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Rising demand for alcohol-free halls and events driven by international students

There has been a sharp rise in alcohol-free accommodation and events due to international students not drinking and having “a fear” that drinking will harm job prospects, The Times reports.

“Sobah” events have been launched at Dundee University Students’ Association (DUSA) for students who do not want to drink alcohol. One of which was a fresher’s party which saw over 200 attendees.

Hannah Adams, a student officer at DUSA, said: “We were overwhelmed at the amount of international students that turned up and expressed their joy at the event.”

DUSA has had “a particular focus” on the “increasing number of international students” enrolling, “a large proportion of which don’t drink”.

Ms Adams continued: “It’s all about attracting a new cohort of students, because time and time again we will see the same student groups joining us for our club nights, which is brilliant, but as a students’ association we want to make sure that we’re accessible to every single student that joins us and we want to make sure that we are the place to go and that they feel included in any event that we host.”

Many universities have also increased the availability of alcohol-free student accommodation, such as the University of St Andrews, who said these types of halls were so popular that they were unable to offer all 400 applicants a place – exceeding the 132 rooms available.

As a students’ association we want to make sure that we’re accessible to every single student that joins us and…that they feel included in any event that we host

– Hannah Adams

Some teetotal students avoid drinking alcohol, fearing it will have a detrimental impact on their studies and future careers. This has caused an increased demand for sober socials.

Edinburgh University Students’ Association has encouraged students to speak out if they find it difficult to get involved in alcohol-related events.

“The students’ association will put on a range of events for students across the year and we try to ensure that a number of these events are alcohol-free,” they said.

“Other events will take place in our buildings and although they may not be alcohol-free, they will not centre on the consumption of alcohol.”

At the end of August, the University of Portsmouth closed its Students’ Union (SU) bar after alcohol sales dropped. Abertay University, Dundee made a similar decision and replaced the student bar with a café.

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