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The 103rd anniversary of the Student Union!

Writer Gerli Napritson and photos by Meelis Kobin

📷 Meelis Kobin

Last week, on Friday, our school's student body celebrated a major event – the 103rd anniversary of the Student Union. The anniversary was attended by organizations, student council boards, student representatives, the school's management, guests from other universities, and their companions. This year, as well, our most outstanding students were recognized and awarded medals.



But what is the TalTech Student Union Medal?

The medals are the highest honors of the Student Union, created to acknowledge outstanding individuals who have contributed to the well-being of the Student Union and whose activities have had a significant positive impact. The medal is the Student Union's highest recognition for an individual. Medals are awarded in the following categories:


The Golden Medal "FIDELIS STUDIOSUS"

The highest honor of the TalTech Student Union, awarded to an outstanding individual who has set a strong example and has made exceptionally significant contributions to the TalTech Student Union. The award of the Golden Medal is decided unanimously by the commission's proposal to the representative assembly.

The Silver Medal "FIDELIS STUDIOSUS"

Awarded to an individual who has served as a role model for the TalTech Student Union through their actions or has made significant contributions to the TalTech Student Union in their field or organization.

The Bronze Medal or Mission Medal "FIDELIS STUDIOSUS"

Awarded to an individual who has made long-term contributions to the activities of the TalTech Student Union and has been a role model for others.


Throughout the years, medals have been awarded as follows:

The Grand Medal (gold) "Fidelis Studiosus" – awarded 16 times.

The Medal (silver) "Fidelis Studiosus" – awarded 76 times.

The Mission Medal (bronze) "Fidelis Studiosus" – awarded 88 times.


You can see the medals and their recipients when you go to the student building. There's a display where each medal recipient can add their name. Whether the contribution is big or small, it certainly doesn't go unnoticed. At this point, I'd like to highlight a few examples of this year's brightest recipients:


Taavi Tamm (2023, gold) - This young man has dedicated five years of his life to the Estonian Maritime Academy and TalTech, bringing tremendous value with his enthusiasm. He wasn't just a role model with his activism but also with his excellent academic achievements. It's worth noting that he graduated Cum Laude while juggling all his activities and responsibilities. During his student activism, he sailed on Admiral Bellingshausen's ship during the Arctic expedition and proudly represented TalTech on various occasions.

He was also selected as TalTech's Student of the Year in 2021 and led the Estonian Maritime Academy Student Council, which was named the Student Organization of the Year in 2022. Additionally, he served as the Chair of TalTech's Representative Assembly and was a member of the Student Union's Audit Committee. It's also worth mentioning that he represented the Academy and TalTech at numerous events and marketing campaigns, which had a real impact on admissions. Many prospective students mentioned Taavi as one of the reasons they chose the maritime navigation program or the Academy itself. He was one of the founders of the national university quiz "Unimemory," and his determination and positivity have been an inspiration to many students in TalTech and across Estonia. Last season, he was also the fan coordinator for TalTech Sports Club and contributed to the success of the Rector's Cup.

His work truly encapsulates the essence of being the second student in Estonian Maritime Academy's history to receive the Academy's highest recognition, the 44th medal, for outstanding contributions.


Tom Erik Luoma-aho (2023, silver) - He has already received the medal for his years of student activism, but it's time to elevate this recognition. He has contributed to the development of TalTech's student life as an employee for over 10 years! During this time, he has hosted countless events, and at one point, his involvement was so extensive that people recognized him by his voice, not just his appearance. He has become an integral part of how TalTech is perceived and described because he and TalTech share similar values. He has made significant contributions as a host and commentator for various TalTech events, improved the visibility of the Estonian Association of Student Unions (EASL), elevated the level of fan support for the Sports Club, and made watching games much more enjoyable. Overall, he has contributed to the promotion of student sports.

In 2022, he established a new student organization called "Juuliuse Jüngrid," aimed at connecting TalTech students, alumni, and staff. In the 2022-2023 academic year, he revitalized the Rektor's Cup competition so that it would continue even without his direct involvement.


Naatan Johannes Bender (2023, bronze) - This medal goes to a young man who joined the university in 2019 and immediately embarked on a journey of student activism. He first joined BEST-Estonia, where he assisted with projects and, in the fall, became a member of the Enginaator (engineering competition) team, responsible for logistics. From there, he went on to become the chairman of BEST, Estonia.

To observe what was happening at the university and contribute more broadly, he joined the Representative Assembly in the spring of 2021 and was also elected as the Julius of the Student Union. Furthermore, he was elected as the Senate representative for the Faculty of Engineering for the 2021/2022 academic year and a member of the Student Union's Funding Committee.

He increasingly took part in events, trying his hand as a host at both university events and within BEST. He had the opportunity to represent the university at events such as "Lahe koolipäev," "StartUp Day" in Tartu, and open house days. In the 2022/2023 academic year, he served as the representative of EUROTEQ to promote foreign university courses to our TalTech students. But that's not all... he also worked on projects in INSÜK, such as "Õudusteöö." In the film club, he was the facilitator of "Tulpide lahing" and a host on two occasions. Additionally, he learned how to edit videos in the film club. Of course, he didn't let his student activism hinder his academic success and maintained an above-average academic record.

In addition to these recipients, Mia Peterson received the silver medal, and Katriin Vinogradov, Erki Meinberg, Mari Leesmaa, Mihkel Külm, Henri Olavi Suomalainen, and Thea Nigol received bronze medals. Congratulations once again to all the medal recipients!

The next nomination for medals will be in August 2024. If you have someone in mind you'd like to nominate, remember their name and don't forget to put it forward in August.


Congratulations once again to all the medal recipients! Let's notice and recognize each other!

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