Excluded from the Nations

Excluded from the Nations

- in Column
Rowena Guthrie. Foto: Tindra Englund

For many students new to Lund the Nations provide an exciting backdrop to get involved in the student experience. But columnist Rowena Guthrie is frustrated that it excludes her visiting friends and family. 

 New students may have come across needing their Student Lund ID to enter nation clubs but what is not so obvious is that this card is necessary to take part in any of the Nation activities, even lunch and brunch.

The Nations are certainly a place to enrich and support the students of Lund University and, as the President of Kuratorskollegiet Ludvig Bodelsson put it over the phone, “the main objective of the Nations is to have activities and services for students.” But at what point does this create an us and them situation?

Guests who are completing a higher education outside of Lund University are able to get a temporary membership in a nation in the form of a ‘guest card’ which makes them eligible to take part in Nation activities but this is not a simple process. This hurdle acts as another step of exclusion rather than aiming to have a system that is simple and straight forward, potentially encouraging visitors into the Nations while they are in Lund.

For Kuratorskollegiet, it is easier to control when there is a standardised system applied to all Nations and according to Bodelsson, there are strict laws dictating that “the Nations can only serve their members”. Therefore, this extra step of the guest card is necessary to abide by that rule.

Of course, municipal regulations must be followed but Bodelsson clearly states that Kuratorskollegiet is not only “a co-operative organization between the Nations,” but that he and the Vice-President act as “the Nation’s representatives when talking to the municipality”. When fulfilling this role of representation, are the students happy that this municipality policy is being accepted and maintained?

The need for students to have their own space within their place of study is an expected aspect of university life, however making a large part of Lund University life inaccessible for visitors who are not students seems very extreme. Considering the students, especially the large number of international students, who may have family or friends visiting, it is a shame that they are excluded from a great part of the Lund University experience.


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  1. It’s not just municipal law, it’s the law that regulates the core of the nations.

    Nations are a special kind of economic entity that have a very defined purpose. It is because of this special status that we are exempt from paying taxes. To be a nation you need to provide services to students and students only. Otherwise we would be competing with the “real” businesses in Lund and they would rightly get angry since we have an unfair advantage in being tax-exempt.

    More to the point, you do realise what would happen if the nations were open to everyone? They would become just the same as any other nightclub/café etc. that there are already plenty of in Lund.

  2. Rowena,
    In case you couldn’t figure it out by reading the references in your own article, the nations (just like all the other organizations in Studentlund) are STUDENT organizations based on voluntary work by students for other students, ie. the nations’ active members are sacrificing their free time so that you and your student friends can have a brunch for 50 SEK. There are plenty of actual restaurants and pubs you can go to with your parents or if you want to avoid what you call an “us and them situation”. Nations, however, are non-profit organizations that have to rely on volunteers and membership fees. I’m sure they don’t enjoy turning potential customers down, but they obviously have to play by the municipality’s rules and nation-wide alcohol laws if they don’t want to lose their permits. Maybe try working at one of them if you want to get a better understanding of the bigger picture.

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