Costly renovations make future uncertain for student union building

The Medical Students’ Union (MF) building at Karolinska Institutet's Solna campus is facing a critical need for renovation, estimated to cost SEK 40 million. To secure the future of both the building and the union itself, efforts are underway to raise the necessary funds.

The Medical Students’ Union (MF) building on the Karolinska Institutet Solna campus desperately needs a renovation, at an estimated cost of SEK 40 million. The union is now raising money to secure the building’s – and its own – future.

Last renovated in 1985, the MF building is now in urgent need of upgrades, including window replacements, auditorium refurbishments, and sound equipment enhancements.

Frida Hellström, Chairperson of MF, expresses concern about the consequences of neglecting the building's renovation. Without intervention, it risks becoming unusable, leaving the fate of the union uncertain.

To address the issue, MF organized an alumni gathering in early October, urging former KI students to contribute financially. This event is just one of the strategies the union is employing to finance the essential renovations.

"Students need a place to meet"

Approximately fifty guests attended the gathering, where they were treated to engaging speeches and performances by the union's spex troupes. Annika Östman Wernerson, then KI's Dean of Higher Education and today president of KI, emphasized the importance of alumni support in creating a functional, modern union building.

Since the abolition of mandatory union membership in 2010, union finances have dwindled, relying heavily on donations from various sources. While Ms. Hellström acknowledges that alumni alone cannot fund the entire renovation project, their interest and support serve as crucial endorsements when approaching companies and foundations for funding.

Despite receiving few donations from individuals thus far, Professor Wernerson remains optimistic, emphasizing the significance of alumni contributions in signaling to potential donors the importance of a well-equipped union building.

The audience, primarily comprised of veterans and older alumni, including Göran Sterky and Ingvar Liljefors, expressed mixed opinions about the fundraising prospects. Nonetheless, Professor Wernerson highlights the importance of alumni contributions in inspiring support for a functional and modernized union building.

Would you like to contribute to the renovation of the MF building? There are numerous ways to support education and research at Karolinska Institutet.