A big heart is made with the whole community – university awarded for promoting equality

Every year, our university presents the Big Heart award to a person or group who has promoted equality in the university community. This year, exceptionally, it was decided to give the award to two people. The 2023 Big Heart award went to the Dean of the Marketing and Communications Arto Rajala, and the Student Union’s Specialist in Students Interests Elli Uusi-Kokko.

The Big Heart award is given by the Equality work group according to the nominations presented by members of the university community. 

In the criteria for the award, Arto Rajala was described as a kind-hearted person who always thinks about the whole community. He is warmly present in all encounters and has a genuine ability to treat everyone equally – regardless of their title, age, gender, cultural background or age. He has set an excellent example for others how to build an equal and respective  work culture.

– Each of us has the opportunity to build a work community that we all can enjoy. Looking after each other is very important. We can disagree about matters, but together we can also resolve conflicts. This is the kind of working culture I have tried to build. I also believe that the true big heart in the end is the whole community, says Arto Rajala.

Elli Uusi-Kokko's election was based on her active role in the student community and in the Student Union. As a specialist in student interests, she works for the equality matters every day. In her work as the Student Union harassment contact person, she helps people who have encountered inequitable or inappropriate behaviour.  She makes sure that everyone’s voice is heard, and is not afraid to speak out if something is not right.

– Promoting equality is not just the job of one person, but of the whole community. I feel that when we create a more equal community, this also makes the work itself more meaningful. I have a lot of experience of how things have developed in this community and this clearly is a community where everyone wants to promote these things. That is something we can all be proud of, says Elli Uusi-Kokko.

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