Funded by the Home Office, and working with seven pilot universities and one control, the NUS will be developing a new accreditation mark for a whole-institution approach to responsible consumption, underpinned by social change theory.
During the pilot year, the NUS will work with following eight institutions: Swansea University, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Brighton, Royal Holloway, University of London, Loughborough University, University of Nottingham, Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Central Lancashire (as a control).
The draft criteria is available for other institutions to freely use, but they will not be able to join the pilot at this stage.
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: “Binge drinking at universities is nothing new, but that doesn’t mean it is a good idea.
‘Some students find themselves encouraged to participate in alcohol fuelled activities which can damage health and in some cases spill over into disorder and anti-social behaviour.
“The NUS Alcohol Impact project, backed by the Home Office, will help participating universities to encourage responsible drinking leading to safer and more productive places to study and live. Accreditation should become a badge of honour for universities, and another factor which helps promote their world class teaching and research to prospective domestic and international students.”
NUS Vice-President (Welfare) Colum McGuire said: “I am really pleased to work with the Home Office to launch this project on alcohol harm. It is such an important issue in terms of both welfare and community relations.
“We hope that the work of the project will allow us to create a social norm of responsible consumption by students at the pilot institutions, changing attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol, leading to safer and more productive places to study and live.
“The project is an extremely positive one that has the welfare of students at its core, with a range of benefits from reducing crime and disorder, to improving student health and academic outcomes, and enhancing partnerships within local communities.
“We will also aim to encourage responsible retailing and the provision of a broader range of activities as well as effective support services on campus, and by doing so make universities more welcoming for those who do not drink.”
Professor Julian Crampton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton which is taking part in the pilot, welcomed the launch of NUS Alcohol Impact. He said: “We are especially pleased the University of Brighton has been chosen to take part in this pilot project.
“Drinking to excess is an extremely serious issue. It touches the lives of many individuals and families, and impacts on the work of hospitals, emergency services and society as a whole.
“Students work extremely hard to gain their qualifications and will always want time out to relax and to enjoy themselves.
“We and other universities work closely with students to ensure they are fully informed about issues surrounding excessive drinking and we offer them advice and support.
“The majority of students act sensibly but anything that reinforces the message of responsible drinking is something we would encourage.”
If you would like to find out more about the project or register your interest in any future roll out, please contact Lucy-Ann Henry, Alcohol Impact programme manager, email@example.com
Download the draft criteria here.