Over the past 12 months, universities around the country have been making attempts to lessen the amount of alcohol that is consumed on average by students on a night out. Whether that be on pub crawls, society socials, or just a lazy night at home, there has been an increased effort to decrease the amount of drunk students as part of a £90,000 scheme.
The main universities that are openly supporting this scheme are Royal Holloway, Loughborough, and Nottingham, who have all signed the new NUS Alcohol Impact Project, which includes banning student initiations and pub crawls on campus. The main question is: will it actually work, or is the alcohol culture too strong within the ranks of university students for anything to change?
As a student of Royal Holloway, it is common knowledge that the university is making an effort to stamp down on the drinking culture at university, with posters being placed all around campus to ban drinking in public places. These posters have been used for months, and ultimately the message has fallen on deaf ears. It is very easy to ignore these signs and drink anyway, as there is no real form of security to enforce these ideas. Worst case scenario, students will move somewhere else, and do the exact same thing. It has been a scheme that has been openly mocked and ridiculed for its attempt to stop the university drinking culture. It’s like using a piece of tape to fix a car. Eventually it’s going to fail. Alistair Campbell has said that the scheme is too soft, and while it is admirable to want to change the drinking culture at university, one can’t merely target the students; they have to target the marketing and advertising that entices students to want to binge drink.Taking half measures seems to be where this scheme is headed at the moment, which means that there is no foreseeable victory.
It is an admirable cause, no doubt, and one that if it could be implemented would have a great impact on student health during their university years, and their future years once they have graduated. However, it is too late to expect any immediate changes to the drinking culture at universities. The scheme would have to start at a much younger age, essentially at grassroots, to attempt to convince students that they are able to have a good time without the assistance of alcohol. As an example, my mother went to a newly formed high school when she was younger and was part of the first year, and, due to that, there was no one to instigate any kind of bullying. Since her year experienced no bullying, there was, respectively, no bullying the next year, and so on. That tradition has maintained itself, with it being highly regarded for its acceptance of all people of whatever background. It would take an effort like this to instil the proposed scheme as a cornerstone of university life.