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Alcohol: Government and National Union of Students work to reduce binge drinking at universities

Seven universities have signed up to a 12 month pilot scheme to encourage responsible drinking among students.

A radical new project designed to tackle the culture of binge drinking at universities across England and Wales has been launched by the government and National Union of Students.

Seven universities have signed up to a 12 month pilot scheme to encourage responsible drinking among students.

Loughborough, Nottingham, Manchester Met, Liverpool John Moores, Swansea, Brighton and Royal Holloway universities are hoping to gain accreditation under the NUS Alcohol Impact Scheme for their work in promoting responsible alcohol policy and practice. They will aim to reduce alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder and prevent health harms.

Accreditation will be awarded to universities which meet a set of criteria committing them to actions such as preventing alcohol-related initiation ceremonies, tackling student participation in pub crawls and monitoring anti-social behaviour.

Responsible drinking communications campaigns, formal training for university staff on alcohol harms and developing social alternatives to licensed premises are also among the criteria which the universities will work towards.

Alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said:

Binge drinking at universities is nothing new, but that doesn’t mean it is a good idea.

Some students find themselves encouraged to participate in alcohol fuelled activities which can damage health and in some cases spill over into disorder and anti-social behaviour.

The NUS Alcohol Impact project, backed by the Home Office, will help participating universities to encourage responsible drinking leading to safer and more productive places to study and live.

Accreditation should become a badge of honour for universities, and another factor which helps promote their world class teaching and research to prospective domestic and international students.

NUS alcohol impact

NUS Vice-President (Welfare) Colum McGuire said:

We hope that the work of the project will allow us to create a social norm of responsible consumption by students at the pilot institutions, changing attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol, leading to safer and more productive places to study and live.

Watch Norman Baker talk about the scheme

Students, academic and support staff, students’ unions, police and residents’ groups will all be involved in working to meet the accreditation.

The NUS will monitor the success of the scheme through detailed surveys comparing student experiences of crime and disorder, as well as tracking crime rates, during the period of the pilot.