Students drinking less alcohol?

By Samantha Johnston and Megan Livingstone

University students have a reputation for being excessive alcohol consumers, however recent studies have contradicted this stereotype.

First year student Khairi, 19, studying Creative Writing and English Literature at De Montfort University in Leicester, said that not only does he not drink alcohol for religious reasons, but also because he does not like the feeling of not being in control.

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“I don’t want to be taken advantage of,” he said.

Khairi said other students in his flat who do drink are ‘respectful of his choices not to drink,’ and that he did not feel left out during Freshers’ Week or any other events within the university – but the link to alcohol with activities within some societies has made him hesitant to join them.

Another first year student, Alex Clayton, 18, studying Education said: “I’m not bothered by the lack of consideration to include non-drinkers within university events as my non-drinking habits are a personal choice.

“I also feel comfortable in my choices and not pressured to involve myself in drinking with my flat mates.”

Research conducted by the National Union of Students (NUS) has shown that in recent years one in five university students (21%) are completely teetotal, not consuming any alcohol, and 70% of students only drink to fit in with their peers.

In addition to this, studies carried out by the NHS show that 16-24-year-olds that choose not to drink alcohol has risen from 18% to 29% in the past 10 years. Binge drinking rates among students have also declined, falling from 27% to 18%.

This fall in students’ drinking habits has meant that there may be an economic threat, to local bars and pubs. The manager of Soar Point, a popular student bar on the DMU campus, said: “More food and less alcoholic drinks are being served. This is due to the rise in non-alcoholic options, such as coffee and smoothies.”

An employee of The Bowling Green, another popular student pub, added: “There has been a definite decrease in new students drinking at our pub – I blame the growing university debt.”

Despite all this, the NUS study showed that 79% of students believe that drinking alcohol is part of university culture and is something they want to take part in.

First year student, Marina Themistou, 19, studying English Literature and Drama, identifies as a ‘heavy drinker’. She said: “I don’t feel pressured to drink.”

She “enjoys the social aspect of it as well as the feeling”, showing that even though there is a rise of non-drinking young people, this does not mean that alcohol is no longer a big part of the university experience for some students.

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  1. […] suggest today’s students may be drinking less alcohol – or even no alcohol. Samantha Johnston and Megan Livingstone investigate how true this is on the DMU […]

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