When I started my studies I became inspired by students association activities. After three years I have learned the characteristics of student consumer behaviour through my own actions and by observing my fellow students especially in the field of student-run services run by student associations.
Students are a peculiar group when we observe them from a consumer behavioural perspective. There are several traits which unify consuming behaviour but also several traits which diverge greatly. Students are generally a group of young people who share a same status in the society and have to live with low income. Low income affects everyday decisions which cause low price to be an important criterion for purchases. There is always a small group of students who put ethical issues as a priority instead of price but usually this doesn’t concern student associations.
In Finland the student life in higher education involves a vast amount of different student activities, items and services organized and sold by various associations. The associations are a core element of student culture. They organize and sell things such as tickets for parties, student coveralls, coverall badges etc. These associations are mainly run by fellow students who are voluntarily involved in the association. The associations usually don’t have employees.
Studying and personal life are usually priorities for the volunteers which limit the effort put into association activities. It is a typical problem that other students often forget that those who volunteer in associations are students too and therefore can’t be available regularly. It’s common to expect that associations have regular opening hours at their offices but dissatisfaction emerges when it is realized that they don’t.
“It is a typical problem that other students often forget that those who volunteer in associations are students too…”
Student associations are non-profit organizations which mean that every euro that is earned should also be spent. This and the fact it is a student association eventually mean that prices as are low as possible therefore; it’s student friendly. Occasionally some grumbling about high ticket prices for events occurs with arguments that others sell cheaper tickets for events. This is often explained by the size of the association because bigger associations have bigger expenses.
So next time when you visit your student association’s office remember that what they do should not be taken for granted.