Tartu Tudengipäevad

Autumn festival helps students settle in

This week, the city will be bustling with the Tartu Student Days Autumn Festival, which has become a much-loved event over the past 35 years. This year's festival will bring more opportunities to meet the Student Days' mascot, the yellow dog Villem, who is celebrating his 20th birthday.

The dog was drawn by Kristjan Rattus, a member of the university's culture club,in 2002. The yellow mascot was first seen among students at the Spring Festival in 2003, but the adventurous doggy was only given a name for his first birthday as a result of a competition. He could almost have been called Pitsu, Mupsik, Tupsu or Põnta. Even though Villem is old in dog years, he is still playful and happy. As a friendly dog, he is always ready to join in and relieve everyone's stress.  

The Autumn Festival was opened at 7.00 on 26 September, when members of the Culture Club toured the residence halls to wake up the students with music and workout and announce the start of the week-long festival. 

Anna Kuus, Press and Communications Manager of the Student Days, said that over the past few years, the festival has become more environmentally conscious and nature-friendly thanks to cooperation with Tartu Nature House. “We pay a lot of attention to what we use: you will not find disposable items at our events. Also, every purchase we make for the festival has to be justified to keep consumption as low as possible," said Kuus.

The festival programme includes lots of new and exciting activities, as well as traditional events to help you get to know your course mates and fellow students better. At the pub crawl, participants will have to complete a course of Tartu's best-known bars and pubs, where their speed and dexterity will be put to the test. To become a fully-fledged student of Tartu, first-year students must complete an obstacle course preparing them for their studies and take an oath. 

In the second half of the week, students can take part in a 10-hour dance marathon, climb the beer crate tower on Town Hall Square, do beer yoga on Pirogov Square and ride a bike through some of the most beautiful parts of Tartu. On the last day of the festival, the city's student organisations will compete in the Olympics, a great opportunity for spectators to find an organisation that suits them. 

For the full programme of the festival, see

Adapted and translated from the article initially published in the university's magazine Universitas Tartuensis.