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“Our social life will be challenged”

fenced off building

(Photo: Anne Thora Lykkegaard)

Normally, the large reading room at Dalgas Have offers students 150 study places, but until March next year, the Department of Digitalization will be moving in while its ‘home’ at Howitzvej 60 is renovated. The Head of Department, Helle Zinner, acknowledges that the working conditions are not ideal, but calls the situation “a blessing in disguise”. Meanwhile, Station will provide temporary study places for the displaced students.

News |   11. Oct 2021

Anne Thora Lykkegaard

Journalist

When the building at Howitzvej 60, which houses the Department of Digitalization, was emptied and fenced off in September due to the risk of brickwork collapsing, it was scheduled to reopen in late-October.

Now, however, the timetable has changed. The Department of Digitalization will not be fully transferring back to Howitzvej 60 until week 16 in mid-April, according to a statement on CBS Share.

“When structural damage of this type is detected, there is no way around shutting off the building. Our plan is to secure the building as fast as possible, so that employees and students can return to their usual settings,” writes René Steffensen, the Director of Library and Campus Services at CBS, in an email to CBS WIRE.

The Department of Digitalization is currently lodged in the exam hall at Solbjergvej 3, but in mid-October, it will relocate to the large reading room on the second floor at Dalgas Have, explains Helle Zinner, Head of the Department of Digitalization.

“It’s not ideal, as it is a big, open room, but at least people sit down and have their screens and the bare necessities for doing their teaching and research work,” she says but praises Campus Services for its solution-oriented approach:

“Of course, Campus Services cannot conjure up office spaces for everyone when CBS is already lacking square meters, but it has been most helpful in trying to accommodate our needs and wishes.”

The reading room normally has 150 study places for students, and Howitzvej 60 also had student facilities for DIGI students.

Will CBS students have 150 fewer study places until March next year?

“The students can go to the newly opened Academic Lounge at Dalgas Have, which features new student facilities. And we have also made a deal with Station at Howitzvej 30 about access to study places for DIGI students in their common areas on the ground floor and on the second floor,” writes René Steffensen in the email.

Walking around like nomads

Just in August, all CBS employees were welcomed back on campus, which meant resuming small talk by the coffee machine and physical meetings. But now the almost 70 employees that make up The Department of Digitalization will have to make do with limited room for meetings and social interactions.

“It is a tough situation coming back from lockdown to this, and no one should underrate the employees’ need to be more social. That is challenged when you don’t have enough room,” says Helle Zinner, explaining that although the department has eight group rooms in addition to the reading room, they will have to hold their weekly department meetings at Solbjerg Plads.

“Although we have met a great deal of helpfulness, we are still walking around like nomads in search of somewhere to hold a meeting,” says Helle Zinner.

Building fenced in

(Photo: Anne Thora Lykkegaard)

And being in an open-plan office prompts other challenges as well.

“Obviously, if everyone meets at work on the same day, it will be challenging, as we have to consider noise levels – that can, naturally, limit spontaneity when chatting by the coffee machine,” she says and continues:

“And talking about the coffee machine… it has been a priority to get one installed in the reading room, so I think Campus Services is working on that.”

On the other hand, the renovation time schedule may be a “blessing in disguise”.

“Since this comes right in the wake of a lockdown, almost everyone has well-functioning home offices set up, so people will probably continue to use those as well,” says Helle Zinner.

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