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Embrace Your Sisu: A new kind of competition designed for 2020

November 16, 2020

Finlandia University is excited to announce a new kind of scholarship competition designed to help students and the community find a moment of calm among the chaos of 2020. The Embrace Your Sisu Competition embraces the idea of art therapy to channel one of the three key tenets of sisu: calm. 

The competition, open to any age, consists of a lion poster that participants can download or request a hard copy of and color it in using any medium they prefer. Once finished, participants can submit the poster and be entered into the competition to win the $1000 Critic’s Choice Scholarship or the $1000 People’s Choice Scholarship. Those not eligible to win a scholarship, or those who are not selected as one of the two winners, will be entered into a raffle to win other prizes such as Finlandia swag and gift cards to local businesses. 

The Critic’s Choice Scholarship will be chosen by FinnU International School of Art & Design faculty and staff while the People’s Choice Scholarship will be selected by those who vote for their favorite submission at finlandia.edu/embrace. Voting opened on November 13 and closes on February 1, 2021. Submissions will continue to be added to the People’s Choice voting area as they come in. In order to qualify for the scholarships, submissions must be received by January 4, 2021. For full rules and eligibility on the scholarships, or to vote for your favorite piece, visit finlandia.edu/embrace

“We want everyone to participate,” said enrollment officer Gini Gesler. “Whether you’re interested in attending Finlandia or just a community member. The idea is about coming together as a community and relaxing and getting through this pandemic.”

Embrace Your Sisu is a result of the brainstorming activity between Gesler and International School of Art & Design Dean Denise Vandeville. The pair came up with the original concept as an activity for students during orientation. 

“Everyone had to be quarantined for a few days while awaiting baseline testing results, and we did a coloring exercise as a way for everyone to relax,” said Gesler. “We took that idea and made it into ‘Embrace Your Sisu’ so everyone in the community could join.” 

The poster is meant to help participants embrace their sisu by providing an opportunity to focus on one of the three main elements of sisu: calm. 

“The essence of sisu is that it is a combination of tenacity, integrity and calm in the face of difficult things,” said professor of Finnish Studies Dr. Hilary-Joy Virtanen. “Calm is an important aspect of sisu. Panicking is a common response to challenges and often, it results in unnecessary setbacks. Keeping calm allows people to handle the situation much better. It allows us to be as clear-minded as possible as we deal with what is in front of us and it allows us to accept when an outcome is less than ideal and to pick up the pieces and move on.” 

To learn more about the Embrace Your Sisu competition, request a poster, or vote for your favorite submission, please visit finlandia.edu/embrace

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