Back in November, I wrote a blog asking you to fill out the National Union of Students' Alcohol Impact survey.
We're working towards the Alcohol Impact Award, to understand student drinking culture and build responsible drinking habits, and wanted to get the full picture of alcohol consumption at UEA.
The results are now in and some of them are more surprising than you might think. There is often a perception that students drink heavily all the time, but the picture is far more varied and nuanced than that. At UEA, 73% of students do not think you need to get drunk to have a good night out and around 1/3 of students drink less than once a week. There's also a general agreement among students that drinking too much can ruin a night out – with 72% of students saying that they don't enjoy socialising with people who get too drunk and ruin the night. 1/3 of students surveyed also took measures to avoid getting too drunk – alternating drinks with water, avoiding shots, turning down drinks from friends and avoiding drinking too much at pre-drinks.
These statistics demonstrate that a good proportion of students are aware of and responsible with their drinking habits, but we want to work to make sure that everyone knows their limits and has a great night out – whether they like to drink or not. The Alcohol Impact Award is not about stopping students drinking, but creating an environment that's open to everyone, where no one feels pressured into drinking more than they're comfortable with and everyone can have a good, safe night out.
We're working in partnership with the University towards the award and reached out to the UEA Medical Centre to gauge their concerns about student drinking. They told us that 'Alcohol problems are common both among young people and in the wider community' and that they were concerned about the impact excessive drinking sessions could have on students' health and wellbeing.
This week is Alcohol Impact week and we're running stalls in the Hive every day, where you can get involved and find out more about alcohol. Today from 11-1pm, we'll be inviting you to guess how many units are in your favourite drinks. Tomorrow, you can find out how much you actually drink and how to cut back on alcohol. On Thursday 22nd, there's a Students and Alcohol conference, where you can follow along using the #ueaalcoholimpact tag. Finally on Friday, it's your chance to have your say. We'll be giving you the opportunity to suggest ideas about how uea(su) can encourage responsible drinking. Come along to the Hive to tell us your views!