Results from the National Union of Students (NUS) reveals that 79% of candidates agree that getting drunk is part of university culture, and only 1 in 10 are knowledgeable of responsible drinking. Students often feel pressurised to consume exorbitant amounts of alcohol to fit in during fresher’s week. However, recently there has been a decrease in student drinking largely due to mounting debt. Eva Crossan Jory – The NUS Vice President of welfare commentated,
“The cost of living crisis facing students now also means after bills and food it may not be possible for students to spend on other things such as nights out or drinks.”
Young people today are the most likely demographic to not drink at all, as 27% of 16-24-year olds claim they do not drink in contrast to 21% of the wider adult population. Students who pay high tuition fees are having to ditch the drink to save money. It is interesting to note that in the last year the percentage of young people not drinking at all has increased by 8%, while this figure only fell by 5% for 65+ age group.
Yet, money worries are not the only reasons for this shift in student drinking habits. Students are well-educated in the health dangers of alcohol and are opting for a healthier attitude to life, henceforth spending four times more on fitness now than they were a decade ago. Student letting app SPCE conducted a survey, which reveals that alcohol is now at the bottom of student’s expenditure list, with just £68 as the average monthly spend. Also, the increase in technology has made it easier for students to entertain themselves without spending money.
It is due to this new development in student behaviour that several universities are expanding their non-alcohol events programme for freshers and are calling it ‘Welcome Week’ to accommodate those who do no drink. Leeds student’s union has incorporated pottery and coffee making classes, and Bristol student Union introduced a plant-potting workshop. Hull university has eliminated Freshers Week and has completely re-invented the entire programme. So much so that one of the campus bars was transformed into an ice cream parlour, and nightclub hours reduced due to lack of demand. In addition, University Centre Shrewsbury’s welcome week has retro gaming, rock climbing and laser tag.
It is refreshing to learn that there is a concerted effort to change and cater for the diverse student population across a wide range of spectrums. Although, despite this revitalization it is still clear that there is further work to be done to change the drinking culture to a more dynamic and wide-ranging alternatives to cater for all students tastes, lifestyles and cultural norms.
By Ashleigh Jane McCann
Digital Marketing Executive – City Room Rentals