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Comment: Thank you for the 'VIP' lounge

When I heard the rumours about the lounge for professors on the rooftop of Panum I simply didn’t believe it - I thought it was a joke, writes Anas Al-Kahwa

The new Faculty of Medicine lounge for professors is now open, and I realise it is not, actually, a joke. A new faculty lounge has been opened on the top of the Panum building for assistant professors and up.

5 years ago, before I started studying Medicine and when I visited Copenhagen, I was fascinated by the look of the huge building of Panum Institute. I was told that a couple of thousands of future doctors and dentists study in this building. However, I was thinking about how privileged all these students were, studying in this huge building with so much space?

Time went by and I became one of those privileged students and had the opportunity to study in and explore the huge building from the inside. First then I realized how little space there was for the students and how much time each of them spends in this building.

Students should be first

There was a dark library with around 200 single study places, about 8 group rooms available to accompany all these thousands of students and I am sure everybody recognizes the smell of urine in front of the library due to the ongoing horrible conditions of the toilets.

During the 5 years I have been studying, the library turned to a lawless study hall and even the 8 group rooms turned to offices one after the other. Panum is used for everything and by everyone beside its real owners; the students who spend most time there.

To find a place to study is a daily concern for every single student in Panum.

Work environment first, then ‘inspiration’

What about taking a cue from the top universities regarding their consideration for their students before building an inspiring Faculty lounge for the professors. I have taking two semesters of my Master’s at University of Sydney and the University of Stellenbosch respectively and only there, I got to know what an inspiring environment means.

We are not asking for inspiration, but a proper working environment – inspiration is the least of our concerns.

[Editors note: VIP in Danish means Very Important Person, like in English, but is also Videnskabeligt Personale, meaning ‘scientific personnel’]

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