Parisa interviews Delta in the Colours of UniTurku podcast

Podcast: Colours of UniTurku | Warm Purple: Delta

Colours of UniTurku introduces Delta, the student association of mathematics and physical science of the University of Turku. #utuambassador Parisa Piran and a board member of Delta, Aleksi Varho, talk about Delta’s activities and gatherings. Aleksi shares his motives for joining Delta and his best experiences!

Colours of UniTurku is a podcast by international student ambassadors of the University of Turku, introducing the unique student life and colourful student organisations in Turku, Finland.

You can also listen the episode on Spotify.


Text alternative for the podcast episode:

Parisa: So hello everyone, from the snowy Finland and welcome to Colours of UniTurku, a podcast about student organisations at the University of Turku. For those who are not familiar, student organisations are kind of like a hobby group where students gather around things they like or things they study. My name is Parisa, also a student, and today's theme is purple. I'll be talking to Aleksi from Delta. Thank you for joining us, Aleksi. Could you introduce yourself and your organisation?

Aleksi: Yes, thank you. I am a student of physics. I started in 2014 in the city of Juensuu, another university entirely, graduated as a bachelor in 2017, 2018 or so. Then I transferred here to Turku because I wanted to pursue medical physics. 

Parisa: Oh!

Aleksi: So now I’m doing my master's degree, This is hopefully my last year here.

Parisa: Ok, and could you tell us about your organisation, Delta?

Aleksi: Delta is a student association for students who major in mathematical and physical sciences here in the university of Turku, primarily. Of course we are open to anyone who studies mathematics or physics or statistics, majoring or minoring.

Parisa: Ok, and what day has this organisation, Delta, been founded?

Aleksi: We were founded in 1976.

Parisa: Oh! So it’s pretty old actually.

Aleksi: We are far from the oldest organisation like the association of chemists was founded somewhere on the 30s. But we are not the first student organisation for mathematics or physics here.

Parisa: Ok, I see. How many students does your organisation have? How many of them are internationals?

Aleksi: It’s difficult to estimate. We have somewhere around 500 active members, as for the international students it’s pretty much impossible to say, we don’t keep track of who’s doing international degree or who’s come to Finland from somewhere else. And if I have to estimate, it maybe a few dozen or so. Last year there were a few international students who actively received our membership.

Parisa:Oh, that’s great. Great! And about the name of your organisation, Delta is a very interesting name. Where does it come from,Delta?

Aleksi:  Delta is a greek letter which is often used in mathematics or physics for change of some parameters or value a function or so, and lots of student organisations which advocate from the students of mathematics or physics, many of them have greek letters. We have sigma. There is epsilon. It is something that represents both subjects so to say.

Parisa: So you’ve already explained a bit about the purpose of your organisation, but what kind of organisation is this? And what gathered you around in Delta?

Aleksi: They are called student organisations or student associations so their main purpose is to advocate for students majoring in a particular subject. Like we directly communicate with the departments in the faculty. We tell them how students are doing, and we organise various events, parties, free-time events, and may organise excursion to other cities where similar events for students of mathematics and physics are held. We may organise meetings with corporations. 

Parisa: Oh, so you collaborate with organisation from other universities and other cities, right?

 Aleksi: To a degree yes.

Parisa: Ok, that’s very interesting. So tell me about yourself, why did you personally join Delta?

Aleksi: It is expected for a Finnish student to join the prganisation that is advocating for that particular subject. It’s easier to find information about events, studies, or courses that interests a student of physics. Delta is keeping this mailing list where they regularly send emails about such events.

Parisa: Ok, so you inform other students about what is going on in your major and what kind of events you have.

Aleksi: yeah, or redirect messages from the faculty or departments.

Parisa: Actually interesting. So it’s a very good way to get informed while you are studying.

Aleksi: It’s a very good way to get informed. It’s a good way to meet friends

Parisa: Sure.

Aleksi: It’s a good way to have your mates met, like someone on your side.

Parisa: Yeah! Sure. And since you are a bored member of Delta, Ture?

Aleksi: Actually not anymore, I was last year but today I am just like what you can call volunteer. In Finnish it’s called “toimihenkilöt”. There isn’t a good English translation for that. I have tried to check.

Parisa: Ok

Aleksi: It’s a volunteer, we aid the board at certain activities, like we are helping hands.

Parisa: So that answers my next question, what is your roll in Delta right now?

Aleksi: Currently I’m in charge of the international faires, so far we have some, and I’m also volunteering at cultural fairs. Mostly I keep our book club every month or so.

Parisa: Oh, you have a book club?

Aleksi: Yeah

Parisa: What is the best thing about being a member of your organisation?

Aleksi: Meeting friends. There are people who are interested in mathematics and physics and other natural sciences and science in general, it’s pretty easy to similar-minded people. You know…We are very diverse…diverse group.

Parisa: And I saw your office, in your faculty, and it was very interesting. I saw a lot of people studying, Ture?

Aleksi:  Some people study there…social place. But it’s a very small place. Most of us hang around in other rooms of the first floor of the quantum…There is a…what you call a…in Finnish it is called “matikkapaja”. In English it’s something like mathematic workshop or just a mathematics room.

Parisa: Ok

Aleksi: And there is a group work room, which is regularly abbreviated as “RTT” for “ryhmätyö tilaa” in Finnish, and that’s where I hang out.

Parisa: Great, so the organisation provides you a space where you gather, and like chat, communicate?

Aleksi: Well there are not the organisation’s space. They are technically university’s. It’s like where…where we regularly hang out…where you can find us.

Parisa: That’s great…that’s great. Now to the fun part, what events do you host during a year?

Aleksi:  We host very diverse events. Like I mentioned we hold parties throughout the year sometimes it’s bar events, sometimes it’s club events, sometimes it’s sitz, in Finnish it’s called “Sitsit” . It’s a party where we gather around a table, where we eat,where we sing a lot of songs, and we have fun. It’s somewhat more formal than a regular party but not like very stuffy or strict. You know…we usually have a theme for that party where you may dress up according to that.

Parisa: Yeah, I’ve actually been into one the sitz, it was super fun, like one of the best events I’ve ever been into. So I strongly suggest it to all of our audiences. If you are here, do try going to sitz, they are the best.

Aleksi: And besides the parties, I mentioned excursions. Sometimes we visit other cities. Sometimes we visit like business enterprises to how we could employ ourselves in the future after we graduate or we do our studies.

Parisa: Yeah, that’s actually a very important issue. So you have trips around Finland, I suppose?

Aleksi:  Around Finland,yes.

Parisa: Oh that’s great, great. So which event among those that you have already mentioned is the most popular event among students? Which one do you suggest our audiences to attend?

Aleksi: I mean every one of them if you have time. But it’s difficult to name one event that is particularly popular. One that is consistently popular is what we hold sometime before christmas. It’s called “pikkujoulut sitsit”. Well it’s very difficult to come up with a translation for “pikkujoulut” like pre-christmas party. It’s a very Finnish thing. Like we have Christmas theme party, sometimes before the christmas. It’s non-religous. It’s very non-formal. It’s just we have fun with like elf caps on our head and these kind of stuff.

Parisa: Oh that’s very fun. I might to join it. I like to join. Especially in these days that we are close to the christmas.

Aleksi: So we hold a sitz with that theme we call it “pikkujoul” sitz. It’s a pon.  

Parisa: Oh it’s a Christmas sitz? The theme is Christmasy?

Aleksi: Yeah.

Parisa: Oh that’s great. That’s great.

Aleksi: And it’s a consistently popular event with a lot of participants expected everytime. 

Parisa: And to our next question, can you share a funny memory from your organisation?

Aleksi: It’s difficult to name one funny event or funny memory.

Parisa: Yeah I’m quite sure you have a lot of them.

Aleksi: I try to regularly attend events hold by our organisation, parties, or boarding events or whatever. Sometimes I miss excursions but now those too, and during 19 to 21 when the covid pandemic was still going on, there is of course a lot less fun memories there, but we tried to have fun where we could. And one thing I did come up with, there are these events sometime in the autumn, what we call “kaljaviesti”. It’s say a race of swords, where students make up teams of 4 to 10 or so. Dress up according to some theme and then go around bars in Turku where they have some tasks for them.

Parisa: Yeah, I think I saw it this year, it was actually very interesting. Every team has their own costume or so on. Right?

Aleksi: Yeah, that’s right. Some of my friends last year, they attended that twice.

Parisa: Twice?

Aleksi: Twice, yeah! First they wanted to speed run it. Go through as fast as they could. What I heard they managed to do it in a record time.

Parisa: Oh really?

Aleksi: very fast. And then they attended it again. Of course, now that they knew the tasks they placed pretty well there. But I think this year it was said that you could only attend it once.

Parisa: ok, they had to add this new rule this time.

Aleksi: Yeah.

Parisa: Great. And what is the coolest thing you’ve done as a member of your organisation? Cause I know that as a member you have a lot of chores to do and you have a lot of things to manage. But what is the coolest thing that you’ve enjoyed the most?

Aleksi: Well the book clubs are fun to organise. Come up with some theme or book that I wanna read. Even though it’s not one of our most popular events. The most what I’ve seen in our book clubs was like..I don’t know...9,10 or so. But it’s fun, we come up with fun discussions about the subject.

Parisa: Do you have any English books, or are they in Finnish?

Aleksi: Many of them are in English, some of them are in Finnish. 

Parisa: Oh so I would definitely join. I can join. YES! Ok, do you have any messages for our viewers?

Aleksi: Well if you are interested in natural sciences particularly mathematics and physics, then you are welcome to meet us. Come chat with us, and if you are interested in our events you are welcome to attend them if we have a room for more participants of course. And if you are interested in anything…anything…like any of our interests in about of big extent, you are free to join us of course.

Parisa: That’s great. Thank you Aleksi. Thank you for joining us today. And if people want to know more about Delta, where can they find you?

Aleksi: The office of Delta is on the first floor quantum, just to the right of the main doors. Like I said if you just want to hang around with the members, we are spread around the quantum’s first floor or other floors. But mainly on the first floor because there we have big rooms where we can work in groups. Do our exercises, chat and have fun.

Parisa: Yeah, but do you have an Instagram account where our viewers can see your activities and so on.

Aleksi: Oh, social media?

Parisa: Yeah.

Aleksi: Yeah, we have Instagram. It is regularly updated.

Parisa:  What is the account’s name?

Aleksi: It’s probably Deltary

Parisa: Ok, Yeah. And all the links will be in the podcast description along with links to the University of Turku, the students blog and the UTU Instagram account. So please follow and subscribe to us as well, and thank you everyone for listening, and see you next time.