Earlier this week, the authority’s director Terje Moe Gustavsen commented on reports that traditional final term celebrations (russefeiring in Norwegian) by upper secondary school (gymnasium) pupils in the town included having sex on roundabouts and running naked on bridges.
“I hardly want to be seen as a killjoy or as Aunt Sofie. But dear graduates: Ringsaker has 97 other challenges to choose from. I’m sure that is also the case elsewhere in the country,” Gustavsen wrote in a blog posted on NPRA’s website.
The director’s plea gained attention in domestic and international media, and students in the town have now responded to the request.
Kine G. Berge, vice president of the committee responsible for the student celebrations in Ringsaker, said that the roundabout sex challenge had now been removed from the town’s list of russeknuter, literally ‘graduate knots’, challenges that result in knots being tied in students’ graduation caps for successful completion.
“The NPRA has raised the issue and there has been a lot of fuss in the media. We understand that it could be a traffic hazard,” Berge told NRK.
Berge stressed that the challenge had been meant in a spirit of humour and that students reacted differently to it to adults.
Nobody has attempted the challenge this year, nor will they as a result of the publicity over the issue, she added.
“This is a traditional challenge that many people have attempted. It is a funny tradition we wanted to keep up,” Berge said.
“We’ll have a fun time [during graduation season] without roundabouts, as long as we stick together,” she added.
Gustavsen told NRK the “fantastic” decision to scrap the roundabout challenge would not mean the Ringsaker students would not have their ‘russ’ funn.
“I think the russ students will enjoy themselves anyway,” he said.
The roads authority director said that he didn’t mind his light-hearted blog post, which was reported by Reuters, gaining international attention.
“I hope that the traffic safety element was included. That makes it okay, because that’s always useful,” he told NRK.
“I hope to get the message across and that the students have a great time full of fun and not tragic things,” he said.