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Loughborough signs up to national project to encourage responsible drinking

Loughborough is one of seven universities that have signed up to a radical new project designed to encourage responsible drinking at universities across England and Wales.

The NUS Alcohol Impact project was launched on 27 May by the Government and National Union of Students.

Each of the universities participating in the 12-month pilot project will work towards accreditation under the scheme by promoting responsible alcohol policy and practice. Ultimately the aim is to reduce alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder and prevent health harms.

Accreditation will be awarded to universities which meet a set of criteria committing them to actions such as preventing alcohol-related initiation ceremonies, tackling student participation in pub crawls and monitoring anti-social behaviour.

Responsible drinking communications campaigns, formal training for university staff on the harm alcohol can cause and developing social alternatives to licensed premises are also among the criteria which the universities will work towards.

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.”

Loughborough University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Robert Allison, said: “Loughborough University, in partnership with Loughborough Students’ Union, is delighted to be participating in the pilot project for the Home Office-NUS Alcohol Impact project.

“Our Students’ Union already holds gold accreditation under the Best Bar None scheme and is well known for its innovative campaigns such as ‘Better Decisions’. This project is a natural extension of such existing activity.

“We look forward to being able to contribute to the development of the scheme and a successful roll out in due course.”

The other universities participating in the scheme are Brighton, Liverpool John Moores, Manchester Met, Nottingham, Royal Holloway and Swansea.