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The Battle of the Institutes: it's about winning – and taking part

Students from the Department of Law won the trophy at this year's Battle of the Institutes. But the battle is about much more than just a trophy. We were there for the big event on Friday

Music thunders through the air, voices crackle from the loudspeakers, some people cheer and others make an open display of their aggravation. 

Christian Grønlund, Frederik Bækgaard and Amar Bucan are headed for their camp after the tug-of-war competition. We stop them near their little home-made ambulance that will serve as a soap-box car later in the day and show what it's made of in the infamous soap-box car race.

- The Institute of Clinical Research has won all three years, and we're taking home this year's trophy too. We just won the tug-of-war, the three medical students say confidently.

Good social life means good student life

It's Students Day at SDU, and the Battle of the Institutes is well under way in Odense. The space behind the campus is packed with students competing to be deemed best at volleyball, kubb and many other types of sports.

Foto: Michael Yde Katballe

As Coordinator of both Study Environment and Student Life, Kim Erik Jensen explains that events like Students Day serve a special purpose for students.

- The social aspect here is very important for students. They want to get to know one another—peers from their own courses of study and from other programmes too. This can be seen from the support given to events like the Friday Bar, the start of semester festivities and the Battle of the Institutes, among other things, he says. 

3000 people come out for the Battle of the Institutes

This can clearly be seen from the support that the Battle of the Institutes receives, which is Odense's take on Students Day. More than 1200 students from various disciplines represent their institute and compete to win the big Battle of the Institutes trophy. Even more students come out to watch, so the number of attendees reaches nearly 3000.

- It gives them a sense of pride and unity when one team beats another institute at rounders or bull riding. - Some things spontaneously happen at the battle, such as a return match or a having nice chat in between competitions, says Study Environment Coordinator Kim Erik Jensen. 

The Evaluation of the Study Environments for 2015 gave a clear indication that having the opportunity to form academic and social relationships is an important element of student life. Having a good network in your programme reduces the risk of dropping out, as student life becomes easier when you have someone to share it with.

It helps to know someone

Christian Grønlund, Frederik Bækgaard and Amar Bucan all agree that having major events is a good way to get to know more people outside of their classes that semester.

- It's nice getting to meet the older students. Sometimes when school gets tough, they're there to remind you that things will get better, and they can also let you know which books you need, says Frederik Bækgaard, who is currently in his third semester. 

Their team will be playing a game of football momentarily. But first, they have time for one beer—they just can't get "plastered" because they have to go home and study for an exam, the medical students explain as they head to their camp.

Students Day in every town

There were also events held on SDU's campuses in Slagelse, Kolding, Esbjerg and Sønderborg. 

In Kolding they competed in human table football, among other events, with entertainment provided by Thomas Skov Gaardsvig. In Esbjerg the "Battle of the Kings" was accompanied by a lecture given by Clement Kjersgaard, while in Slagelse the students held a carnival. 

 

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