Students return to classes at Finlandia

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette Finlandia students kick off the 2018-19 school year with a march to the opening convocation.

HANCOCK — Monday marked the first day of classes for Finlandia students, who returned to student increases and improved security.

The university has seen a 10 percent increase in students from last fall, with 457 registered as of Monday, said Dean of Students Erin Barnett.

Degrees in nursing, physical therapy assistant, business and criminal justice proved to be the most popular programs.

Sixty percent of the incoming class are Division III student athletes and ten percent are transfer students.

Barnett feels the growth of the incoming class, combined with returning students, contributed to the student body increase.

“We are up in terms of retention so that helps build a foundation for a strong class,” she explained.

In the future, the university is hoping to expand their influence internationally, hiring a director of global initiatives to head the effort.

Among on-campus residency, Finlandia saw a 25 percent increase with new security measures in place on Finlandia Hall.

A near-field communication card-reading system was implemented rather than issuing students keys to access the residence hall.

The system will limit access to the building when it’s closed to the public, and allow for lockdowns in case of emergencies.

“This way we know who’s coming and we know when they’re coming in so it will help us identify if we have any issues in the hall at a certain time we can see who was traveling through,” said Director of Campus Safety and Security James Harden. “We have cameras, but it’s always nice to have that second layer of security as well as being able to lock down the building immediately in case an emergency were to arise.”

The system is key to protecting the approximately 160 Finlandia Hall residents, he said.

For the community, they will still be able to access the building during meal times.

In the future, Finlandia is looking to add a similar card system to the Paavo Nurmi Center and academic labs.