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Loughborough awarded Alcohol Impact accreditation

Loughborough University and Loughborough Students’ Union have been awarded an Alcohol Impact mark of accreditation from The National Union of Students (NUS).

The Alcohol Impact scheme, funded by the Home Office during its pilot year, aims to create a positive culture of responsible drinking and helps students’ unions and universities to promote responsible behaviour on campuses and in communities and improve the health and wellbeing of students. 

To attain the accreditation, students’ unions work in partnership with institutions to challenge negative drinking cultures on campus by working through a list of criteria. They are then audited and if successful, are awarded the accreditation mark to signal their commitment to encouraging a healthier, more inclusive campus experience.

Alcohol Impact has reached just under 100,000 students and engaged with 116 sports clubs and societies, resulting in fantastic local results including:

  • Alcohol free focused events doubling during the autumn term, from 50 to 100 with over 1,000 students participating
  • A 40 percent decrease in students being excluded from venues on campus due to irresponsible drinking
  • A decrease in welfare incidents in halls of residence
  • 76 students developing specific campaigns work on responsible alcohol consumption as part of their academic coursework

Due the success of the scheme, Alcohol Impact will be rolled out across the UK and open to all universities and students’ unions to take part in.

Successful unions and institutions were formally accredited at the Home Office on Tuesday 23 June.

Colum McGuire, NUS Vice President (Welfare) said: “Alcohol Impact is making a huge difference to our campuses and communities – making them a much safer and more inclusive place for everyone. It isn’t about telling students not to drink. It’s about shifting the social norms around alcohol culture at university. Working with students we can support them to make good decisions for themselves and their communities, and help make everyone feel comfortable to full engage with student life.

“Crucially it’s about the institution, students’ union and students working together, because this is something we can only work on collectively. There’s tremendous pressure on students to drink to excess during their time in education. When you consider factors like intensive marketing of cheap booze, alongside deeply entrenched traditions like pre-lashing and initiation ceremonies, it becomes less surprising that many students have reported that they think drinking to excess is expected at university.

“We are delighted that seven sets of students’ unions and institutions are being awarded the accreditation, demonstrating a commitment to providing an inclusive campus environment for students across the country.”

Minister of State for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Victims, Mike Penning, said: “I would like to congratulate the seven universities and students’ unions who have gained the Alcohol Impact mark of accreditation. This Government is clear that universities where young people drink responsibly are safer and more productive places to study and live.

“I hope more universities and students’ unions will now begin the accreditation process as the scheme is rolled out across the country.”

Izzie Ford, Vice President Welfare and Diversity, Loughborough Students' Union said: “Alcohol Impact has helped us with our aim to make the Loughborough experience positive for all our students. We have developed alternatives to an alcohol driven culture, helped students take better decisions about alcohol and their behaviour and drawn the line with our anti sexual harassment campaign, ‘Know The Line, Don't Cross It’. 

“Working in partnership with the university and local residents is always important to us and we are delighted to be recognised for the work we have done together by receiving the Alcohol Impact award.”

Dr Manuel Alonso, Director of Student Services at Loughborough University, said: “NUS’s Alcohol Impact has helped the University have a clear framework within which to pursue its agenda to develop a safe and responsible drinking environment. It has enabled us to bring in external partners including the police, the council and external support agencies, as well as drawing people from across the University (academic and non-academic) and, crucially, the Students Union to develop a consensus around the work we need to do.

"Rather than being seen as an additional set of criteria which we and the Students Union had to meet, the Alcohol Impact criteria have given us a structure to follow which ensures that we get the building blocks in place and can think rigorously about the interventions which will have most impact.”