Welcome to Campus

Tractors rush by on the main road, the fields are green with life, the air is earthy and clattered with the Finnish language that is still a secret code to us. The exchange students have arrived at our new home for the next three months.

This week began with a two-day orientation for the entry level students for the college of Agriculture and Forestry at SeAMK in Ilmajoki. Our classmates are about 20-22; other grades of students do not begin until October to allow for a longer summer work experience.

The Dean, Antti Pasila, shared with us a diagram he finds very important.

This chart shows a correlation between the number of students age 18 and the number of those retiring. The peak of the retirement number I caused by the 1947 baby boom after the second world war, Finland needed to grow in number to be able to defend itself in the future. This is similar to the time period of the USA baby boom. This graph shows the decreasing work force. How can Finland accomplish the same amount of work with a smaller workforce?

Antti recommends three things:

1. Management

2. Technology

3. Leadership

These three things can help manage the work force available, to better utilize and create more technology. Leadership is key to motivating and maintaining efficiency, cooperation and meeting goals. I think this is a theory we can use in the USA to solve our problem with not having enough jobs for our workforce. I am of course not an economic specialist so I leave that theory as food for thought, or wood for thought really. I think the timber and wood products industry can create jobs for the USA.

After Antti’s lecture we toured the school with our “Tutors”, very similar to what we call Week of Welcome, (WOW) Leaders at Cal Poly. This tour was helpful in meeting new friends and learning about what to expect as students at the University. Our very helpful Tutors were very kind translators while we toured the pig barn and experimental fields. This was a good welcome to campus.

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