«It is not exactly Norwegian to go knocking on doors to make new friends,» said Christoffer Surdal. He was responding to the fact that the student pub at Kringsjå has yet to be reopened.
Surdal is the leader of the Welfare and Student Village political party at University of Oslo, and also lives at Kringsjå. According to him, the pub was essential in creating a good social environment at the student village.
«I have four friends here at Kringsjå, and I met all of them through this pub. Now they [SiO] are building single unit housings instead, meaning there will be no social gathering spots left at all,» said Surdal.
Surdal describes the pub as highly popular amongst the students. He especially points to a pub quiz that was always full of students; listening to good music whilst enjoying each other’s company.
«Now the social comfort level is going to drop to such a low. Kringsjå is so far from the city,» he said.
Planned to be refurbished
The pub was initially closed due to the premises being refurbished and turned into housing units. Surdal told us that he and his friends became very active in trying to save the pub, and as such the Welfare and Student Village party was born. They took the case to the Welfare Council, which concluded that a student pub is mandatory at Kringsjå. The case was then brought forward to the main board at SiO.
Surdal was led to believe everything was going to be ok with the pub, but when nothing happened, he contacted SiO directly. They informed him that complaints had been made about the pub being too noisy, and also that it excluded some. This surprised Surdal, who strongly disagrees with these claims.
«That is a lie. The pub was open to everyone,» said Surdal.
«Too soon to say»
In an email to Universitas, Gabrielle Legrand Gjerdset, leader of SiO, said they are in the midst of expanding Kringsjå. They also plan to upgrade the outdoor facilities and the offerings at the student village.
«The common areas at Kringsjå are something the board wants to prioritize, and regard as important to the environment. But there are a lot of elements that needs to come together. It is too soon to say if there are going to be any pubs or other catering outlets,» she wrote.
She agrees however, that social meeting places are important, and that facilitation of these are included in SiO’s plans of refurbishment, both inside and outside of the student village.
«Until then, it is possible to make use of the facilities at Sogn’s Amatøren [pub],» Gjerdset suggested.