University slang

Students in ARTS and the whole of Aalto University use a great deal of characteristic vernacular, most of which is not found in a dictionary and is often as colorful as Aalto student culture itself. Here we have collected some words that you might encounter while studying here.


Aaltopahvi = Art supplies shop in the Learning Centre

A Bloc = A shopping centre next to the Aalto University metro station as well as Väre; also a Fazer student restaurant in the same building

A Grid = Startup community that connects all six schools of Aalto. Located in Otakaari 5.

Arabia = The former site of the campus of the school of ARTS in the former Arabia ceramics factory in the Arabia housing district of Helsinki until summer 2018; now home to the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. The name has spawned some Arabian-inspired visual motifs among ARTS students, such as a camel caravan used to represent the school’s move to Otaniemi.

ARTS = Abbreviation for the Aalto School of Arts, Design and Architecture (Six schools of Aalto: ARTS, BIZ, ENG, ELEC, SCI, CHEM)

Alvarin aukio = Alvari Square, park in Otaniemi, between the Undergraduate Centre and the Learning Centre

Amfi = The amphitheatre of the Undergraduate Centre; a common hangout among students

Arkkari = A student of architecture

AK = Arkkitehtikilta, the Guild of Architecture

Ainon aukio = Aino’s Square, a square between the Väre building and the Undergraduate Center

Appro = A general name for student bar crawl events

AYY = Aalto-yliopiston ylioppilaskunta, Aalto University Student Union

BIZ = Aalto University School of Business

Dekaani / Dean / Deksu = Head of a school of Aalto University

Design Factory / Defa / DF / ADF = Place in the Otaniemi campus that runs multidisciplinary courses and acts as an event venue

Dipoli = The headquarters building of Aalto University; often used synonymously with the student restaurant Reima, which is located there

ELO = Department of Film in ARTS

Eksku / XQ = An excursion, typically conducted by a student association into a company or multiple companies.

Fuksi = Freshman, first-year student, sometimes known as “Phuksi” in the technical fields, or “Mursu” exclusively in the School of Business

Haalari(t) = Overalls, a form of attire used by most university student associations in Aalto and in Finland in general during student events. Students often collect patches from various events, associations and companies and sew them into their overalls. In ARTS, the students of the Guild of Architecture are the only ones to use overalls, while NuDe and Kooma use their own specific types of jackets instead; see Takki.

Halloped = Hallinnon OPiskelijaEDustaja, student representative in the Aalto administration

HOAS = Helsingin seudun opiskelija-asuntosäätiö, student apartment foundation in Helsinki

HOPS = Henkilökohtainen OPintoSuunnitelma, personal study plan

JMT = Jämeräntaival, a street in Otaniemi housing many student apartments

Jodel = An anonymous messaging app popular among students

Jäynä = A prank or practical joke carried out by students, with which Aalto has a strong tradition

Kandikeskus = Undergraduate Centre, building designed by architect Alvar Aalto housing most of Aalto University’s bachelor-level teaching. Also known by its address, Otakaari 1/OK1, and recognizable by the amphitheater landmark. Many ARTS associations are based in the K-wing of the building, while TOKYO Space and office are located in the Y-wing.

Keto = Short for Keskustoimisto, AYY’s central office in Otaniemi

Kilta = Guild, name for technical students’ subject associations

Kiltis = Kiltahuone; Guild room; a space dedicated for the use of a guild or student association

Kipsari = Vegetarian restaurant owned by TOKYO ry, with sites in Väre and Otakaari 7

Kippari / Kapteeni / Fuksikapteeni = Freshmen captain, a person appointed by a student association to take care of their department’s freshmen; most commonly also acts as a responsible tutor for the relevant department.

Kokardi = Cockade, the golden pin in a student cap which varies by school and study field; for ARTS students, this is the TOKYO spiral

Koomuli = Student of art education / member of the student association KOOMA

Kritiikki = Critique, evaluation event at the end of a course

KY = Kauppatieteen Ylioppilaat, Aalto University Business Students’ association

Kylteri = Aalto University Business School student

Kylä = Teekkarikylä, the Tech student village, an area of Otaniemi housing many student apartments

LES = Aalto University Learning Services, an official organization within the school

Lukkari = Song leader, a host at sitsit

Läsy = Leaflet of song lyrics, used in sitsit

Maisu = Maisema-arkkitehti, student of landscape architecture

Maskerad = TOKYO’s annual masquerade party with a changing theme

Mouho = General complaining in the student community, e.g. how things used to be better

Mursu = First-year student of the Aalto University School of Business

MyCourses = An Aalto website used for course resources and materials

Nakki = (Finnish for “Wiener sausage”); a chore or task

Noppa = study credit, ETC

OK20 = Otakaari 20, an event venue in Otaniemi

Ossinlampi = A small pond in the middle of Otaniemi

Otaneum = NuDe’s association space in the K-wing of the Undergraduate Center (after Ateneum, the historic building of the school of ARTS)

Paperi = Magazine run by the Guild of Architecture

Plassaus = Order of seating in sitsit

Provosti = Provost.  A person who leads teaching, research, innovation and influence work. The provost is the superior of vice presidents in University, and second in charge of the whole university, right after the President of Aalto.

Rantsu = Rantasauna (“Shore sauna”), a bookable AYY sauna in Otaniemi

Rehtori / Reksi = Principal; President of Aalto University

RWBK = Retuperän WBK, traditional fire brigade-themed band of Aalto University technical students

Saha = Event venue in Otaniemi owned by KY

Setä / Täti = (“Uncle”/”Aunt”) A student who has already spent several years in the school. Also known as vanhempi tieteenharjoittaja (“senior academic“).

Sheryl = The embodiment of the TOKYO spirit

Sillis = Herring brunch, morning after party of a sitsit

Sissari = Student of Interior Architecture; short of the Finnish sisustusarkkitehti

Sitsit = Academic table party with singing and dinner

SMT = Servin Maijan tie, a street in Otaniemi housing many student apartments

Smökki = An event space owned by AYY in Otaniemi

Spagu = Spaghetti, particularly referring to the Teknologföreningen restaurant’s traditional spaghetti served every Wednesday

Speksi = Interactive musical theatre with which students have a strong tradition (e.g. Teekkarispeksi)

Taikkeri = A student of Aalto ARTS (from the original name TaiK), c.f. teekkari

TaiK / Taikki = Taideteollinen korkeakoulu, University of Arts and Design Helsinki, the former name of the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Takki = Jacket; an association uniform used by some ARTS associations as an alternative to student overalls. NuDe ry has their “Vapputakki” (Vappu jacket), and Kooma has their own jacket. They have different designs to identify the associations: the NuDe vappu jacket has a pattern that changes every year, while Kooma has plain white and gray jackets that each member personally decorates.

Teekkari = A student of technology; within ARTS, students of architecture are the only field to be part of this category, which comes with many distinct practices and traditions.

Teekkarikylä = Technical student village, the main student housing area in Otaniemi

Teekkarilakki = Teekkari cap, the specific student cap used by students of technical fields in Finland; basically a student cap with a tassle on top. In ARTS, these are only worn by students of architecture.

Telegram / TG = A messaging app popular in the Aalto community. Aalto ARTS has its own channel,

Toksu = A member of TOKYO ry; an Aalto ARTS student

Torso = TOKYO ry’s magazine

Tutor = Student who helps new students to get familiar with Aalto University. Also known as ISOhenkilö (“BIG person”) or ISO among the technical students.

TF = Teknologföreningen, Swedish-speaking students’ union at Aalto University

TJ = Teekkarijaosto, Technical students’ section of AYY

Täffä = Restaurant owned by TF; also used to refer to Teknologföreningen in general, as well as TF’s distinctive concrete building, Urdsgjallar.

Vappu / Wappu = 1st May celebration in Finland, traditionally the biggest yearly celebration among students and working-class people.

Vappulehti = A Vappu magazine made and sold by students (Aalto has two: Julkku and Äpy, which are published on Vappu biannually)

Vujut = Vuosijuhlat, a student association’s annual ball

Väre = Main building of Aalto ARTS, housing mostly the Masters and 3rd year Bachelor students

WebOodi = Official Aalto website to enrol and track courses

Ylioppilaslakki = Student cap; the white ceremonial hat used by Finnish high school graduates and university students

YTHS / FSHS = Finnish Student Health Service