Tag Archives: welfare

Students and alcohol: The good, the bad and messy.

I think it’s about time I wrote a blog that has potential to be controversial. More than anything, because I love opening up a debate with people passionate about their views. So let’s tackle the whole alcohol thing, especially with the government coming out this morning with their plans to set a minimum cost per unit of alcohol that bars and shops etc. will be able to sell at.

I don’t think that anyone would really argue that there is a strong alcohol culture amongst university students. No not every student drinks heavily or even drinks at all, but a fair number of students do drink, and drink a lot. So let unpick this a bit more. Is it that universities generate an atmosphere with the right conditions for students to want to drink heavily? Is it that Students themselves feel the need to drink heavily as a result of inevitably knowing they won’t be able to do it as often once they leave University, start a full time job, and start to think about settling down? Or is it just because cheap alcohol is so readily available in highly student saturated areas? With local bars and clubs near universities promoting drinks offers that cost the students next to nothing, encouraging them to drink large quantities in a short space of time with the attractive accompaniment of not breaking the bank in the process.

More than likely is that it’s combination of differing levels of all three. But there’s been a lot of pressure in recent times from the likes of the Government and from the National union of Students (NUS) to change the alcohol culture at universities, and reduce the number of students having to be carried home from nights unconscious and covered in sick, mmm lovely.

As a Students’ Union, we along with students’ union across the country, have a duty of care students of our University, and have a clear remit for safeguarding the welfare of our members across Edge Hill, Which is why this year we took the decision to develop a responsible drinking policy with the university. The key aspects being that large external drinking events not run in collaboration with either  the University or Students’ Union, will not be able to sell tickets or t-shirts etc for their events on our campuses. I’m quite sure that those reading between the lines will instantly see this in relation to carnage, and as much as many students may simply see the University being a kill joy or trying to ruin their fun, students should really take the time to ask themselves why companies like this run these type of events? Is it to create an enjoyable and safe event for students to enjoy sensibly and responsible? Or is it to encourage students to drink irresponsibly and dangerously for the sole purpose of making a profit? I think you know which one I think it is, but I’ll let you make up your own mind.

I suppose the question here is, if events like this regularly put students at risk, and have a track record for negative press as a result of well documented incidents that have happened at such events, is that something a Students’ Union should just ignore? And instead choose not take responsibility for the welfare of its students? Or would that make the Students’ Union and the University as equally irresponsible as the companies that run these events? Mmmm interesting thoughts.

I’ll leave you with one final thought. Currently, around 40% of all patients admitted to A&E in the UK are diagnosed with alcohol-related injuries or illnesses, many of which result from binge drinking.

I would be very interested to hear what some of your views are on this so please leave a comment or as always you can e-mail me at suvpfas@edgehill.ac.uk or phone me on 01695 657311.

Thanks again for reading,

Billy