Image: Ethan Hu / Unsplash
Image: Ethan Hu / Unsplash

Eight in 10 students believe getting drunk is part of university culture

The National Union of Students (NUS) published their annual report on higher education students’ relationship with alcohol on Monday, which found that almost eight in 10 students believe that getting drunk is part of university culture.

The survey – which has seen over 36,000 respondents in the last four years – hopes to “uncover student attitudes, behaviours and experiences linked to alcohol consumption”, and “track long term trends” in these aspects.

This year, the NUS found that 79% of 2,215 students think that drinking and getting drunk is part of university culture. 50% drink alcohol at least once a week.

For nights out, 48% of students regularly “pre-drink” at home or a friend’s house. 40% think that getting drunk means they’ll have a “good night out”, while 78% say they don’t have to get drunk to enjoy their night.

Before going to university, 47% of respondents thought that students got drunk “most of the time”. 10% of students at university are aware of responsible drinking campaigns, which 1% had partaken in.

The data also reflected that 70% of students drink to fit in with their peers. 42% were also found to have attended seminars, lectures or classes hungover.

Since the survey was launched in 2014, noise complaints from local communities during welcome weeks has reduced, along with welfare incidents and alcohol-related violence.

As part of the programme, student unions partner with their institution “to create top-down institutional changes to negative drinking cultures on campus”. There are now 50% more non-alcoholic events during welcome week, and 40% less students excluded from venues on campus due to irresponsible drinking.

The NUS has made efforts in curbing irresponsible drinking across institutions. In August this year, NUS Wales President Gwyneth Sweatman said that Alcoholics Anonymous meetings would be “absolutely brilliant” if introduced in universities.

Alcohol abuse at universities has been a recurring topic, as seen in a study published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) in June, which found that 44% of students were aware that “excessive alcohol” use is a “very serious” threat to students.

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