Language Centres foster team spirit

People from the Language Centres first enjoyed breakfast and then headed to learn about the cultural history of Tampere.

People from the Language Centres first enjoyed breakfast and then headed to learn about the cultural history of Tampere.

People from the Language Centres of Tampere University of Technology and the University of Tampere got together on Tuesday 22 May for a joint spring outing. The theme of the field trip was the secret heart of Tampere.

The staff of the Language Centres are currently preparing for the merger of the universities in January 2019.

Even though TUT's and UTA's Language Centres have had much co-operation over the years, the spring outing was the first one for which they embarked together. In the morning, a group of about sixty people met at Tallipiha, from where the journey continued in smaller groups across the city. The event was organised by the spring outing team consisting of employees from both Language Centres, led by Hanna-Marika Mitrunen from UTA.

“We want to use this opportunity to create team spirit for Tampere3. The spring outing is a tradition at both UTA and TUT and it is great that we can now do it together,” Mitrunen says.

Small groups learned about the history of Tampere

The theme of the outing was the secret heart of Tampere. After breakfast and a short introduction to the history of Tallipiha, people gathered in small groups to visit historic sites.

The author joined a group consisting of Anna Kuitunen, Riitta Marikainen and Valeria Seraya-Rautaneva from the University of Tampere and Maija-Leena Perttunen from TUT.

The first site was the Wilhelm von Nottbeck park, which features the imposing Kotkankallio monument erected in the 1830s to commemorate the first visit of the Russian Tsar Alexander I to Tampere in 1819. The park and the Finlayson Palace showed their best side as they bathed in the spring sunshine. Kuitunen drew the group’s attention to a few “Schwedleri“ maple trees, whose crimson leaves provided a lovely contrast to green.

The summer hymn rang out in church

The next stop was the Finlayson Church on the opposite side of the street. The church, which is known for child-friendliness, is differently built than Finnish churches usually are. The group paid special attention to the church floor, which was laid in Omberg limestone in 2009 featuring fossiles preserved in the stone. Riitta Marikainen found something she identified as a trilobite among the fossils and the others agreed that it really was a trilobite.

Suddenly a melody full of spring feeling rang out in the church. Among others, Anna Kuitunen and Antti Hildén, Director of UTA’s Language Centre, raised their voices to join the summer hymn.

After the church, the participants walked to the Näsinpuisto park. Before going up the hill, the group paused for a moment to learn about a small piece of Tampere’s history. A simple stone slab in Mältinranta depicts Roth’s and Spoof’s partisan expedition during the Finnish War of 1808–1809.

Historical knowledge in the group

All participants praised the beauty of the Näsinpuisto park. On the way up the hill, some group members were able to demonstrate their historical knowledge of the area and the von Nottbeck family.

At the memorial of the SS Kuru disaster, the group paused to think about the fateful night in 1929 when 138 people drowned as the boat sank. The statue drew an impressive outline against the clouds in the sky.

From the Näsinpuisto park, the excursion continued towards the city centre via the chocolate shop in Tallipiha. All the groups eventually gathered at the Hotel Tammer for lunch, during which all participants talked about the most memorable things they had experienced.

“I think that we achieved the goal of our spring outing of getting to know each other and fostering team spirit. Throughout the day, the atmosphere was cheerful and I think delightfully inspired. We are at a great place to continue towards the joint Language Centre of the new university at the start of 2019,” Mitrunen concluded.

Hanna-Marika Mitrunen was one of the organisers of the spring outing, which happened in lovely weather.

Text: Jaakko Kinnunen
Photos: Jonne Renvall