Congratulations, Tor Fridell
...who has received the “Distinguished Service Award” from the European Campus Card Association. Your reactions on receiving the award?
I’m extremely happy. And the fact that this is the first time that the award has been made makes it an even greater honour.
So what is this organisation?
A long time ago, I was involved with introducing the LiU Card. Linköping was first in Sweden and one of the first in Europe to use a campus card. A card that can be used for many functions, such as proof of identity, access to premises, proof of identity at exams, purchasing in cafeterias, and lending books from the library. The payment function is very common in Europe, but it’s not so important in Sweden where nearly everyone has a credit or debit card.
It was felt that there was a need for an organisation for universities in Europe that had or wanted to introduce campus cards. I was involved with starting the European Campus Card Association in 2004, together with folk from Ireland, Poland, the UK and Spain, among others. I was president for four years, treasurer for a few years, and I founded the Swedish division of the organisation.
What does the European Campus Card Association do?
We exchange information and publish newsletters. On several occasions, we have applied for and been granted EU funding. I was co-applicant on a project for EUR 1.3 million to create, among other things, a prototype for a campus card that it would be possible to use at all European universities. It worked in Ireland and Poland, but was unfortunately prevented from spreading further due to contradictory national requirements. What was decisive was that at the time there was no pan-European ID document, but this seems to be in the pipeline now.
Why did the association award you the prize?
“For outstanding contributions”, as they usually say. I’ve been involved for a long time, been one of the leading lights in the organisation, played many parts, and been responsible for the Swedish division. Nowadays, there are many institutions of higher education with a campus card, but when we started many Swedish and European universities came to visit to inspect the LiU system.
What does the prize consist of?
Fame, simply fame. Well, actually, the organisation is based in Waterford in Ireland, which is famous for its crystal. So maybe they’ll present a small memento in Waterford crystal.
The prize will be awarded at the annual conference at the Johannes Kepler University in Austria on 20 May. Have you started to write your speech yet?
I have, actually. I have a bit of a reputation in the organisation for my speeches, so I feel under a bit of pressure. But it’ll be fun to travel and really great to meet everyone. After many years in the organisation I’ve got to know a lot of people and become friends with many of them. Nowadays I don’t work with the campus card at LiU, so I view it as rather a holiday trip, which I pay for myself.
Translated by George Farrants
Last updated: 2019-04-04