The National Union of Students (NUS) recently conducted a survey of 2,215 students in higher education to gain a better insight into their relationship with alcohol. Alcohol forms a key part of Freshers Weeks and many societies’ socials. Despite this, many students have expressed the necessity for more sober socials, and 21% of students admitted that they have never drank.
NUS are also promoting more alcohol-free socials after the study found that 70% of students think they must drink alcohol to fit in with their peers, as ‘Dutch courage’. Peer pressure was found to be the main contributing factor to excessive drinking among students; examples of this include freshers initiations and society pub crawls.
It’s acc mad how uni revolves around alcohol smh 🤦🏻♂️
— Shazzy (@_shazzy24) October 4, 2018
Furthermore, 38% of students admit it can be difficult for them not to drink too much. The study reinforced the idea that heavy drinking is a key aspect of student life, and leads students to frequently to go over the alcohol limits.
1,683 of those interviewed admitted that they think there is an expectation for students to drink and to get drunk. Moreover, 47% said that before arriving at university they thought that students spent all of their time getting drunk, proving that the archaic association of university life and excessive alcohol consumption is still alive and well.
“It is concerning that university life is still strongly associated with excessive alcohol consumption”
NUS Vice President (welfare) Eva Crossan Jory said: “It is concerning that university life is still strongly associated with excessive alcohol consumption” and that “Unsurprisingly only 1% of students have been part of safe or responsible drinking campaigns at their university.”
NUS want to encourage university unions to support their Alcohol Impact initiative, which aims to reduce the negative impact of harmful levels of alcohol intake. The programme wants unions to provide more support for excessive drinkers in the long term. It also aims to accommodate students who don’t drink as much, especially in freshers week.
The initiative aims to show students the negative effects of drinking too much, and will hopefully lower the number of students who feel pressured into drinking excessively.