“When they build the new campus, it needs to be in the same style as the old one, because it’s so unique”

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Same procedure as last year...? No, because unlike Miss Sophie in Dinner for One, AU doesn’t turn 90 every year. Omnibus is celebrating the university’s 90th with a series of short interviews with employees about their relationship to the university.

2018.09.10 | Miriam Brems

Claus Pedersen’s favorite spot at AU is the Sun Courtyard next to the Main Hall, where you have a view of the entire University Park. But with a busy job, there’s seldom time to stand there enjoying the view. Photo: Ida Marie Jensen.

AU’s 90th

  • “In the hope that that the scientific and scholarly research which shall take place here may take place in spirit and truth, I hereby inaugurate Aarhus University.”
  • King Christian X inaugurated the first university in Jutland with these words, on 11 September 1933. The very university where you work – or study: Aarhus University.
  • Omnibus is celebrating AU’s 90th birthday with a series of short interviews: we asked AU employees to answer three questions about their relationship to the university. And about their birthday wishes for the guest of honor.
  • Together with university historian Palle Lykke, we’ve also delved into the archives to find photos from the first nine decades at AU. They’re accompanied by a short text by Palle that illuminates the high points (and low points) documented by the photographer’s lens over the years.
  • And we’ve asked the photographers from AU Photo to revisit the same spots to show you what they look like today. The anniversary series ‘AU’s 90th’ will run throughout the autumn.

 

Claus Pedersen, property service technician, Aarhus BSS Starting working at AU in 1986 as a caretaker at the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biology.

Why are you still here?

“It’s because I like being here, because no two days are the same. I’m allowed to decide what order I do my work tasks in, of course it’s freedom with responsibility, and even though it’s more bureaucratic than it used to be. I’ve never had so many bosses as I have now. But if someone calls and says ‘There’s a fire here’, I can say ‘I’m going to put that off a little.’ I decide what order I do my job in, and there’s no one saying ‘Now you have to do this that and the other.’ Maybe they’ve locked themselves in, the lights don’t work, the heat is off, or they need a table moved. What always moves to the top of the plan for the day is if a water pipe has burst – then you better get moving. Or if something actually is on fire, but luckily that only ever happened once, back in the 80s, when a lab caught on fire at the Department of Biology.”

What’s your favorite spot at AU?

“It’s up by the bullet hole in the Sun Courtyard (next to the Main Hall, ed.) You can look down over the park there. But I don’t stand there that often, because I have to do my job, of course, so I can’t just stand there enjoying the view. They’ve felled trees to make sight lines down through the park, so you can see all the way down to the Lakeside Lecture Theatres. There’s also a good view of the lake, which my father’s cousin who was a fireman helped fill up with water many years ago. The bullet hole in the railing is from the Second World War, and it looks pretty wild that the bullet went through such thick metal. But I go there because of the view.”

What is your birthday wish for AU?

“That I get to stay here for ten more years, ha ha. No, it’s that we leave the park the way it is, and don’t make it way too fancy. The management needs to make sure they maintain its style and quality, and to stop making all their cardboard solutions – we can’t have all these square boxes sprouting all over the park. When they build the new campus, it needs to be in same same style as the old one, because it’s so unique that all our buildings on campus are so alike. And I actually think they will, you know. Don’t write that it needs to be car-free, because I think that’s a bad idea – then I’d have to start biking.”

Photo: Ida Marie Jensen.

 

AU’s 90th

  • “In the hope that that the scientific and scholarly research which shall take place here may take place in spirit and truth, I hereby inaugurate Aarhus University.”
  • King Christian X inaugurated the first university in Jutland with these words, on 11 September 1933. The very university where you work – or study: Aarhus University.
  • Omnibus is celebrating AU’s 90th birthday with a series of short interviews: we asked AU employees to answer three questions about their relationship to the university. And about their birthday wishes for the guest of honor.
  • Together with university historian Palle Lykke, we’ve also delved into the archives to find photos from the first nine decades at AU. They’re accompanied by a short text by Palle that illuminates the high points (and low points) documented by the photographer’s lens over the years.
  • And we’ve asked the photographers from AU Photo to revisit the same spots to show you what they look like today. The anniversary series ‘AU’s 90th’ will run throughout the autumn.
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