which is also comprised of student representatives, monitors the organisation’s activities and the fulfilment of the goals set in the Statutes.

Every student can turn to their institute’s student representative if they notice any shortcomings. The UTSU website has all the University of Tartu student representatives and their picture and contact information, which enables students to contact them in writing or why not by walking up to them if they meet them in the study building.

Additional read in Estonian

TÜÜE tegemistest puust ja punaseks

TÜÜE on Tartu Ülikooli üliõpilasesindus. Kõlab loogiliselt, et esindus esindab üliõpilasi, kuid sageli on TÜÜE tegemised jäänud tudengitele nähtamatuks. Teeme need nüüd puust ette ja punaseks.

Read more about UTSU

Workgroups: communication

workgroups: study quality

Workgroups: International Students’ Workgroup

Workgroups: development group

What do the representatives do – standing for rights, for real!

What do the representatives do – how to be visible?

What do the representatives do – a functional student council

Join UTSU!