In 1830 there was about 400 students in Lund. The nations economic conditions to maintain their own spaces were bad, their activites were hence quite modest. Student unions did not even exist. There was a wish for a common gathering place for the city’s students, and the Academic Society was founded by the nations together with a few younger teachers at the university. The model example was Studenterforeningen in Copenhagen that had been founded ten years earlier. On New Years eve 1830 as the clock striked midnight the Academic Society was founded. Not, as one may think, to enable student interests, but just to keep an eye on them...
The students at the time had less money than students today, and a knack for getting into trouble. Trouble that cannot really be compared to todays innocent studentical activities. That students had trouble living in harmony with the rest of society could be based in their low average age. As early as age 15-16 students left home for university.
Professor C A Agardh, who later became a bishop in Karlstad, was one of the driving forces of creating the Academic Society. He was convinced that there needed to a solution to keep students from “spending time with friends without morals” and have them engage in activities with a “higher standing”. Agardh found inspiration from the british college system and Studenterforeningen in Copenhagen. It was decided that the organisation would provide food and living quarters for about fifty students.
The staff should preferably be german or french, this due to the fact that students were in need of learning foreign languages. The Academic Society bought Sylwanska gården that became the accomodating location.
Today it is easy to understand why the arrangement wasn’t very popular among students. That is why the nations took over the Academic Society, bought Sylwanska gården, all with support from crown prince Oscar. A form of living with student influence was hence born.
All activites took place at Sylwanska gården (which can be found on Råbygatan down by Södra Esplanaden), but the organisation quickly grew and the need for bigger premises became blatant. The Academic Society became a place where students eventually spent time on somewhat more peaceful activities than before. The studentical aspects of student life began to emerge with spex and festivities. Work started up with building the borg that we can see today and the original borg’s structure was completed in 1851. Since then it has been renovated and reconstructed various times.
The Academic Society was already as early as then open for all students and teachers at Lund University and was founded to satisfy four needs; Atheneum - a meeting space for academics, Convictorium - a dining hall with student friendly prices, Societeten - social and cultural activties and last but not least residential quarters. These four ground pllars continue to be the foundation that the organisation lays upon today, and they are all gathered within the borg’s walls. December 1st is AF’s anniversary. The university chancellor of the time (1839), Crown Prince Oscar I, had donated 2000 riksdaler to the Academic Society and in that way played an important part in the creation of the organisation. And which date would be more appropriate to honor him than his own nameday?