University and SU to help pioneer new 'social norm' of responsible drinking

Binge drinking
27 May 2014 12:15:06.560


The University of Nottingham and the Students’ Union are to be part of a radical new project designed to tackle the culture of binge drinking at universities across England and Wales.

Seven universities have signed up to a 12 month pilot scheme to encourage responsible drinking among students. It has been launched today Tuesday 27 May, by the government and National Union of Students (NUS).

Nottingham along with Loughborough, 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 drunken behaviour, alcohol-induced crime and harm to health.
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Move to moderation

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.

Lifestyle choices

Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: “We are pleased to support our Students' Union as a partner in this valuable scheme. Alcohol awareness is already a core element of our successful health promotion initiative ‘Healthy U’ which encourages informed decision-making about a range of lifestyle choices faced by our students.

“A respected and bespoke accreditation scheme for the promotion of responsible drinking is a highly practical way to enhance this effort.”

The University of Nottingham Students’ Union President, Ellie McWilliam said: "With more and more students turning away from the ‘party animal’ stereotype and a greater focus on both health and study, we are proud to be one of the Unions at the front of this initiative. It shows our commitment to supporting our members to choose responsible drinking habits."

'Badge of honour'

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: “Binge drinking at universities is nothing new, but that doesn’t mean it is a good idea. 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.”

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.

NUS Alcohol Impact Project

1.         More information on the NUS Alcohol Impact project, including the accreditation criteria, is available at:

2.         The Home Office has committed more than £90,000 for year one of the pilot, and will consider funding for year two in due course. By year three the scheme is expected to be entirely self-funding.

3.         An interim evaluation report will be published in January 2015, and a final report in Spring 2015.

4.         A statistical bulletin published by the Office for National Statistics in December 2013 shows that young people (those aged 16-24) were more likely to have drunk very heavily (more than 12 units for men and 9 units for women) at least once during the week (27%), with similar proportions for men (26%) and women (28%). Only 3% of those aged 65 and over were very heavy drinkers.

5.         Alcohol related crime and disorder costs an estimated £11 billion per year in England and Wales, and the government wants to support local communities in reducing the scenes of drunkenness and violence that blight communities, particularly at night.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also the most popular university among graduate employers, the world’s greenest university, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the World's Top 75 universities by the QS World University Rankings.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Sophie Allen, The University of Nottingham Students’ Union on +44 (0)115 846 8726 

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