Revival of The Student Cabin

The long wait is soon over for the students of Trondheim. The Student Cabin is finally reopening after the renovations.

Tekst: Nils Oskar Tronrud og Michael Tarlton

The Student Cabin, a large red cabin nestled in the mountains of Bymarka, has long served as a place for the local student community to get away to. It is a place for students to rest on a weekend off, or for local clubs to host events. It provides lodging, food and rental services to those traveling through Bymarka.

VOULENTEERS: Vincent has been with the student cabin for the last one and a half years.
VOULENTEERS: Vincent has been with the student cabin for the last one and a half years.

In January 2019, The Student Cabin reported that they would be closing in order to attend to some much needed repair work. Three days later they announced that the cabin would be closed for the rest of the semester. This closure continued on into the fall semester, only seemingly breaking recently with an announcement they would reopen this February, the weekend of the 29th.

HISTORICAL: Jakob wants to bring the students back to the historical cabin
HISTORICAL: Jakob wants to bring the students back to the historical cabin

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Bit off more than they could chew

In 2016 the cabin club began work on a number of large projects, including a geothermal heating project requiring drilling for ground wells as well as a refurbishing of the fireplace room. These new projects brought on substantial financial and manpower demands that the club struggled to meet. In late 2018 these responsibilities combined with issues managing the accounting work that came with keeping employees including a full-time chef, proved too much for the cabin board.

As the members became overwhelmed with the responsibilities, some began to leave adding additional pressure to those still participating, and maintenance tasks fell undone. In the end, the decision was made to close the cabin until a solution could be reached.

Hopes to rekindle the passion

Vincent Jongen, board member and volunteer for the cabin, looks forward to the reopening. While the cabin has held events during the closure, he hopes for an eventual return to the casual and laid back atmosphere the cabin had originally offered, allowing students to come and go some days of the week. He says that their current plans are to renew interest in the cabin and attract potential volunteers as they plan to rely more heavily on volunteer work for employee roles in the future.

Jakob Kalvig Skogan is a cabin enthusiast and one of three running for the position as head of the student cabin board. He hopes that they will be able to bring back activity to the cabin by reaching out to the various student organisations in Trondheim. Although not formally on the cabin board, Jakob has been heavily invested in the reopening of the cabin. He tells us that the activity at the cabin has steadily declined over the last few years.

– We have seen that the common NTNUI student has used the cabin less for socialising, workouts, and sporting events. We’re now trying to bring these students back to the cabin. We wish to promote and facilitate the cabin so that NTNUI groups can come to the cabin in the evenings and eat after their sessions, for example, and have other social events to make it a cabin closely connected to NTNUI.

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Equipped for the future

To tackle future implications with the management of the cabin, the board is also in the process of formalising an agreement with the Welfare Council and Sit. Political deputy Kenneth Stange at the Welfare Council tells us that they provide aid to the renovations.

– We see this as an investment in student welfare and hope that with the new measures, both the student body and the volunteers will be able to use The Student Cabin more often, and rediscover the value of reading for the exam and other events at the cabin.

Kalvig Skogan explains that the deal with Sit will be of huge value to the cabin, as they have the competence and experience on managing facilities. He emphasises that the deal does not give away the ownership of the cabin to Sit, but that they will only act as an adviser.

– We have partnered with Sit, which will reduce the workload on the volunteers in the cabin board tremendously. They are going to help us with managing the cabin so we can use less of our time and energy on that. They will also help us follow up on maintenance agreements we have.

With a new board being voted in in the coming days and reopening soon, the cabin members hope to pivot this new momentum into the next semester. Starting the weekend of the 29th, they plan to keep the cabin open for the following weekends whenever possible, through to the end of semester. UD