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More spare rooms at Student Council's couch surfing

The Student Council at the University of Copenhagen is expanding their couch surfing initiative this year, finding spare rooms everywhere - from churches to empty allotment pavilions

“Last year, we hooked 70 home-seekers up with sofas in Copenhagen, and 100 throughout the country. This year we are branching out,” says Karl Kristiansen, deputy head of the University of Copenhagen’s (UCPH) Student Council, about student couch surfing initiative.

The Student Council at UCPH and other student organisations launched their couch surfing service in 2012 to draw attention to the vast problems students face trying to find a place to live in the city.

They have acted as middle-men, helping facilitate contact between owners of (long-ish) sofas and students needing a place to stay. First and foremost, it has been a huge PR success.

Help sealing the deal

“Anyone can help provide a space to crash,” says Karl Kristiansen. This can be anyone from people with temporarily empty allotment pavilions to someone willing to share their room. “We have created a marketplace where anything can happen, instead of limiting the concept to sofas only.”

So if anyone can provide a space, and students contact people offering a space directly, how do you help ensure that students don’t fall into the claws of all sorts of weirdos?

“We screen all of the submissions on our site,” says Karl Kristiansen. “And when a deal is made between home-owners and students, we get involved.”

Asking around

The Student Council is also contacting different groups that might be able to help. Theology students, for example, are talking to Copenhagen’s Parish Church Council because there might be a possibility for students to stay in rooms that belong to the church.

“If the University Post would like anyone to crash at their office, let us know! Haven’t you got a sofa-bed tucked away somewhere?” says Karl Kristiansen.

The site is currently only partly in English – the ads themselves are most often in Danish, but are simple and short enough to make sense of using Google Translate.

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