29. Go “Klubben”

A few weeks before I left I was emailed a program of ‘Introductory Week’ – the mandatory Orientation Week program at Aarhus School of Business. I received the email at work (it was, er, definitely during my lunchbreak and definitely not on the work server) and like most things I found hilarious, shared it with the other two interns. We worked with contracts, you see, so everything seems funny in comparison.

The bit that we giggled at was the event called ‘Klubben’ as we thought that was the organisers being cute and translating ‘Clubbing.’ It turns out that Klubben is the name of the student bar at the School of Business (owned and run by the Business Students’ Association, Studenterlauget), which hosts riotous parties every Thursday night. Reminiscent of Pint night at Re:Fuel at Otago University, everyone is there on a Thursday and the place really goes off. It is much more like a nightclub though, with DJs rather than miscellaneous bands. It has a very cool setup inside too – the DJ plays out of an old school bus!

Apparently the University is clamping down on the Thursday night parties and this is the last semester they will be allowed. The main reason for it is the recent (and reading between the lines, very political) merger which has seen the Aarhus School of Business become part of Aarhus University. It has also resulted in some restructuring of the faculties and leads to just a little bit of student-association-confusion. I am a member of both the main University students’ association and the School of Business students’ association. Both of them own gyms, bars and provide various other services around campus. Unsurprisingly, the School of Business has the most profitable and commercial association, with a huge annual turnover, loads more corporate sponsors and a much more commercial structure (i.e. a board, rather than a council/executive although the board is still elected). The members of the board that I have come across were masters students, and love to suit up. Neither the Studenterhus (main campus students’ association) or Studenterlauget (School of Business students’ association) are particularly political, as the political arm is completely separate again. The Student Council is the political arm, which lobbies the University and local council on housing conditions (all too familiar coming from Dunedin) and suchlike. The Studenterhus is actually just run by 5 full time employees and 200+ volunteers as a not-for-profit service based organisation, rather than any kind of elected group. The sport groups are also separate bodies. Very confusing. To be quite honest I don’t even know who I am technically playing volleyball for as I think the sports groups are mid-merge.

The Thursday night party night issue is supposedly due to the fact that every other faculty holds what is called a ‘Friday Bar’ on, you guessed it, a Friday. Friday bars are a bit of an institution, and each department holds one that anyone can attend, each with its own theme/drink specials/defining characteristics. Some have live music of various genres, others are known for their cocktails and others are popular for their gender imbalances. I.e. apparently there is a high chance you won’t pay for a drink if you are a female at the Maths department Friday bar. Klubben (meaning club) is the only faculty that only allows members (unless you pay a cover charge, and are with a member) hence being quite contentious.

As far as Universities meddling in the drinking culture, it appears the Danes are a great deal less PC when it comes to drinking than New Zealand, with the issue seemingly centring on competing with other faculties and excluding other students, rather than midweek drinking!

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