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Record number of UNIS students

06.01.09

This spring UNIS has a record number of undergraduate students attending full semester courses. They start their UNIS experience with a 6 day long safety course, which commenced yesterday.

Text and photos: Eva Therese Jenssen

Spring semester 2009 is one for the record books of UNIS. This semester there are 62 undergraduate students following semester-long courses in Longyearbyen – an increase of over 75 % from spring semester 2008.

- We are very happy with the record high semester student attendance this year, UNIS director Gunnar Sand says.

In addition to the 62 semester students, there will be another 60 graduate students arriving later in spring to follow one or more of the more intensive graduate courses offered at UNIS.

UNIS students. Photo: Eva Therese Jenssen
The Arctic Survival and Safety course commenced Monday with 110 participants. (Photo: E.T. Jenssen)

Arctic Survival and Safety course
All new students and new staff and other participants from the Longyearbyen community gathered yesterday morning at UNIS to commence the annual Arctic Survival and Safety course – mandatory for all staff and students. This year there are a total of 110 participants in the course.

This course teaches the basics in Arctic survival – skills needed in order to be able to do field work in Svalbard. During six days the participants will learn basic first aid, avalanche rescue, glacier rescue, smart clothing in the Arctic, how to set up an emergency camp and last – but not least, learn about the polar bear and get used to handle a rifle in subzero temperatures.

- One of our primary goals here at UNIS is to educate the Arctic experts of tomorrow, Sand said during his orientation to the safety course participants Monday morning. – And those experts are you, he said.

The safety course concludes on Saturday with an 8 hour practical exercise on the Longyear glacier where all the 110 course participants will practice all the skills they have acquired during this week.

After that they are set to go out and explore Svalbard.

Rifle range. Photo: Eva Therese Jenssen
All students and staff receive training in how to use a rifle in an emergency situation involving polar bears (Photo: Eva Therese Jenssen).
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The University Centre in Svalbard | Pb. 156 | 9171 Longyearbyen, Norway | Tel: +47 79 02 33 00 - Fax: +47 79 02 33 01| Org. 985 204 454 | post@unis.no